Is your to-do list getting out of control? Are you not able to achieve what you’ve targeted for the day?
Let’s face it. We are driven by distractions. We literally get dopamine hit every time we manage to distract ourselves. Sometimes it’s infinite scrolling on social media. Sometimes it’s another episode on Netflix. And sometimes it’s the urge to check email just one last time in the middle of our most intense work.
However, in many cases, it’s not your fault. Social media platforms are designed in a way to be addictive like a drug. And we as humans get attracted very easily. In fact, according to neuroscientist Earl K. Miller, “Anything that stands out as different from everything else—like a red apple in the middle of a green field—tends to grab your attention,”
Evidently, it’s extremely blissful for us to grab our smartphone again rather than going back to being productive. However, the counterargument for this is not very hard. Because when it comes to productivity tips and tricks, it’s rather simple than complicated.
So if getting distracted is easy, let’s find out some easy and simple ways to staying focused and productive.
1. Humans can’t perform Multitasking
We’re really wired to be monotaskers, meaning that our brains can only focus on one task at a time, says neuropsychologist Cynthia Kubu, Ph.D. “When we think we’re multitasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once, but instead, we’re doing individual actions in rapid succession or task-switching,” she says. (Source).
So it should be clear that multitasking is not only a myth, but we seem stupid when we multitask. A study done at the University of London found that when we try to multitask, our IQ drops to 10 points. This effect is similar to losing a night’s sleep. What’s interesting is that multitasking makes you three times more stupid than if you’d smoke cannabis. Hence, it’s safe to say that multitasking makes you dumber than a stoner.
Therefore, for the most part, multitasking is killing your productivity. So there are no fancy productivity tips and tricks here, just this one—avoid multitasking.
2. Break your task into Smaller Parts
Most often than not, we are bad at creating our to-do list. A to-do list is one of the easiest and efficient ways to track your performance but when done wrong, it can have a ripple effect. Let’s say you want to start your online course, so you want to mark it as a task. But would it be any help if you simply wrote “launch online course” in your to-do list?
Nope. Therefore the best method is to break a big task into smaller chunks of the achievable task. So instead of putting “launch online course” you can start with the steps it requires to accomplish the goal. That can include choosing the topic, deciding the platform, recording the content, marketing, launching, and so on.
You get the idea right? So the takeaway here is to break your bigger task into categories or subcategories. By doing this, not only your task seems feasible but you can actually track your to-do list.
3. Change your Environment
Many times it’s not that we are lazy and we can’t get anything done even after implementing several productivity tips and tricks. Rather sometimes, you just need a change. Change in not just your surrounding, but you need fresh air. We mostly work under fluorescent light and stare at different kinds of a screen all the time. This makes us extremely dull. Therefore it’s hard to get ambitious when you’re not changing the air.
If you decide to go for a walk or maybe hiking, then let us tell you that it’s extremely healthy and blissful for your mind and body. It gets even better when you are working diligently. According to scientists, there are many benefits of doing so. For example, you get improved vision, your energy is boosted. It’s easier to exercise outside, and natural sunlight even helps you to mitigate the pain. Additionally, the outdoor, improves your immune system, creativity, concentration, and much more.
For these reasons, you should always take at least a short break and go for a walk. You’ll notice your refreshed mood and overall better mental and physical state. However, it’s not possible to go outside a lot if you solely work from home. You can still maintain a constant flow of productivity. Read out our recent article: 5 Work from Home Productivity Tips for Effortless Workflow.
4. Set your Break Time
Talking about taking a break and going outside is great. But you should also know when to take a break and for how long. This is a crucial part of any kind of productivity tips and tricks. Because your brain uses most of the glucose present in your body. So when you work for like 60-90 minutes straight, your brain ends up consuming most of the glucose and now it’s out of fuel to run.
Therefore the solution here is to recharge your brain by taking particular sets of breaks. But for how long or when? In other words, what is the best time interval to consider working and resting? What is the best schedule to maintain the working and resting balance? This becomes especially important if you’re a freelancer or a student.
However, there is no straight answer to that. One must adjust the schedule according to their working nature and personality. For example, if you’re a student, you can go with the Pomodoro technique—this involves setting time for focus + rest. But if you’re a freelancer or work from home, you should customize your time accordingly. For example, you can consider taking short breaks throughout the day and plan a different schedule for long working works.
5. Clean your place
We’ve mentioned this a hundred times, and we are mentioning it again: ‘You need to declutter your place.’ This is far more relatable now than it used to be. As most of us are either working from home or the readers at LearnerDoer community are freelancers. Therefore when you’re at home with a bunch of mess sitting behind your desk, it’s not an easy job to ignore it.
You’ve got your family at home, your clothes on your chair and bed, and you might have a pet that distracts you all the time by acting all cute. For that reason, you need to take care of the mess—and it shouldn’t take a lot of time. In fact, you’d spend all day ignoring it when in reality it would have taken 20 minutes or so to clean it.
Once you’re good with physical distraction you should also focus on digital distractions. AKA Digital minimalism. Digital minimalism is about minding your business with your gadgets and technology usage. The better you learn to manage it, the more time you save and the more focused you are. Read it in full depth to apply.
Productivity tips and tricks are the heart and soul of self-improvement. If you can win this part, nothing really is out of the question.
All the studies, hacks, and personal experiences we have mentioned are nothing but a practical guide towards an efficient life.
An efficient life is about maintaining the balance between productivity and having fun—and still getting the most work done without burning out. This guide will help you to acknowledge that sweet spot.