Overwhelmed by your to-do list? We asked our team for the best ways to stay focused and motivated.
The topic of productivity and motivation is frequently talked about in the context of work, and it is often assumed that some people are naturally able to focus better than others. The truth of the matter is that productivity is something we need to plan for. Starting your work day with a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, both long and short-term goes a long way toward helping you achieve your goals. This said, while it’s important to have a strategy, it’s also important to remain agile, to be able to react quickly to changes, shifting deadlines and new priorities. We invited some of our team to share their tips for making the most of the work day, and also reviewed some of our favourite apps that can help you manage your time more efficiently. From post-it lists to white noise apps, we’ve covered a broad range of strategies designed to help you succeed at work.
These are some of the apps that our team recommends if you’re looking for a digital solution to a lapse in productivity:
For anyone managing multiple social media accounts Buffer is a scheduling app that will save you a lot of time. Among many other functionalities it allows you to post at the times when your audience is most engaged and to track engagement and interaction on content you have shared. All channels are represented on a simple dashboard and it’s easy to see what’s happening in real time.
If you find that your phone is the one thing standing between you and everything you need to get done, ForestApp might be the ideal solution. Set a timer, resist touching your phone for the designated period, and if you succeed, you grow a tree! The objective is to cultivate a forest and it is immensely satisfying to look over your trees and reflect on hard-won productivity. Who said a gimmick never helped anyone?!
White noise has been proven to aid sleep, but did you know it can also aid productivity? Noisli helps block annoyances and distractions, and you can customise the types of sounds that work best for you. If you find working to music helps you stay focused for longer, we created a playlist that will have you hitting Peak Productivity in no time.
Todoist is an extremely user-friendly app that allows for a holistic view of what you need to get done. You can see tasks for the day, week, month and beyond and it’s possible to manage both work and personal calendars together in order to achieve higher productivity and a more balanced lifestyle.
Apps can be a great resource when it comes to creating structure at work.
If you find that technology is hindering your productivity, we asked some of our team to share their more conventional tactics for making the most of your 9-5:
Todd Liipfert – Development Director
My biggest tools for staying focused and productive are post-it notes and a schedule. I try to get into the office about 15 minutes early each day and have the same routine to get into work mode; I put my things down, hang my jacket, start a coffee at the machine, sit down at my desk, and make a post-it list of things I have to do. I make sure I get this done before I check my email or jump into meetings and it really helps identify what I need to get done on any given day, what I should get done if I have time, and what else I have to do, long-term. I try to update and remake the post-it list when I’m back from lunch to focus again. Nothing is more satisfying than triumphantly crossing something off that list!
Quentin Graulich-Delval – Country Manager – Conference & Events
Staying motivated and focused is key to consistently high performance, productivity and success, but often it’s easier said than done. There are a lot of factors and distractions that can put you off course. Motivation is necessary every day but it’s fragile – it goes up and down, impacted by external factors that are beyond our control.
Drive comes from within and is much more powerful – keeping a long-term goal in the front of my mind is the best way I am able to stay motivated.
Staying focused has become more and more challenging as a result of the many distractions we face throughout the work day. To stay on task I find that eliminating, or at the very least, limiting these distractions is key. I make sure I do the following:
- Turn off notifications for email, messages and social media when possible or for blocks of time when completing a set task.
- Work offline a few hours every day (no internet, no phone) and devote this time to specific tasks.
I find multitasking to be antithetical to productivity – it can feel like I am doing more, but in reality, I’m not doing much at all. Devoting specific hours to tasks and working in blocks of times is my most efficient way of working, particularly when I limit distractions.
Josh Alfafara – City Head – Sydney
Staying on-task requires an action plan. I set myself daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and create deadlines for each task to ensure I stay on track. Not all tasks are equally important, and I’ve learned to prioritise them based on urgency. If something is assigned to you, be sure to ask for a deadline. Also, remember that you don’t need to do everything alone! If there are tasks that you can delegate among your team to leverage their strengths, you’ll find yourself being more efficient and producing work of a higher quality. Finally, I always remind myself take a breather; the worst thing that can happen is burn-out. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, step outside the office for a few moments, clear your mind, breathe, re-focus and return to work feeling refreshed and recharged.