In this busy time, many of us want to work faster so that we can leave work and do the other things that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. Here are 5 tips that are a bit different from what you've seen out there so far.
As a warning, some may seem counterintuitive and time-consuming, but the time spent on these tips is well worth it.
Tip 1: Visualize
First thing in the morning, do a quick visualization exercise of not just leaving work earlier, but also of WHAT you will be doing once you leave work or WHO you will be spending time with.
This creates a sense of meaning behind the desire to leave work early as opposed to just racing against the clock.
Our thoughts and beliefs greatly impact our reality, so if you want to get out early but don't really believe that you can, you won't.
Tip 2: Prioritize...energy.
Prioritize your work by not just time, but also energy requirements.
Consider the amount of time you need to complete one of the tasks on your list as well as the amount of energy it requires. Does it require major focus, or is it one of those tedious tasks that you don't need so much focus for?
Tip 3: Split up.
Split up the time- and energy-consuming tasks into at least 2 parts.
Splitting up such tasks shifts your mindset to a more positive one. Instead of waiting until the entire project is done, you win and should celebrate each time you complete each part, which tricks your brain into feeling more motivated!
This trick also allows you to recharge back to 100% instead of plowing through the task as your personal energy battery keeps draining and draining.
Tip 4: Break!
TAKE MORE BREAKS!
This seems counterintuitive, but most people cannot maintain meaningful focus on a task and produce their best work for anything longer than 25 minutes at a time.
Figure out how long you usually work in a state of flow for - when you feel like your focus is laser sharp and super strong. The minute it starts waning (signs include taking deeper breaths, rubbing your face, looking away from the computer, getting more easily distracted, etc.) take a note of how much time has passed. Then set a timer for that time to work, and when the timer goes off, take a break for a few minutes and do something entirely different, like use the restroom, get a sip of water, give a coworker a hug, etc.
Trying to work past your time of ultra focus is counterproductive - taking breaks allows you to refresh and reenergize your mind, body, and brain, so that you can work with laser focus again.
You'll get more quality work done faster.
Tip 5: Alternate tasks.
Alternate fast/low energy tasks with more time-consuming/high focus tasks.
Along the same lines as Tip 4, alternating these two types of tasks helps protect you from burnout.
For example, work on a large project for 25 minutes, then take a sip of water and check your email for a few minutes. Then return to the big project for 25 minutes, then walk to the bathroom and make a few copies.
How do you like these tips?