Julie Morgenstern’s Productivity Tips
Finish what you started. Don't stop to pick up a phone call, answer e-mail, or carry on a conversation if you're in the middle of a task. It can take up to 20 minutes or more for us to regain the same level of concentration after an interruption.
Properly recharge on your off days. When it comes to your days off from the daily grind, prioritize PEP (physical activity, escapes and people). Taking care to recharge both our bodies and minds is so important. Getting great sleep, finding mental escape and having fun with hobbies and activities you enjoy is essential. Getting exercise releases good chemicals such as endorphins. Lastly, keeping our relationships strong during our off days keeps us grounded and brings out the best in us.
How you eat affects how you feel. Try to keep your diet in check over the weekend, and before heading out to an event or dinner with friends, consume a quick and healthy snack such as almonds or fruit to avoid overindulging.
Stay on track. If used effectively, to-do lists can keep you accountable and help you stay on the path to getting your most important work done. Before leaving work for the day, make a list of five to eight goals that you would like to accomplish the following day. To keep your personal life in check too, on a separate list, add any personal errands that need to be done that day. Think realistically in terms of what you are able to accomplish, and put the day’s non-essential to-dos in a separate “parking lot” list to tackle later.
Forgive yourself. We are only human. Understand that sometimes things will fall through the cracks; you’ll get distracted or have a bad day. It’s important to learn from your mistakes and move on rather than dwell on them.
Plan ahead. One of the most insidious time wasters is indecision. To combat this, plan your schedule three days ahead, which is as far out as most of us can contemplate without feeling overwhelmed. For example, if you're waiting until the last minute to prep your meals and snacks, you likely won’t do it. A quick, easy no-brainer snack to prepare ahead of time is almonds. They are so easy to pre-pack in baggies and grab on your way out the door. Plus their protein and fiber will keep you energized all day long. See, planning ahead can be simple.
Embrace small improvements. You can’t expect to change years of working habits overnight. Small changes in how you work can gradually add up to big changes in productivity. Try one tip to start, and keep adding more as you find the strategies that work best for you.
What you eat affects your productivity. The foods we eat affect us more than we realize. The vulnerable afternoon crash happens to us all, but a simple solution to combat it is to consume nutrient-rich foods and snacks that keep you energized. Make a conscious effort to snack smart. For example, simply place a container of almonds by your computer, near your line of vision.
Streamline your workload. There always seems to be more work to do than time to do it. The goal is to make sure you are doing the most important tasks, so you can leave every day with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Take out the 4 D’s to lighten your work load: Delete, Delay, Delegate and Diminish.