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Structure Your Workday

What are some ways you can structure your workday for maximum productivity?  If you feel like you are hustling all day but not getting anywhere, maybe looking at ways to restructure your day can help you feel like you are creating a bigger impact and getting things done.

One of the first recommendations that we can make is to prioritize your most important tasks.  This is something that many people struggle with, and often when you are looking at your task list, EVERYTHING can seem like a priority.  This is why we use the “BIG 3” method.  When you are looking at your task list, identify the top 3 tasks on your list that can make or break your day in your business.  You want to work on those items when you are at your most productive during the day.  For example, if you are most productive first thing in the morning, then you want to attack those task items during those hours.  If you are most productive in the afternoon, then work on those tasks during the afternoon.  Know your workflow and figure out when you are most productive.

When you figure out how to prioritize your top three tasks for the day, take a close look at them.  Do they still seem too big to handle?  Then, break the big tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces.  If you are using a paper (or digital) task list, write out your top three tasks and add bullet points or dashes beneath each big 3 items, and break down every individual task you need to complete for each item.  As you work through each of the bullet points, you will find that the big tasks for the day become smaller and can be more quickly crossed off your list for the day. 

A key to helping you focus on your tasks is to minimize distractions while working.  We all know that you have that one coworker who loves to chat over a cup of coffee in the morning, but is that cutting into your prime productivity time?  Distractions divert your attention away from the task at hand, which can make it even harder for your brain to redirect its focus back to the task at hand.  It can be hard sometimes, but it’s worth it to set boundaries with coworkers.  Focus on your work first, and the relationships second.  That way you can dedicate yourself to producing your best work.

If allowed, consider making over your workspace.  It’s often overlooked as a productivity tool, but your workspace can have a direct effect on your mood and productivity levels.  If your workspace doesn’t inspire you, then add some inspiration.  If your workspace is messy and disorganized, it reflects the tension and anxiety your feel during the workday.  Take some time to look at your workspace.  Is the set-up helping you stay focused and do your best work?  If not, what changes can be made to help your workflow and overall mood?  Start by decluttering and organizing your space.  Then check with your employer about how you can make your space more of your own.

Developing systems and routines is important for increased productivity and attention to detail.  With routines set in place, you won’t constantly have to think about what’s next or the next step you need to take for the day.  Those can be two of the biggest frustrations and time wasters that aren’t even thought of.  Decision fatigue is a real issue and can rob you of your energy and focus during your whole day, but even more so during your high productivity time.  Know your routine tasks and set them up in a way that works with your high productivity time and big 3 tasks for the day.  Once you have the routine in place, your day can be smoother and more focused.  Look into options for automating tasks or working with task batching.

One of the biggest struggles I see with dedicated employees is not shutting off at the end of the workday.  It can lead to burnout and increased stress and fatigue.  Create clear boundaries around your work, relationships, and even yourself.  It’s vital to your success and well-being.  It can look like setting a strict no social media during work hours or a promise not to look at your emails on the weekend.  Whatever boundaries that you choose to set, make sure those around you know and can respect them.

Did you know that, on average, you are only at your peak performance for 90 minutes at a time before fatigue hits?  You may feel the need to pump yourself up with extra caffeine to push through the fatigue, but in actuality, it will only leave you more unfocused and tired.  Set some time to take breaks; even a quick five-minute walk will help you refocus and slide right back into your peak productivity cycle.  Make sure you check with your employer’s policies, though!

These are some simple strategies to help you structure your workday to help you reach peak productivity and manage your time successfully.  Establish good habits, and work with your employer to figure out the best solution for you.



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