What is your most valuable tip for getting into your productive zone for working? (190)
Definitely keep a clean desk and inbox. Before I leave work for the evening, I clean off my desk. When I get to work every morning, I always have a clean desk. The only stuff that can be found on my desk are projects that require action that day.
The same can be said for my inbox. Every evening I clean it out. The next morning only contains emails that I’ll read/work on that day.
Here’s where procrastination can really hurt you in the beginning. If you go into your home office (or cubicle or whatever) and do nothing, that’s the vibe you’ll get from that environment.
But if, from day one, you go into the office and do nothing but work, and when you’re finished working you leave, then Pavolvian conditioning will take effect and you’ll get into the productive zone just by walking into the room, closing the door and sitting at your desk.
To enter the productive zone i start with clearly defined short-term goals. I use an action planner to focus on specific tasks which enables me to set a schedule of work which keeps my productivity high. To keep in the zone i keep distractions to a minimum during these productive bursts, by closing down unnecessary applications such as IM, email, twitter etc. I set up fixed times when i check email and stick to it, its tough but i find if its so easy to get distracted.
Grace Smith from Postscript5 | Freelance Web Design
I am careful to do difficult work in the morning, when I’m at my sharpest, and to save busy work for the late afternoon and night.
I can also give myself a “second wind” by switching from one kind of difficult work to another. Writing, then switching to editing, then switching to thinking, helps keep me going.
Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project
Eliminating distractions and making sure I’m comfortable. When I’m really serious about getting stuff done, I’ll disconnect myself from the Internet, close my door, put on some headphones, and just focus.
I like to go to the library, check out a laptop and work off a USB drive. If I use an unfamiliar computer I don’t have to worry about all my interesting bookmarks enticing me to stop working and I don’t have any of my distracting applications handy.
Gather everything you need to do the work before you begin. Turn off the phones, shut down email and minimize the potential for distraction.
For me the trick lies in choosing the right music. I should like the music enough to start feeling good about my working environment, but on the other hand I should not like it too much so I won’t start singing instead of working.
It has to be “Eliminate the clutter”. How can you concentrate and be productive when you have things lying all over the desk shouting “look at me, look at me!”
A tidy working space enables you to focus on your immediate task rather that the bill that need paying/letter that needs replying to you that lying next to what you’re supposed to be concentrating on.
Katy Whitton from Flipping Heck! Productivity, Project Management & Motivation Blog (rss)
Everything unplugged. No chat, no email, no phone, no IM, no Twitter no web browsers open… turn off the Internet if you have to. The less distracting inputs you have running, the more focused you can become.
Focus on three things: diet (including water), exercise, and sleep. If these three things become stable and regular, so will everything else, as your circadian rhythms and energy levels become balanced.
Staying out of the non-productive zone, i.e., avoiding the internet like the plague!
Routine, routine, routine. I eliminate distractions like email and my reader by allowing myself breaks every couple of hours or so. Since my “work” involves reading and preparing kits for book clubs, I tend to set page-goals throughout the day. I.e., once I’ve read or written a certain number of pages, I take a break to check email and move around a bit. I also capitalize on my most productive time — morning — and try to get the bulk of my work done by mid-afternoon.
Sound: know what level of sound is helpful to you. There are times when I need things absolutely quiet and others when I can tolerate 50% noise.
Timing: as the day goes on, my resistance to difficult tasks grows so the first four hours are essential.
Pacing: one hour at a designated task is probably the most that I could give to the job. Change it up with some manual labor (filing, walking, cleaning) in order to jog the brain.
Mike St. Pierre from The Daily Saint
Using the 48 minute singletasking idea, it’s imperative to close out all distractions (close the door, turn off the TV etc). I make sure I have a water or coffee and that I have a well planned out desk or workspace.
One place, one focus, 48 minutes
But it should never be work. Work is not productive. Work is just tedious.
Play is productive because play is fun. If what you are doing is fun, it will draw you in and before you know it you’ll get to the point where you can’t wait to get up in the morning because you will want to dive into your “play” again.
Fred Gratzon from The Lazy Way to SUccess
To get into flow I find it helpful to put on some instrumental music, clean everything off my desk except what I’m working on and get a glass of water. Then I close my eyes for a few seconds and visualize a good outcome to my work, open my eyes and get to it.
I also find that setting a limit to how long I’ll work on one task is helpful. It keeps me from feeling like I’m stuck with a task until it’s finished.
Keep logs. I believe the productive zone differs from person to person, in time, in circumstances, in mindset.
The only way to find out what works for you, is to keep logs. What were your most productive hours? What did the environment look like? What were you thinking? Music? Food?
Find out what the setting is for you, and make sure you get in that setting as often as possible (or desirable).