Time Management: Establishing Productive Work Habits


All human beings are creatures of habit, even when the habit is laziness or being disorganized, there is always a rhythm. The difference between a productive person and an unproductive person is in the habits that they have allowed themselves to develop. If your aim is to become more productive, you need to know how to change your daily habits to fit the work you need to get done.

Before setting out to develop these new habits, you need to confront three aspects of your mindset.

1 — Start with your mental clutter. If your head is swimming with information or emotional problems, you are not going to get very far. Learn how to prioritize and control your mental energy, and to concentrate on the task at hand no matter what.

2 — Gather all your loose ends. Any aspects of your life that please require immediate attention are not going to let you get on with your work in peace, so address them and then move on. You obviously will not be able to solve all of your problems in one sitting, but feeling that you have at least started to deal with them will help you stay focused.

3 — Identify the things that suck up most of your energy. There are areas of your life that inevitably take a lot out of you. You need to be aware of these and know how to deal with them. Effectively managing your energy is the single most important step in becoming a productive and efficient professional.

By this point you have already made significant changes to your lifestyle, just by changing how you look at it. Now there are a few areas of your daily routine that you need to change. An important piece of advice here would be to start small and to be patient. If you change everything on the first day, you will be overwhelmed and feel that you can not do it. Likewise, even when you make small changes there will be days when you slip up. Be prepared to acknowledge these moments without losing track of your goals.

Now here is a list of some of the changes you may need to make to your routine:

— As much as possible, make sure your work routine is in line with your body's natural rhythm. If you're a morning person you do not want to be doing most of your work after midnight.

— Whatever time you decide is best suited to your own natural rhythm, be disciplined and stick to it even on the days when it feels harder .

— Make lists. The most important ones are your daily to-do lists and your lists of short-term and long-term goals.

— Make an effort to concentrate your energy on getting things done , instead of talking about getting them done. This one seems obvious, but when you make a conscious effort to notice when you are making this mistake, you notice how easily it happens.

— Write down what you have done , as you complete each action, and reward yourself with a little snack, a short walk, or something like that, but only when it's really finished!

— Do not allow other people to pull you into unscheduled, unproductive activities. Your priority during working hours is to get your work done.

— Do the thing you least feel like doing first, and get it finished. It will make the rest of the day much easier.

Finally, whatever you do, stay positive. Negativity is the productivity killer!

Dominic C Knight