This past year many of us have had more to do than ever both at home and at work.
Between cooking and cleaning three meals a day and coordinating with teammates remotely, it can feel like there’s not enough time for what’s really important: taking care of yourself and spending quality time with your family and friends.
We’ve gathered three of our top productivity tips from 2020 so that you be more efficient — and spend less time working — in the year ahead.
Make a list.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good to-do list. When you approach your workload without a plan, it’s almost impossible to do everything you need as soon as things get busy, much less do them well.
Put a regular time on your calendar to write your to-do list, and make sure it’s towards the end of your day. That way, you can get organized for tomorrow, so that as soon as you fire up your computer you’re ready to go. Once you have an idea of what you have to accomplish, review your list to see what you should prioritize, what you can delegate, and what can wait. Then, block out your calendar with the amount of time you think you’ll need to manage each task. That way, you can better visualize your day, and schedule the time you need for heads-down work. (Tap here for more advice on getting organized.)
Up your Zoom game.
Video meetings are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. But many of us only use a few of the features available through tools like Zoom or don’t use them effectively. Breakout rooms and the chat functionality, for example, can be a big help when it comes to brainstorming as a group or making sure every voice is heard.
And don’t give into the temptation to turn off your camera. Meeting leaders need to see your facial expressions in order to determine “if people are tracking what’s happening or if anyone is confused,” says Jori MacNaught, a human-centered design coach at LUMA Institute. “Having your video on also helps foster personal connections.” (Tap here for more advice on how to have an efficient video meeting.)
Rearrange your desk.
It’s hard to be productive if your desk isn’t set up properly. Brooke Fenn, a board-certified ergonomist and occupational therapist who works in the consulting division of workplace product company Humanscale, says that the first step to getting your desk organized is to identify the tools you use everyday: “You want to be able to move these things and position them to fit the individual person.”
Next, arrange them thoughtfully and ergonomically. “If you’re right-handed, you want to place anything you use a lot — like your phone — on the right side so you’re not constantly reaching across your body,” Fenn says. “In general, you should have more space to the side of your dominant hand.” (Tap here for more advice on how to improve your desk area.)