Staying productive is tough. There are constantly things calling you to distraction. The internet. The cell phone. Coworkers. Family. The things that can distract you are endless. But, you’ve got to fight the temptation when it arises. Here are three things I do to stay on task and productive.
1. Enlist the Help of Others
If there is one motivating factor that almost everyone can get behind, it’s an embarrassment. No one wants to fall short of expectations. No one wants to make promises that aren’t kept. Peer pressure, in the right circumstances, can be a powerful and effective motivator.
So why not use it for good? Why not enlist the help of friends, family, and coworkers to help you stay on task? You can do this in several ways, but the easiest is to simply include them in what you’re doing. Setting deadlines with others involved ensuring that you will have to answer to someone if you don’t get your work done.
For example, I know this guy who’s a personal injury lawyer. He has his own law firm, and he’s a solo practitioner. You’d think this would make it impossible for him to enlist the help of others, but he does it. He uses the people that would most like to see action on his cases – his clients. When they sign up he lays out a plan for resolving the case, including specific deadlines. When he makes those promises to his clients it’s easy for him to stay on task.
2. Eliminate Distraction.
I know a guy, we’ll call him “Bill.” Bill gets distracted easily. He has a hard time staying on task and staying productive. He asked me over one day to try to help him out, to help him fix his problem. So I went to his office and just sat down and watched him work for a little bit, to see his style. In the 15 minutes, I was there the following things happened: an incoming email notification went off 3 times; words with friends buzz went off once; Twitter notifications went off 4 times, and he received 2 texts.
Can anyone guess what I recommended?
Distractions are going to happen. It’s inevitable. But to be our most productive we’ve got to do our best to eliminate those distractions. Turn off the notifications. Your tweets can wait. Your email can wait. Words with friends can definitely wait.
3. Work When You are at Your Best
Getting back to my personal injury lawyer friend. One day we were going to meet up to talk business, talk life, and just generally catch up (that’s what we business geeks do – get together and hatch plans to take over the world). I suggested we meet up for breakfast, you know, get the day started on the right note. But I was surprised when he told me he doesn’t get to work until 10:00 a.m. every day. When I asked him why he said he hates mornings and he is more productive when he works from 10 to 7 instead of 8 to 5. Hard to disagree with that logic.
Now, this obviously might not be an option for everyone, but even if you are required to be at work for certain hours, there are probably times when you are more in tune with working than others. Recognize this and make sure you take advantage of those super productive times while doing what you can to boost productivity during the off times.
There are no magic pills for staying on task and being productive. It’s a struggle for everyone at one time or another. But if you try out these three things then I’ll guarantee your productivity will increase. Why not start today?