In a world full of distractions, remaining productive is a constant battle. In HR, it’s particularly tricky, given the high level of communication, teamwork and level-headedness the role demands.
To-do lists mount, email inboxes bow under the weight of expectant employees and the hours contained within a working day appear to hurtle away at speed, leaving nothing but half finished tasks and disappointed colleagues in their wake.
We’re all capable of being ultra productive, but few tools and best practices alone will help us get there. In order to be productive at work, we need to start by being productive within our private lives.
That may sound a little unnecessary. Surely, downtime is when we should be relaxing and relieving our minds of any form of regimentation, no?
While that’s undoubtedly true, our lives benefit significantly from a dose of rule setting and positive habitual behaviour. With that in mind, we’ve decided to list ten things anyone can do outside of the office in order to help raise their productivity game.
None of the ideas below will cost you a penny, nor are they difficult to implement. They just require a different mindset and good, old-fashioned common sense.
1. Drop the unimportant
We spend our lives running around, trying desperately to reach the next dinner appointment or family gathering. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to be in two places at once, and that means you have to occasionally make some tough decisions if you’re to avoid stressing yourself out.
Only do the stuff that makes you happy. If you regularly curse how often you have to perform a particular task around the house, ask yourself how important it is. If it isn’t particularly necessary or meaningful, drop it.
We’re on this planet for a short time. Make the most of every minute by only doing the stuff that matters.
2. Rise and fall at the same time – every day
Our bodies love consistency. If you go to bed at varying times and set a different alarm depending on the day ahead, you’ll never be at your best.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day – even weekends. Try rising earlier, too. At first, your body will tell you it simply doesn’t want to comply but stick with it, because you’ll soon fall into the habit and feel far better as a result.
3. Eat healthily and exercise
Just as consistent sleep patterns are vital, a healthy diet and regular exercise will ensure your brain receives the energy it needs to perform at the top of its game.
Try and get into the habit of jogging in your spare time, or head to the gym more when you’d otherwise be sat on the couch binge-watching TV. The more air you get into your lungs, and the better diet you give yourself, the more productive you’ll be.
4. Compartmentalise life’s tasks
Working in manageable chunks is a brilliant way to get more stuff done. Break up your leisure time into bite-sized pieces; time with friends, exercise and hobbies can all be treated as mini projects, each with their own allotted time and importance.
This may sound rather formal, but it’s about getting into a mindset, rather than creating a spreadsheet for your leisure time. After a while, you’ll intrinsically know how much time to invest in each task and will enjoy each one even more as a result.
5. Turn down some of the big stuff
If you’re particularly accommodating, it may be tempting to say “yes” to every request for your free time, no matter how significant a drain the task is likely to be.
Throughout life, we’re given the opportunity to do things which seem too big to achieve. You should grab some of these opportunities with both hands, but not all of them. You can make a far bigger impact on your happiness and self-fulfilment if you mix the big stuff with the smaller things.
Sometimes, if it’s easier to say “no”, you shouldn’t feel bad for doing so.
6. Switch off the digital realm once in a while
Email, social media and instant messaging will eat up your time. They do so silently and in a way that greatly reduces your ability to chill out.
You may enjoy a regular scroll through your newsfeed or feel compelled to check email just in case you’re missing out on something, but by switching off the digital realm once in a while, you’ll regain a handle on what’s really important – the tangible objects and people that surround you.
Some say you should conduct a big spring clean once a year, but if you instead ensure you consistently keep on top of clutter each week, you negate the need to devote an entire day to the process every twelve months.
A tidy house is a tidy mind, so keep yours as clutter-free as possible.
8. Make the hard things a priority
Chances are, there’s a couple of things you need to do this coming weekend that you’re not particularly looking forward to. Whatever they are, make them a priority and do them first.
The more we put off the hard stuff, the harder it becomes. Often, it never gets done, yet if you bite the bullet and undertake the tasks you’re looking forward to the least first, you’ll be able to forge on with the more enjoyable stuff.
9. Reward yourself
The odd pat on the back doesn’t hurt once in a while, and if you achieve something of significance in your personal life, reward yourself. A takeaway or that coat you’ve wanted for ages will be ways of saying to yourself “well done!” and will encourage you to continue the good work.
10. List daily achievements
If keeping a personal journal isn’t your thing, a simple list of daily (or weekly) achievements is a great alternative.
Regularly list the things that you’ve achieved, and you’ll realise just how great you are. We do things in our personal lives that feel fantastic for fleeting moments, but which are soon forgotten once the pace of everyday life picks up again.
The best thing about the tips in this post is that they instil a productive working ethic automatically; you won’t have to do anything differently when you reach the office.
You have it in you to beat that to-do list into submission and finish every day confident that you’ve achieved everything you set out to do. It’s time to get productive!