We all want to be more productive, right? Maybe one of your resolutions was to be more productive this year, whether that be at work or at school… maybe even both!
Today on the Drive, we shared 5 ways to be more productive at work, and another 5 on how to be more productive at school!

For work…
1. Stop multitasking

It can be tempting to want to take care of a few tasks at once, especially if they seem small or easy. But it simply doesn’t work. According to neuroscience professor Earl K. Miller, “multitasking is not humanly possible.” We’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, presentations, and eating lunch. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll actually end up completing it faster.

2. Take breaks

We might think working longer hours means we’re getting more done, but we never work as well when we’re burned out. Studies show taking regular breaks helps concentration and boosts your mood. Take a five-minute walk around the office, or spend 15 minutes grabbing that mid-afternoon coffee.

3. Set small goals

Sometimes, looking at our goals can be overwhelming. Seeing a handful of big projects on our calendar can be stressful… but if you break it up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel more in control and will be much more productive. Rather than write down “finish project,” break that into all the tasks it will take. This will keep you on track in your day-to-day and make the bigger projects seem less daunting.

4. Take care of the biggest tasks when you’re most alert

We all sometimes push aside big goals because we’re not confident we’ll accomplish them… And by the time we get to them, we’re too burned out from our day to give it the attention it needs. That’s how projects end up bleeding into additional days, and making it feel like productivity has disappeared.

5. Implement the “two-minute rule”

Make the most of your time at work by filling those tiny windows with actual tasks. According to entrepreneur Steve Olenski, finding and immediately completing tasks that take two minutes or less actually saves you time. So, if it takes less than two minutes, do it now.

The other aspect of the two-minute rule is that any goal or habit can be started in under two minutes. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to complete every task in 120 seconds, but starting new goals is the first step to accomplishing them!

Here are 5 ways to be more productive at school…

1. Start homework within one hour of coming home.
It is important to get a snack and take a break.  It’s been a long day!  But, keep the break short so you can get homework done while your brain is fresh.  The later you wait, the more fatigued your brain will be.  In other words, the earlier that you do homework, the less time it will take.

2. Take advantage of “down time.”
We tend to do a lot of “waiting” during these hours.  Waiting for a ride home.  Waiting for a doctor appointment.  Waiting for basketball practice to start.  Pull out your homework and get something done!  You will be amazed how much you can do in ten-minutes.  In fact, your brain prefers shorter work segments. Your brain works faster during these short homework times than it will during a two-hour homework marathon.

3. Use a timer.
No one likes to do homework.  But, you can challenge yourself to do it fast by working to beat a timer.   Your body will respond to this challenge with a natural adrenaline rush that will last about 15-20 minutes.  That is PRIME time to be productive with your homework!

4. Power down.
Turn off all of your electronics.  I know this does not sound like fun, but electronic devices will always control you if you don’t control them.  Students who “power down” for 1-2 hours a night report getting their homework done 2-4x faster!  Try it.

5. Learn study skills to help you work efficiently.
The national and state education departments tell schools what they have to teach and there’s a LOT!  But, it is all content.  They do not allow schools the time to teach how to learn that content, which is absurd! Learning HOW to learn takes a little bit of guidance and practice, just as a baby needs when he first learns how to walk.  But, once you get it, you GET IT!  Study skills help all students, from those that struggle to those that get straight-A’s, use their brain’s strategically to get better grades in LESS time.

Thanks for listening!
– Lilly and Todd