Modern life is becoming more and more complicated.
Technology is allowing us to do more, by helping us collaborate and coordinate from all corners of the world. Smartphones and laptops are giving us the ability to work on the go, anywhere and anytime. But on the flip side, we are facing a constant barrage of distractions, which makes it even harder to prioritize and be productive.
To make progress toward any goal, it helps to track our behaviours. Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, an expert on happiness and habits, sees monitoring as one of the keys to behaviour changes, saying, “If you want to eat more healthily, keep a food journal. If you want to get more exercise, use a step counter. If you want to stick to a budget, track your spending.”
An idea might be to sit down at night and review the behaviours you have been tracking in your journal throughout the day. These could be how many words you wrote today, how many fruits and vegetables you ate or how many steps you racked up.
Do a Favour for Your Future Self
How can you use your time today in ways that create more time tomorrow? Carrying out even the smallest of tasks today, like preparing lunch the night before, writing tomorrow’s to-do list, doing chores on a Friday night or giving yourself a morning activity to look forward to, can make tomorrow a whole lot easier. Getting a head start is a surefire way to set yourself up for a productive day.
Research by Gloria Mark of the University of California showed that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. That is reason enough to focus on one task at a time. Too much multitasking can switch your focus too often and result in not only less productivity but reduced quality of work too.
Know When to Take a Break
Sometimes our most creative ideas come to us out of nowhere, when we have stepped away from the desk. Research shows that taking time apart from a problem can be one of the best ways to solve it. Sometimes taking the pressure off can do a world of good for your productivity and creativity. So whether it’s a quick walk around the block, a long lunch or a vacation out of town, a break from work could be just the separation your brain needs to get back on track.
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