15 Tips to Get Your Week Off to a Productive Start
Heading back to work after a great weekend is never easy. The start of the workweek can bring with it an overwhelming sense of gloom and anxiety, no matter how fulfilled and happy we are with our jobs. The lack of focus and motivation occasionally experienced when returning to work after some time outside of the office can have a negative impact on productivity. But it doesn’t have to be the least productive day of the week. Here are 15 tips to help you jump-start the workweek and make your time much more productive.
1. Focus on a single task
It’s been proven over and over that if you have two things to get done, completing them one at a time will not only allow you to finish sooner, it’ll also increase the precision of your work.
2. Don’t overcommit
If your week is packed full with important projects and deadlines are looming, don’t stretch yourself too thin by committing to things you won’t realistically be able to do. In situations like this, it will be ok to say ‘no’ or at least ‘not this week’.
3. Plan to be productive
A productive week starts on Sunday evening. Plan out what you need to get done for the week, and you’ll be ready to go on Monday morning. Things will always come up unexpectedly, but having a schedule can help. If you know you tend to dawdle during free time, schedule it down to the minute and eliminate the common distractions.
4. Start the week before
As you’re writing out your plan for the week ahead, aim to have your planned work completed by Thursday. Friday can then be used to concentrate on any tasks that have come up unexpectedly, allowing you to finish the week strong.
5. Get it out of the way
Tackle what you don’t want to do first so that you don’t waste any mental energy resenting it. You’ll be so relieved that the rest of the day and week will seem simple.
6. Be open to feedback
Everything is better when you put another set of eyes on it. If you don’t have an accountability partner, yesterday was the best time to get one. The next best time is right now. Share your calendar and to-do list while being open to constructive criticism, and offer your help in the same way to others.
7. Complete is better than perfect
Striving for excellence is a noble goal, but obsessive perfectionism is the ultimate enemy of productivity, second only to laziness. Work to get as much as you can complete, rather than starting a number of projects and completing none.
8. Start early
The sooner you get started, the more you can get done. Learn to be an early riser and aim to get more done in the mornings – this is when we are most productive.
9. Schedule down time
Work hard and play hard, but don’t mix the two. Be fully engaged wherever you are. When you’re working, immerse yourself, but schedule some time each day and on the weekends to stay far, far away from work. You deserve a break and your brain does too.
10. Take “Do Not Disturb” time
We distract ourselves enough as it is. Let others know you’re serious about getting things done and block it out on your calendar. If you’re struggling to get some quiet time, work from home if you can or relocate to a meeting room to focus on the work that requires most concentration. Other things that are vying for your time can usually wait until you’re done with your focused work.
11. Work in intervals
No one can go full throttle all day. A good rule is to work 30 minutes and then give yourself a short break. In the long run, you’ll accomplish more.
12. Only do what only you can do
If there’s someone who can do what you’re doing better or cheaper, have them do it. Your time is better spent doing things only you can do.
13. Perform triage
Start to think like an emergency room doctor. What’s the absolute best use of your time right now? What’s due today, as opposed to next week? Figure it out and focus in on it. All the other clutter on your desk can wait.
14. Create a list of “Once a Days”
Many things only need to be done once per day, twice at most. Checking voicemail and Facebook are some examples. Create a list of your personal “once a days” and make sure these tasks aren’t creeping into your workload unnecessarily.
15. Don’t beat yourself up
It takes time and practice to master anything, and productivity is no different. Constant improvement is the realistic goal, not perfection in one week.
What do you think?
What practice will you implement this week to improve your productivity and achieve more? I’m interested to learn what tips and tricks work for you. Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: CEO.com; Entrepreneur and Forbes