We all know someone like them. Whether we work in IT or app development, there’s always at least one person on the team who never seems behind in their work. One person who’s always ahead of the curve, always put together, and always productive.
And we’ll never admit it, but we kind of hate them for it.
Believe it or not, people like this aren’t particularly exceptional - at least, not for their productivity. They’re men and women just like us. They’ve just figured out a few things that let them be better at their jobs.
You can, too.
We’ve all done it - motivated solely by our lizard-brains, we’ve put off for tomorrow something we should really get done today. Teach yourself not to do that. Talk yourself up when you don’t feel like working, and learn to talk yourself up when you don’t feel like working.
Remind yourself why you’re doing this job in the first place. Concentrate on the end goal rather than the work. Start with small, simple tasks to build up momentum before tackling the difficult stuff.
Additionally, consider using a tool like Trello or some sort of checklist to help you keep track of your work. The satisfaction of marking a particular item or project as completed could be just the thing to keep you going. You might also consider rewarding yourself with a food or activity you enjoy after finishing a particular job - though take care with that last one.
Stop me if this sounds familiar. Your software is deploying in a matter of weeks, and you’ve already missed several development milestones. You’re officially in crunch.
Steeling yourself for the difficult road ahead, you stock up on energy drinks, junk food, and other stuff you have no business feeding your body. You know full well your desk is going to become home for the next few weeks. After all, you’ve done this before.
That’s exactly the problem.
I get it, you get busy. Sometimes you don’t have time for anything but a burger and fries. But if all you eat is junk food? If you never get enough sleep at night and never exercise? You aren’t just damaging your physical health - you’re destroying your productivity.
If it helps, picture two computer systems. The first one has never been dusted, and the owner installs every application and accepts every drive-by download they encounter online. The second one is well-maintained, and the owner regularly dusts it and clears off any malware and adware they may have come across.
Pretty obvious which of the two would run better, right? The first computer is essentially your body when you don’t get enough sleep, eat horrible food, or don’t bother exercising. Trust me on this - make time for exercise and start paying attention to nutrition and sleep.
You’ll be shocked at how much better you feel - and how much better you are at your job.
If all else fails, you might also consider getting a standing desk. We’re not made to sit for hours upon hours every day, after all.
I always cringe a little when I hear someone brag about how good they are at multitasking. Fact is, no one can actually multitask. Our brains simply aren’t wired that way - and if you think you’re a good multitasker, I want you to try something.
Get two sets of tasks that are very similar to one another. Try to complete the first set all at once, then for the second set, focus on one at a time. I think you’ll quickly find that the second set’s a lot higher-quality.
Multitasking aside, the most productive people know how to keep themselves going in the right direction when they’re working on something - to that end, here are a few things you can do to learn:
Sometimes, it can seem like there’s never enough hours in the day. But that isn’t how it has to be. By learning to keep yourself on-track, motivated, and healthy, you can become worlds more effective at your job.
Mind you, it’s not easy - but it’s worth the effort.