A big thank you to Teresa Watson for putting these tips together for our first-ever Guest Post!
Do you ever notice that you’re faster and more efficient in the morning and then it all goes south in the afternoon? Or maybe you find you’re more productive in the evening and morning can be really painful for you. We’ve all been there. Maintaining your productivity throughout the day can be a really daunting task. Despite having a great routine to get your juices flowing, you can still fall prey to distractions and fatigue. Some may get what we call the “afternoon slump,” and it’s the impulsive crimes we commit that damage our productivity to finish what we started in the morning. Maintaining our productivity is key to working simply and living fully.
So how do you make your afternoons as productive as your morning? Here are five ways you can avoid falling into that afternoon slump:
1: Try to put off answering emails until later in the day. By doing this you’re warding off potential distractions and interruptions in your work. Remember, your inbox is nothing more than everyone else’s task lists. Don’t let everyone else’s to-do’s hijack your priorities.
2: Stop multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. This is the absolute best way to really maintain your productivity. The best way to do this is to give yourself a short, tight deadline to amp up your adrenaline. This time constraint and the extra adrenaline flowing through you will enable you to focus on what needs to be finished.
3: Avoid caffeine and drink water instead. Coffee works wonders, but only for a short amount of time. After the buzz, your body can feel the caffeine crash and you actually end up more tired than ever. Caffeine is also a diuretic. An article in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that being dehydrated by just 2% can impair performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor and memory skills – all of what you need to be productive. Drink more water, especially in the afternoons.
4: Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. Better yet, turn your phone off when you’re working on these really important tasks. Our electronic devices are significant distractions. Each notification or message you get hijacks your momentum. By shutting it off, you’re removing interruptions that would otherwise steal your focus from the task at hand.
5: As much as possible, avoid meetings. Meetings can waste significant time and energy, and while we can’t remove meetings altogether, we really need to make them much more effective. Ensure that each meeting you lead has a clear goal and agenda, and only invite the people who are needed to achieve the stated goal. Conclude the meeting with a recap of next action steps and who’s accountable for ensuring that they’re actually complete. When you’re not leading the meeting, ask yourself the following two questions before accepting the invitation:
Am I invited to inform, make a decision, or represent a constituency? If you cannot clearly identify your purpose in the meeting, decline.
What would I not be able to do if I attended this meeting? This question is really important and powerful. Your time is a commodity to be invested for the highest return for you personally and professionally. So what will you not be able to do if you invest your time in this meeting?
These are just some of the different ways that you can maintain your productivity throughout the day. What do you do when you hit that afternoon slump during your day? Productivity is not a one size fits all process. We each have our own personal productivity style and by knowing what yours is you can learn exactly what you need to work more effectively so you can spend more of your time doing what’s important in your life.
Learn more about Teresa’s tips for traveling and work-life balance at her lifestyle blog, badinterserver.net.
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