By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano
The first week of a new year brings us a few things: a full email inbox, a guessing game of whether our jeans will still button after the holiday season, and – most importantly – an opportunity for a fresh start. (Which, after 2020, many of us are looking forward to!)
However, as exciting and promising as New Year’s resolutions can seem, they often fall short. In fact, a quarter of resolutions are abandoned within one week of January 1st, and the average person sets the same goal up to 10 times with no success.
So, what can you do to avoid falling trap to these statistics and ensure that 2021 is your happiest, most lucrative, and overall best year ever?
We think it all comes down to productivity. No matter your specific resolutions for the new year, we all need a goal to be more productive in order to achieve our objectives, tackle our to-do lists, and make the most of each and every day. Here are our best tips:
Set a daily priority – In our past blog on productivity, we noted that – by definition – you can never have more than one priority. Humans can’t truly focus on more than one task at a time with adequate attention, and our end products will suffer at the often-glamorized concept of multitasking. So, start each day with one question: “What is my priority for the day? If I accomplish just one thing, what should it be?” You’ll set yourself up for success if you recognize that each of our hours and each of our days is dictated by our singular priority.
Tackle the hardest thing first – Mark Twain once wisely said, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” Plus, it’s proven that for the majority of people, our time of highest energy and focus comes early in the day. So, why not tackle the thing on your to-do list – which will inevitably take up rent-free space in your brain until you accomplish it, anyway! – first thing in the morning? The rest of your day will be happier, easier, and more productive if you “eat the frog” first and save the best for last!
Audit your calendar – Make it a practice to, at the end of the week, look back at your calendar. How did you spend your time? Were there meetings that served as time-wasters, or leisure activities that ended up sucking up your productivity? Sometimes, we’re unaware of where our time goes until we realize we don’t have any! (If you need some technological assistance to track your time, check out these resources.)
Eliminate distractions – It’s estimated that we tap, swipe, or click our phones 2,617 times per day. The average employee spends over a quarter of their day reading and responding to emails. A majority of working Americans (61%) say they “don’t have enough time to do what they want.” If you want to be productive, you must eliminate the time-suckers called distractions! Even a quick interruption has severe consequences for our productivity: it takes an average of almost 25 minutes to regain concentration on an original task after being interrupted. So, how can you eliminate distractions? Turn off push notifications, silence your email, turn off the television in the background, close your door to work-from-home visitors, and toggle the “Do Not Disturb” switch on your computer. Then, see how productive you can be!
Take care of yourself – If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it was to slow down. As you look towards 2021, it’s safe to say you won’t accomplish all that you want to if you’re running on empty. Prioritize sleep, fuel your body with the clean energy it needs to run at maximum efficiency, and start moving your body to enhance the movement of your mind!
How else can we help you be more productive? Let us know by visiting the Contact page!