For me, being productive is important. If I'm not productive things don't get done. When things don't get done I don't make money. When I don't make money I don't eat. When I don't eat I loose weight (a good thing) and I can't pay the bills (a bad thing). Additionally, if I'm not efficient with my day I spend my spare time stressing over work. When I have been efficient I notice that my mind is able to rest at the end of the day, knowing that I accomplished all I could during the day. There are a million articles telling you how to become more productive at home. I've probably read half of them, which now that I think about it, has probably decreased my productivity. I don't want to restate what they have said. The following are some practical ways I've been able to become more productive with my time. A lot of them deal with technology and how it gets in the way of what I need to do.
1. Make your Facebook password absurdly long, complex, and don't allow Facebook to remember your password.
Why do this? Because you probably spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on Facebook like I do (consider my blog a safe place, you can admit it here, it's ok). Doing this will mean you will have to enter your password manually every time you want to login. I've found the extra little time it takes to login gives me a second to ask myself, "Why the heck am I getting on Facebook anyway? Don't I have things that need to be done." When you start to memorize your password change it again. I don't believe Facebook in itself is bad but if Facebook is blocking you from being productive then you need to punch him in the face and show him who's boss (it has been confirmed that Facebook is a male). I'll call this step a barrier. What do I mean? We often think of barriers as bad things. But in this since I think a barrier can be a good thing. By having your password memorized and allowing Facebook to remember it you have taken down all barriers to entry. By constructing some barriers you have made it harder to login, which gives you time to think about why you are logging in in the first place.
2. Hide all posts from certain people on Facebook.
I can hear you say it now, "WHAT! BUT THEY'RE MY FRIENDS!" Yea right. Real friends don't fill up your feed with a million "selfies" in succession. Hell, you already know what they look like anyway. But seriously, look in your news feed. How much of that stuff do you really need to hear about? When you are on Facebook you end up looking at a lot of inconsequential stuff. This may sound mean but I've found it to be true. If you can limit the time you spend on Facebook then you've got more time to get work done. How do you hide posts? In your news feed you'll see a little down pointing arrow to the right of someones post. Click on it and select I don't want to see this. Then click Hide all from _____. You will no longer see posts from that person. Personally, I have hidden a majority of the people in my feed (if you're reading this then I didn't block you...I promise). Be picky on whose posts you see. I have found that I'm not missing much from the people I hide.
3. Limit the people you follow on Twitter to 100 or less.
I have a good friend who does this and at first I thought it was odd. Then I went through all the people I followed and discovered that I either had no connection to that person, thus no reason to follow them, or they were not posting things that I was interested in or with which I wanted to interact. Some people do the whole, "when you follow me I'll follow you" thing. Call me an idealist but I want my follows to mean something. If I'm following you it's because I value what you say. I'm not in it to stroke your ego. Now one thing you can do, which I really love about Twitter, is create lists. You can add as many people to a list you want and you can make it private. I have a list containing people in my industry, people I know in passing, and people I would like to do business with. I'll check this feed a few times a week in hopes of interacting with a few of these people. Since this list is private I can add and subtract people from it without hurting their feelings and I don't feel like I need to read every post made by someone on the list.
4. Set a time limit on how long you'll spend on social media each day.
An app like 30/30 can help you do this. While you're at it, delete Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media apps from your phone and replace them with Buffer. Buffer allows you to schedule when you're updates to social media will be posted but it doesn't let you view their feeds. Basically you can post but you can't view what everyone else is doing. Consider this another barrier. I could easily not visit social media sites on my computer but pick up my phone and go right at it (and data suggests this is exactly what is happening). Deleting these things from your phone has an added bonus. It removes an unnecessary distraction when engaging with people around you.
None of the things I've mentioned above are hard. They do take a lot of discipline though. I constantly find myself breaking these points. Every day I have to put work into staying on task. The pay off is I feel much more accomplished at the end of the day. I'm able to rest and pat myself on the back knowing I put in a good days work.
Do you have any tips on staying productive at work? I'd love to hear them so leave them in the comments below! Be sure to read Part 2.