Productivity – like success – is a long and difficult journey that requires a lot of a trial and error in determining what works best for you. While this journey is largely a solo trip that you’ll have to learn how to manage alone, there's nothing wrong with absorbing some tips from people who have trodden the same path before you. Here are some tips from career coach Claire Wasserman, the girl-boss and founder of Ladies Get Paid, a career training institute.
Plan your timetable to match your energy
We all experience varying energy levels throughout the day. Some of us are more productive in the day time, while others get more things done when the sky is dark. As Claire pointed out, working after meals is inefficient because food comas always get in the way. That’s why it’s important to know your own productive times and plan your activities to match these. Get the toughest tasks done at your peak energy level, and schedule mundane duties that don’t involve much thinking to post-meal timings. You’ll get more done and won’t hate yourself for spending hours on the same report.
Know when to take breaks
How many times have you spent 20 to 30 minutes pouring over a certain problem (and not coming to a solution), and then understanding it within a few quick minutes the next day? When you hit a wall in your productivity level, your best solution is to just stop. Get up and leave your desk, literally. For Claire, taking a walk is the best way to clear her mind. Sometimes, she even leaves work early and dedicates more time the next day to finish up. Taking your mind off things makes it so much easier to resolve problems and saves us a lot of time.
Hard work begets returns
Keep those rewards coming so that your mind stays motivated! Simple energy boosters can greatly increase productivity when you schedule them at regular intervals during your work hours. Claire finds that alternating between work and reward is the best way to stop procrastinating. These rewards can be really simple things, like scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed, or catching up on some tabloid magazines.
Fixating yourself in the same position for hours won’t do you much good. Keep your mind active by getting your body moving. Doing something physical once in a while will keep your body awake and alert – Claire enjoys doing planks with her laptop in front of her, but you don’t have to go to that extreme. Finding some time to stretch your legs and walk is good enough, and you can even multitask and answer a phone call while you’re at it.
Productivity is all about finding the right balance. We tend to be too harsh on ourselves and force ourselves to spend more time working, when in fact we should be doing the opposite. Taking advice from an experienced individual will reduce the amount of errors you encounter in arriving at the perfect balance, plus you’ll relieve some of the stress from deadlines while you're at it.
Claire isn’t just a career coach; she’s someone who’s been in the exact same position as all of us who struggle to complete our tasks on time. The effects of poor productivity hits even professionals like her – during Ladies Get Paid’s first year of operation, Claire went from being a half-marathon runner to not exercising at all. Of course, just as she has since found her way out of such a situation, you can too!