The year 2021 is just around the corner, and, no matter how unusual (for lack of a better word) 2020 may have been, we still have our goals to keep in mind.
Before we consider how to achieve (and maintain) high performance in the coming year, let’s just jump to a quick recap. The main impact of the pandemic on everyday office employees seems to have been – remote work.
For many people, the change to their daily routine has been enlightening. In fact, both employers and employees have come to realize the benefits of the trend, notably lower costs, lower stress levels (and increased productivity thereby), and additional leisure time.
Remote work has taught us many lessons, too. For one, work is work no matter where you are. However, the idea of actually finally being able to be in control of your life seems like a renewed revelation many office workers seem to have forgotten.
Keeping all the changes of this exceptionally challenging year in mind, it is probably safe to assume that we have learned a thing or two about efficiency and high performance from a different perspective. Let’s see how we can improve ourselves in the following year and live the fulfilling lives we all deserve.
1. Set Personal Goals
Don’t we know all too well that setting goals is crucial to long-term success? However, we suggest an advanced approach: setting personal goals. After all, there’s nothing easier than moving from a milestone to a milestone in a mechanical way, but what are you truly aiming to achieve?
If you’re just going with the flow, you will never be satisfied with your achievement, not truly. Setting a couple of significant milestones may do the trick. For example, think of three or four goals you’d like to achieve in 2021. Remember to be realistic and to track your progress (preferably by defining clear milestones and time limits).
Every time you reach a milestone, you’ll feel a bit more satisfied and one step closer to the big goal – the best way to boost your performance throughout the year.
2. Draft a Schedule
Everyone is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to schedules. However, no matter what shape your schedule takes, it is certainly better than not having one.
The popularity of schedules may be debatable, but the truth is that they can affect productivity massively. The simplest reason why this is so is that you’ll have a time slot for everything – tasks, breaks, leisure time, working out… In this way, you won’t fall into the trap of your days being “too short,” as we too often hear. In time, you’ll polish your daily routine and be able to manage your time more efficiently.
3. Learn to Prioritize
When your day ahead looks hectic, make a proper schedule that will accommodate realistic tasks sorted by priority. By dealing with the most important tasks first, you’ll both feel more relaxed as the day goes on and demonstrate your value and productivity. Plus, you may find that many important tasks take far less time than you might think – leaving you with a real feeling of accomplishment.
Focus is what makes or breaks productivity. When you aren’t focused, both your tasks and your free time are certain to suffer.
The chief distraction these days, with schedules or without them, is the internet. It has never been easier to waste massive amounts of time without even realizing it. Take social media platforms as an example. In fact, try tracking the time you spend browsing through newsfeeds and clicking on the links that don’t really interest you (even though not necessarily all of them are click baits), and you’ll get the exact idea about how much time people waste daily on – nothing!
Rather, stay focused throughout your working hours and save some time afterward for your leisure time (which can usually be spent in a better way than on scrolling through the newsfeed, but each to their own).
5. Eliminate Interruptions and Distractions
There’s no worse thing than a task being interrupted. It takes a couple of minutes at least to resume it efficiently. Multiply it by the number of times you get distracted, and you’ll come up with an astonishing revelation. People waste precious hours every day in this fashion.
Now, some people are distracted more easily than others. Do whatever is necessary to prevent this, from cleaning your desk to turning off email notifications.
6. Clever Task Batching
Depending on your profession, you may be able to batch some tasks together, thus saving precious time that would otherwise have been spent on getting ready for the next task. The most obvious example would be going through new emails. For best results, it is highly recommended to set one or two time slots exclusively for this.
In addition, make sure you finish one task before you start the next one. Need we say that this is a fast way to interrupt your focus?
7. Don’t Skip Regular Breaks!
Last but not least, never ever skip regular breaks. No matter how hectic your day may seem and no matter how pressured you feel, remember that you won’t perform any better if you skip your scheduled break. Quite the contrary!
Your brain needs to rest, and your stomach needs food. Unwinding in between tasks, especially demanding ones, is the best way to get them done properly and keep your focus intact.
High performance may sound like a platitude, but it is expected of each and every one of us, nevertheless. Arguably, if you enjoy your job, you’ll need no additional boost to do your best. Once you learn to prioritize and focus and cut the distractions, you’ll be able to perform better every day.
Lastly, when a job is done in this way, leisure time is more enjoyable. Forget about rushing to the store before it closes for the day because you spent too much time on a troublesome task. Work, eat, exercise, and live on your own terms.