Keeping productivity levels high is not always an easy feat. This past year, it’s felt almost impossible for some. The stresses of everyday life combined with the pressures of performing through a pandemic – while working from home, no less – has left many feeling like staying productive is about as hard as it can get right now.
If that’s you, first of all, I get it. Second, I have pulled together some tips that should be able to help.
Here are some of our favourite productivity-boosting hacks, all of which take just a couple of minutes:
Write down three sentences
In a recent piece for Harvard Business Review, Neil Pasricha wrote about the benefits of taking two minutes a day to write down three sentences. Those are: “I will focus on” “I am grateful for” and “I will let go of”.
Taking a few moments each day to think about these three areas and fill out the ends of the sentences should achieve a few things. It helps with decision fatigue, it forces you to focus on the good things, and it helps you to move past the negative. In short: Pasricha wrote that it was a 2-minute activity that helps him stay productive, and feel happier.
This is a tool a psychologist shared with me a little while back now, and it is one of the most effective mindfulness practices I’ve ever used.
There are a number of different ways to approach this, but the way I do it is this: when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and like I can’t make a decision, I stop and run through a few thoughts:
“I’m having the thought that…” “I’m experiencing the feeling of…” and “I’m feeling the sensation of…”
The answers are usually something like, “I’m not doing this right,” “anxious” and “tightness in the chest” – just as an example.
Once I’ve named those three things, I stop what I’m doing and I drop anchor. This act is the process of getting your mind back into the present. Maybe I’ll have a stretch, but as I’m doing so I’ll be intentional in my movements and really pay attention to the feelings in my fingers, across my back – whatever. I’ll make a note of what I can feel, taste, see, hear and smell, and once I’ve taken a couple of minutes to “get back into my body” I’ll return to whatever task I was attempting to tackle before.
Here’s a video that might help:
Try meditation for focus
According to Headspace, studies indicate that just one session using their meditation platform can “improve focus and reduce mind-wandering by 22%”. Impressive, no?
The mention of meditation may bring up images of a yogi sitting in silence for 25 minutes (which is pretty incredible if you ask me) for you, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can take a couple of minutes to stop and reflect and it will likely get your mind back on track.
Try out some productivity-focused meditations here.
Got some productivity tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments below.