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8 work habits that can improve your productivity

By Katie Tran

Increasing productivity and focus is deemed a skill working profesionals continuously strive for. Especially when starting out their week on a Monday. 

We’ve all at some point experienced the case of Mondayitis – that feeling of dread, we feel at the start of the working week. And, let’s face it, for most of us, the stress about the impending return to the office starts right from Sunday afternoon.

After all, who wants to end a fun-filled weekend only to be knee-deep in deadlines, meetings and corporate red-tape? However, Mondays do not have to be painful. Starting your week on a productive note can be possible if you plan ahead and set the tone for how your entire week pans out. 

The golden key is to find a routine and system that works for you and your lifestyle. Here are some ways to help boost your productivity levels to help combat that feeling of dread when Monday’s just right around the corner:

8 productivity habits to kickstart your week

  1. Follow the 80/20 rule
  2. Plan ahead and be prepared.
  3. Set a system
  4. Cut your to-do list in half and check it twice
  5. Organise your work area
  6. Do something different
  7. Don’t procrastinate
  8. Find a job you love

1. Follow the 80/20 rule

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that 80% of results derive from 20% of efforts. To increase productivity, eliminate tasks that don't matter throughout your work week and focus in on the most productive tasks which will ultimately result in greater output. A good example is to break large sized projects into small achievable steps. This way you can focus in on the most productive tasks which will ultimately result in greater output.

2. Plan ahead and be prepared

planning ahead concept

Aim to get at least eight hours of shut-eye on Sunday night so that you’re well rested for the week ahead. No Netflix binges or scrolling through Facebook. You’ll feel rested and recharged when you walk into the office on Monday.

Sunday evening is also the best time to plan for the week ahead: your exercise routine, meal prep and even your outfits, taking into account all upcoming activities and appointments. With these decisions sorted, Monday mornings will have you arriving at work ready to face the day head-on.

3. Set a system

Over time, you may develop a few bad habits that affect your productivity. To manage these distracting tendencies, create a system. For instance, if you check your email compulsively throughout the day, plan to handle your inbox at morning, afternoon and evening times only.

By doing so, you can focus on other important goals all day long. Everyone's work system and process may look different. So it's best to find and develop a system that works for you and adds to your productivity! 

4. Cut your to-do list in half and check it twice

Getting things done doesn't necessarily mean fitting in as much as we can in 8 hours of our working day. The idea is to work smart. A good tip is to focus in on your most important tasks for the day or week. Then prioritise the most important tasks on your workload. Make sure to minimise distractions like news alerts or social media notifications. 

When you map your goals, you’re more likely to get them done. In fact, as soon as you get into the office, choose one small, do-able task and get it done ASAP (e.g. an email/invoice/document you’ve been meaning to send). You’ll feel in control once a key item is checked off that list and you can make informed decisions when other unforeseen tasks crop up. 

5. Organise your work area

Studies show that we work better when our environment is clean and organised. A clutter-free desk will aid productivity and help your thoughts and ideas flow unencumbered. Taking care of your personal space can bring about some much-needed peace and efficiency. 

Clutter results in time wasted looking for lost documents, having less room to work, and being distracted from what you need to focus on. As the saying goes, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. File papers, throw out used tissues, arrange your stationery neatly and wash used coffee cups. Start the week off with a clean slate.

6. Do something different

If you want to kick off your week in a creative, inspired way, try doing something new. Wear a different outfit, eat something different for breakfast, sit in a new spot if your office allows flexible seating and activity-based working, or have a brainstorming session with your team.

7. Don’t procrastinate

Sometimes, the amount of work we need to get through seems so overwhelming, we choose to ignore it altogether! Try to break down your work into smaller, more manageable tasks and get them done one-by-one, setting deadlines for each task. 

8. Find a job you love.

As the saying goes, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ If you keep feeling those Monday morning blues despite all attempts to thwart such negativity, perhaps you’re in a career slump and need to figure out if you need a career break or a career change. If this is the case, grab the opportunity to assess your situation and figure out if you need to study a course to improve your workplace skills and work towards it.  

Looking for a career change?

If you’re wondering whether to re-train or re-think your career pathway, Upskilled has a wide variety of courses you can do online, from Business to Workplace Health & Safety , to Technology Bootcamps and everything in-between. 

Call Upskilled on 1300 009 924 and speak to one of their friendly education consultants who can guide you on all the courses offered, so that you can choose one that aligns with your career plans for the future. 
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