One of the biggest hurdles people face when they’re trying to be more organized is figuring out what works for them. It’s why I recommend a variety of apps and tips on this blog. There is no one solution that suits everyone. Once you understand your productivity style you can cater your work schedule around your needs. Follow this list to discover your productivity style.
1. Are you a morning or night person? Most people know when they are most productive, but they often make the error of trying to correct it. Forcing yourself to wake up earlier if you can’t possibly write a sentence at 6am doesn’t help anyone. It may sound simple, but stop trying to change who you are. Instead plan to do your most difficult tasks when you’re at your most productive even if that’s in the middle of the night.
2. What’s your ideal environment? If you go to your local coffee shop you’ll see several college students working on their next essay. The low buzz of activity in the shop helps to keep them focused on their tasks. However, as someone who enjoys people watching, I find that sometimes a coffee shop can be too distracting. I work in a noisy newsroom most days so I’ve become accustom to drowning out background noise and still being productive. But some people just can’t do this and need to be in complete silence.
3. Should you take your work outside? Remember in college when you’d beg the professor to “have class outside?” Did that really make us more productive? Being able to see the flowers, other students strolling by and feeling the air on our faces might be helpful to boost morale. But if you find yourself drifting when you take your work outside — maybe you should stick to the indoors.
4. Which day of the week gets things done? A study found that Tuesday was actually the most productive day of the week. That’s because no one really likes Mondays, Wednesdays are hump days and by Friday our focus is on the weekend. So that leaves Tuesday and Thursday. The study found that Tuesdays are really the best days to get stuff done. Does this make you rethink your work schedule?
5. Will some tunes give you a boost? Music has been proven to help get your productivity juices flowing. Just 15 minutes of the music of your choice can put you back on track. But for some people working while listening to their favorite songs could set them back. Try both methods and see what works better for you.
6. Which time interval will work best? Saying you’re going to work on something for an hour is just too long in my opinion. There are just too many distractions around you that might throw you off course. However, if you use something called the Pomodoro Technique – you will cut up your tasks into 25 minute intervals. That way you will be laser-focused for that specified amount of time. For me, I find that 15 or 20 minute pockets work much better. The trick is to try a bunch of time intervals on for size and see what works for you.