1. Start early
If youâ€™re one of those night owls and you canâ€™t seem to get anything done before your head hits the pillow, try getting your work done first thing in the morning.
We are often more energetic in the morning and working early often gives you more wiggle room if you donâ€™t reach your goals as quickly as you would like.
2. Estimate the length of each task
Decide how long each task will take. Give yourself extra time for each task on days when you have fewer things to do. Planning out your tasks can help relieve stress by reminding you of how far along you are in your day.
On really busy days, people often panic and mentally freeze up, overwhelmed by the amount of work that they have to tackle.
3. Reward yourself
This is the best part. If you give yourself 2 hours to finish a challenging task and you finish 30 minutes early, find something enjoyable to do. Meditate, watch television, call a friend. [Benefits of meditation]
Little rewards will make it easier for you to get through each task because it will give you something to look forward to. When you finally do finish all your work, do something very enjoyable for the rest of the night.
Go out and have fun or work on a hobby you love. Rewards really do help you stay motivated. [How to stay motivated]
4. Manage your energy
Though itâ€™s tempting, working to the point of exhaustion will only decrease your productivity in the end.
Attention drains your mental stamina over time. Burn the candle at both ends and you might find yourself too exhausted to complete even simple tasks.
And straining to continue your work without replenishing yourself will inevitably drag you deeper into the pit of mental fatigue. If you feel so exhausted that you canâ€™t think, take a break.
It might be time to meditate or have a conversation with a friend or family member. If you can, maybe take a day off or two and replenish.
2 things not to do
Multi-tasking is popular and tempting. But recent research has shown that most multi-taskers get less work done on average.
And also, through context switching, multi-taskers are more likely to make mistakes because less attention is placed on each task.
Multi-taskers also burn through their energy reserves more quickly. Instead, focus on each task individually and see that task through to the end.
2. Sugar/Caffeine binging
Sugar and caffeine only give you a short burst of energy. Unless your workday only involves one short article or podcast a day, you will quickly exhaust yourself. Try short exercises instead.
Exercising, combined with nutritious foods, not only gives your mind a break but also increases blood flow to your head. The more fun the exercise the better.