04 Oct Date, Do, or Murder – Playing the Game towards Productivity
Okay, let’s imagine I gave you three celebrity names. From this list of three names, you had to select one you would prefer to date, one you would want to marry, and one you have to murder. Choose wisely, because the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. Could you decide who you would just want to have a few fun nights with over who you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with? Could you choose whose life just isn’t worth having around anymore?
This game is played in college dorms and at local bars all over the world. But how would the game change if you shifted the focus from people to productivity? There are thousands of things that can affect your productivity, from a noisy work environment to the wrong level of lighting.
Playing date, do, or murder towards productivity can improve your effectiveness in the workplace.
When it comes to dating for the sake of productivity, you want to experiment with a variety of different things to see what works for you. Since each of us is different, you may need to try a few different things out before you adopt a new productivity strategy or disregard one altogether.
Listen to Music
The workplace is noisy. Chatty neighbors can make it as difficult to focus as a constantly ringing phone or the hum of a copier. Sometimes the sounds in our workplace not only distract us, but also increase our stress level.
One way many people find to stay productive at work is to plug in their ear buds and listen to music. Music helps to keep you focused and in the moment. Be careful. The wrong music can make you focus on the tunes and not your work.
Depending on what you need to get done, multi-tasking can help you stay productive. Taking on multiple assignments at once can help you get a little bit done on each task. Too much multitasking can spread yourself too thin, not getting any one thing closer to completion.
Working with others is a great way to move any project or task forward. When you collaborate, start by outlining the purpose of the collaboration. This should give all participants a clear understanding of the proceedings and help to set expectations. This will help your team stay focused and not just talk about the latest gossip.
While some of the things listed above may work well for certain groups of people, there are some things everyone should do to stay productive. Here are three of the top-most productivity strategies you should include in your daily productivity battles.
It’s not always easy to shut out distractions. Take my experience today. A member of my team received unprecedented traffic to his personal website. We watched his Google Analytics page as thousands of people visited his site. Needless to say, it was difficult to get work done.
Now, as the night comes to a close, and I am trying to finish this post, my attention is divided: half on the work that needs to get done; the other half debating with my beloved spouse the pros and cons of the United States corporate tax code.
In short, set aside “sacred” time where you can focus on your work without distractions.
Know Your Body
Your body is always trying to stop you from being productive. It’s constantly telling you to eat, exercise, or go to the bathroom. If you want to stay as productive as possible, maximize your time away from your workspace. This includes grabbing a drink after you finish your business in the bathroom or climbing a few flights of stairs to get your blood pumping.
The better you get to know your body, the more you will understand how important taking a break can be. You are not a machine, so—from time to time—you will need to stop working. The average American works around nine hours. Studies show that a break as quick as five minutes can improve mental processing power by up to 13 percent. A 40-minute snooze can increase your alertness by more than 30 percent.
Breaks are important; take them.
Having looked at all the things that could potentially increase your productivity, let’s identify three of the most common things that can destroy it.
Surfing Social Media
BuzzFeed is the great killer of time. For some reason, every one minute you spend reading a clever article or taking a fun quiz, five real minutes actually pass. So for every twenty BuzzFeed minutes that pass, an hour of your workday is gone.
The same rings true for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest. If you value productivity at all, avoid these like you would the plague.
Know the Difference between Good and Good Enough
One of the things I’ve noticed when training new hires to perform a certain job is that it can be difficult for them to know the difference between good and good enough. Don’t get me wrong, you should strive to always do your best. But if you just spent the last 30 minutes of your day debating how to phrase a certain sentence in a report only a handful of people will ever read, you probably spent too much time.
Knowing the difference between good and good enough is a struggle that each of us must face personally.
Now that you’ve seen how I would play the game, how would you play it? What things do you date, do, and murder in order to maintain your productivity? Leave comments below.