Work: the place where you spend the majority of your life sitting at a desk pretending to look busy.

I’m totally kidding! Some days are crazy busy, but let’s be honest – we’ve all had a few that have flown by and by the end of your day you’re wondering, “what in the world did I actually accomplish today?” Let’s go over a few simple tasks you can utilize to be more productive and check off a few more boxes from your to-do list during the work day.

Create a To-Do List:

I know…it’s an old, boring tip, but it’s stuck around all these years because it works! Between getting the kids ready for school and making it to your office on time, it’s easy to lose track of everything else that needs to get done. If you’re a pen-to-paper type, get yourself some aesthetically pleasing notepads to keep track of your to-do lists (because everything’s better when it looks nice, right?) For those of you who prefer for everything to live on your (enter the smartphone/tablet/device of choice here), I’ve got just the thing for you.

Apple users:

Have you ever used the to-do list function on your phone/device? Sure, we’ve all used the notes functionality to write down our own bulleted list of tasks. But did you know Apple actually has the option to create a to-do list which can be checked off, or create a table for things like a guest list, all within the notes section? Here’s how to use it.

  • Open notes.

  • Open a new note in the bottom right corner.

  • On the bottom left you’ll see a table – this will allow you to create tables and charts.

  • Or in the middle you’ll see a circle with a check mark – this is what you can use to create your to-do list. Hit the circle when your task is complete.

Other options:

For those of you who don’t use Apple products, I highly suggest downloading the free Microsoft To-Do app, which is compatible for all Windows, Android, iPhone, and iPad users. (If you were ever a user of the Wunderlist app, this is the new-and-improved version.) I love that you can create tasks in a list or organize them by due date. You can even sync it up with your Outlook account, assuming you use the same Microsoft log-in for both.

Boom – it’s as easy as that! Now that you have a clear view of what your daily/weekly/monthly task list looks like, it’s much easier to accomplish your goals.

Staying on Task at Work

Sure, work is a place of, well, work. But it’s also a place of coffee breaks, impromptu birthday celebrations, happy hours, and water cooler chats. And if those aren’t distracting enough – google. Simply put: work comes with a lot of distractions! So what are we to do about it? I suggest scheduling out your day in 30 minute (or smaller) increments.

woman looking at calendar

Book up your Calendar

Of course we all have meetings we must attend, but what about those free blocks within our schedule? Leaving your day “open” basically says, “book me up! I have nothing else to work on.” I’ve found that blocking off your schedule can help reduce the amount of time wasted, sitting in meetings where your presence isn’t really needed. Do you travel for work? Be sure to block off driving/traveling time as well – getting caught in a long meeting or a side conversation can completely derail the rest of your day by throwing you off schedule.

Limit your Time Robbers

If you find yourself being consistently distracted by social media and clickbait articles, (who doesn’t need to find out what kind of bread they are?!) limit yourself to 15-30 minutes (whatever you can spare) during your lunch break to get it out of your system. If chatting with your coworkers is the thing that steals most of your time, try coming in early to chat in the morning or make plans to sit with them at lunch. Giving yourself time to indulge, but not enough to lose sight of what needs to be done, is key.

Don’t Dwell on Mistakes

One of life’s greatest moments is when you realize and accept the fact that we all make mistakes. Mistakes mean you’re growing, that you’re trying something new. What should you do when it happens at work? Own your mistake and move forward. Nothing good comes from wallowing in self pity, so take a deep breath, come to the table with a timely solution, and get back on track. Your employer will appreciate your professionalism and ability to think on your feet and suggest a solution. Phew – that was a ton of tips! I hope you find them helpful. If you try them out, let me know by leaving a comment below!

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