A packed schedule isn’t necessarily the same as a productive one. By the same token, busy people aren’t necessarily productive people.
How do you know the difference? Chances are you’re well on your way if you’re following our guide below.
1. You tackle difficult tasks before lunchtime.
In the morning, you’re fresher and better rested. This is the best time to take on the tough tasks for the day to move them off your plate. You’re aware of this and plan your day accordingly. Struggling to get started before lunchtime?
Try to adjust your schedule by reducing caffeine intake after noon. Eat dinner earlier and head to bed before 11 p.m. Your productivity will thank you.
2. You’re a pro at shaving down your to-do list.
Each morning, you prioritize the most important tasks and make a point to cross them off before afternoon rush hour hits. Rather than clutter your to-do list with menial tasks and busywork, you’ve mastered the art of only focusing attention on what matters most. Does your to-do list somehow seem to never shrink?
Reevaluate each task and ask yourself if it really needs to be on there. One way to be more productive is to reduce the number of things you try to do in a day.
3. You’re almost always in a good mood.
Cheerful, happy and optimistic are just a few of the words co-workers regularly use to describe your disposition. It may sound strange, but people who are usually in a bad mood tend to procrastinate more and use distractions to make themselves happier.
If you’ve been feeling low, take a personal day and carve some time out for yourself. Visit the spa, squeeze in an extra workout or go to happy hour with some old friends. Odds are, you’ll feel more relaxed and ready to jump back in the next day.
4. You regularly make time for yourself.
Self-care is part of your daily routine. You’ve learned to rest and recharge your batteries to function at optimal levels. Struggling to find a moment for yourself?
Take a deep breath and step away from your desk. Go for a walk or plan to take your entire lunch hour away from your desk. Pushing beyond your capacity on a regular basis is a guaranteed way to burn out and severely reduce your productivity.
5. You home in on the task at hand.
You have the discipline and focus to work exclusively on one task at a time without succumbing to distractions. Each job receives your undivided attention from start to finish. Do you often shift gears mid-way through an assignment?
Rather than switch to a new project when you start to lose focus, take a short break. Switching tasks too frequently can lower your I.Q.
6. You have a routine — and you stick with it.
The tasks in your day have a time and a place. You read emails at regular, set intervals throughout the day, instead of on a constant basis. You only look at social media on scheduled breaks or during your lunch hour.
If you find yourself constantly responding to message notifications the moment they pop up on your screen, turn them off. Set a reminder on your phone to check in at a scheduled time and address them all at once to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
7. You aren’t afraid to say no.
“No” is a word in your vocabulary, and you aren’t afraid to use it. You are aware of your obligations and know when to say no to avoid overextending yourself. Scared of declining opportunities?
Tell co-workers you will get back to them with a response, rather than giving one immediately. This way, you have time to evaluate your workload and to craft a response that aligns with your needs. Just make sure to follow up promptly.
Are you a productive person? Evaluate your habits and determine if you need to change your work style.
A few small adjustments in behavior can have a large impact on your productivity.