Lauren Suggett is Product Marketing Manager at Nitro. She is a Southern California native and had never used a real PDF editor before working at Nitro. You can find her demanding free samples in the cheese section at your local grocery store.
With the arrival of the new year, we’re all given a great opportunity to start fresh and establish new habits that will help us get closer to achieving our best selves. In this post, we’re sharing six trends to follow if you’re hoping to ramp up your personal productivity in the year of the rooster.
De-cluttering Your App Collection
How many of those do you actually use?
There’s always going to be some hot new app to download, but realistically, the likelihood it will evolve into something you truly rely on is slim. Having too many options can be distracting—how many times have you searched through multiple note-taking apps to find the bullets you took down during a meeting?
Focus on the tools that add value to your day in one way or another, and clear out the fluff. Your devices will thank you, as will your swiping thumb.
Becoming BFFs with Your Calendar
There is much to be said about the value of effective scheduling.
Your calendar shouldn’t be limited to meetings; schedule time for things that take time. Whether you’re writing up a proposal for a client, finalizing your department’s quarterly budget, or following up on action items from your last meeting, don’t hesitate to pencil in time to work on your personal tasks.
Scheduling your day based on the way you work can also yield better productivity. For example, if you’re a morning person, use the first half of your day to work on things that require more focus, and save the afternoon—when you might have less energy—for tasks that can be accomplished on auto-pilot.
This includes email! Not every message requires an instantaneous response. Designating time to conduct your email duties can help you stay on track with your other tasks, without allowing important messages to slip through the cracks.
Establishing the End Game
Writing down a thesis for your projects can keep you from veering off-course.
The exercise of articulating the desired outcome of an initiative is often overlooked. However, those who take time to document that “north star” at the outset are setting themselves up to avoid or ease things like scope creep or confusion, should new contributors join midway through the project.
Whether you’re creating a new sales presentation, planning a product launch, or mapping out a new process for garnering employee referrals, establishing your project’s mission statement will help maintain focus and ultimately drive more productivity in your initiative.
Being Present in Meetings
Devices = distraction, so leave your phones at the conference room door.
It’s almost become customary for phones to accompany their owners in meetings. How often are you, or someone you’re meeting with, stopped mid-sentence by the buzz or flash of a mobile notification, then left hopelessly detached from the train of thought that was once crystal clear? The same can be said for our laptops, with the way instant messaging tools like Slack and Skype for Business have proliferated.
Too many of us allow ourselves to be distracted by our devices during meetings, defeating the initial purpose of setting aside time to focus on a specific topic or issue. For better productivity, separate yourself from your phone, and even your laptop, if they aren’t going to add value to your meeting.
Planning Your Meals
Staying organized in this area will save you time and money. And, calories.
Don’t underestimate the productive power of a solid meal plan. Investing the time to map out what you’re going to eat throughout the week will make your trip to the grocer much more efficient, saving you from spending time on repeat trips for random items. It’ll also give you a great reason not to throw your hands up and head to the drive-thru at lunch or the end of a busy workday.
Plus, what we eat affects our productivity. “Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance,” says this article from the Harvard Business Review. And when we plan and prep our meals in advance, the chances we’ll make better, more nutritious choices to fuel our days increase dramatically.
Finding Your Groove
The right soundtrack can send your productivity into hyperdrive.
Donning headphones during business hours used to be somewhat taboo in the business world, but no longer. Leaders in companies of all shapes and sizes are recognizing the impacts of music on productivity—in fact, 65% of business owners believe music makes employees more productive.
Different music can help in different ways—this article from The Telegraph cites a study that recommends listening to ambient music if your tasks require high levels of accuracy, dance music if your work involves proofreading, and pop music to improve data entry efficiency.
What are some of the ways you’re pledging to improve your personal productivity next year? Share them with us on Twitter @NitroHQ and, on our Facebook page.