1. Have a clean working environment: I cannot work it is messy around me, I will get easily distracted and I’ll simply feel a little off because my surroundings are off. So before I get to work, I take 10-15 minutes to tidy up. This makes it so much more satisfying to sit down and get to it.
2. Create small tasks for yourself to achieve: Sometimes we can be so focused on big tasks, so much so that they become overwhelming. So if you know that you are prone to feeling overwhelmed, try creating smaller goals as well. I put stuff like “make thumbnail”, make 3 stories for insta” or “do the dishes” on my lists sometimes.
3. Make lists of your goals: I just gave away my hand above, but yeah lists! Lists for days and days. It is by far one of the most motivating tools for me to use because I find it extremely satisfying to cross out accomplished tasks.
4. Take breaks, and spend them wisely: I usually perform one task at a time, and then I reward myself with a little break before I go on. But if I use my break scrolling on insta, or browsing on my laptop, it won’t feel like a break. Rather, I take Mols for a walk, I run, I do some light yoga, I cook – anything that does not resemble my work. I have found that this increasing the quality of my work immensely.
5. Express yourself creatively in your free time: Being creative is like a healthy fitness routine for your brain, and being creative in your spare time can actually improve your ability to concentrate, stay focused your efficiency, and your ability to learn. I took up drawing and painting as a pass time, and also found it to have therapeutic anti-stress effects as well.
6. Know under which conditions you achieve most: do you get more work done when you are comfortable, under pressure, in an office space or at home? It varies a lot from person to person. My experience is that I do my best work when I am comfortable, so I wear cozy clothes, I light a candle, find a blanket and power work from my bed or couch, and boy, do I get shit done even though I look lazy. If you perform better outside of your home (I am thinking post-lockdown here) then get an office space, or go to a library, a cafe, or a hotel to work. When I have had to work while traveling, I’ve ordered breakfast at a hotel, any hotel, and then I’ve used their wi-fi and plugged my laptop in at the table, easy peasy.
7. Keep an eye on your deadlines: there is nothing that takes the joy out of completing a task like stress. If you are behind on something, it will also affect the rest of your work – at least that is my experience. So try to plan ahead and turn in your work a couple of days in advance whenever possible. I find that this helps me stay on track, I avoid burnout, and I rarely stress, because if something goes wrong, I’ll have time to fix it.
8. Do other things: we kind of covered this already, but there is a nuance I would love to add there. What helps me stay productive creating variation on both my work and my free time. So having something that you do besides your job, can have a huge effect on how well you perform and how much you enjoy your work. Being more than just your job, and having diverse interests can not only affect your mental health in a positive way, it can also make you more productive, that is my experience. In my free time, I do bouldering, run, do yoga, practice martial arts, and paint.
9: Waking up early: Is this the only thing on this list that I hate doing, but I know how much good it does me. On the days where I wake up early, I get so much more done and it feels great by the end of the day. I often bring my breakfast and laptop back to bed with me so I can work from there.
10. Create a system for your things: depending on your type of work, the system might look different, but none the less organizing your stuff is so important. For me, I have a ton of video clips and images, and documents that I need to keep track of, so my system consists of labeled folders on my harddrive. It makes working much easier because I don’t have to spend 45 minutes looking for a specific photo – thus more productive work time for me.