Staring at your screen for 8 hours a day to complete the work you set out to do equals maximum productivity, right? Wrong. We’re all guilty of it, so here at Peppersmith, we have been discussing our top tips and tricks to make our day a bit more productive.
Tip 1: Follow the ‘Pareto Principle’
Not only do our Italian friends send us the finest selection of lemons for our Sicilian Lemon Mints, they also boast some pretty good advice from Vilfredo Pareto, who proposed the 80/20 rule to productivity. This basically means that 80% of your success derives from 20% of your efforts – so you can safely say goodbye to your 8-hour desk stint. Begin by focusing on critical tasks that will gain you the most success by the end of the day. Complete these tasks before lunch, then you can get on with your less immediate tasks such as checking your emails, drafting your next spreadsheet and playing that game of ping-pong you promised with your colleague (you get the gist).
Tip 2: Take a break
Some say our concentration spans are worse than goldfish’s, so take a short break from what you’re doing every hour to unclog your mind. Walking and social interaction are simple activities that increase serotonin production, which will make you feel more positive about your work. Remember, don’t mistake these breaks for procrastination, they are crucial steps in the building blocks for a productive day.
Tip 3: Create stubby to-do lists
Ditch those 20 item lists for a stubby list, so write down a maximum of 5 to-dos. This doesn’t mean you cut your productivity by 75%, it means you prioritise your more immediate tasks – sounding familiar? (Preach it Pareto). The stubby list is supposed to be bright and bold, so grab some colourful sticky notes and write your to-dos with a glittery gel pen or a felt tip. Remember to put the list somewhere you will easily find, such as on your laptop or in your purse.
Tip 4: Watch your diet
We all need energy to be productive. In fact, 25 grams of glucose in our body indicates peak productivity. However, a lot of us can cave into the evil mastermind that is sugar, especially when it’s 3 pm and you ate your home-made xylitol granola mid-morning. A packet of sweets is made up of simple sugars, broken down and released far more quickly than foods such as a banana. This means eating sweets will stifle productivity, so you may want to substitute those sugary snacks for something more slow release.
Tip 5: Learn and adapt
Our final tip for a productive day is to learn from what you have accomplished. None of us are perfect and we cannot sustain maximum productivity all the time. At the end of the day write down what went well and what didn’t go so well. Then think how you can turn tomorrow’s negative into a positive by doing something different.