One reason New Year’s Resolutions are so hard is because they involve making time for a new activity in your daily routine. It’s difficult to find time to go to the gym or learn a new skill because you’ve already got a tight schedule. Since you’re likely already devoting at least 40 hours to work each week, why not take advantage of that time and make some resolutions to optimize your working time?
Here are a few ideas for New Year’s Resolutions that you might consider to boost your productivity:
Go on an email diet:
If you want to get more out of your day, one of the most straightforward things you can do is cut back on email. Unnecessary communications are one of the biggest time-wasters, and the saddest part is that many people feel powerless to do anything about it. There’s often constant pressure to keep managers and colleagues informed, and over-use of email, instant message, and other communication systems unfortunately becomes ingrained in many companies’ cultures. But, you can make some small tweaks to start taming the email monster.
Take a look at www.emailcharter.org for some easy-to-remember rules that will help you reverse the email spiral.
Take a look at some compelling health reasons for limiting your email intake.
Switch to a standing desk:
More and more studies are confirming that sitting at your desk all day is really bad for your health. An obvious solution, stop sitting. The problem is that most standing desks will set you back several hundred dollars. But many people have improvised and come up with some creative ways to hack together functional (and sometimes even pretty) standing desks. Will you be able to ditch the chair? Only one way to find out.
Cut down on distractions:
Between email, Twitter, Facebook, and all the apps on your smartphone, you have about a million things vying for your attention each day. The problem is, each one of them takes you away from something you were already working on. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, switching back and getting into a state of flow can take several minutes. Even worse, over time all those bleeps and buzzes train you to always be on guard for new incoming information. Next time you are at a restaurant, do a quick scan and note how many people are looking at their phones, or have them on the table next to them so they can be ready for the next incoming notice.
Consider turning off all notifications. It will feel weird at first, but after a few days you’ll notice a pretty dramatic shift. I made the switch last year and I’ll never go back.
Or, consider taking steps to block out distracting web sites that you frequent. Here’s how some prominent authors block out distractions. Here’s a shell script to turn off websites you’d rather avoid. Or, you could always use RescueTime’s Get Focused! site blocking. 😉
What are your productivity-related New Year’s Resolution ideas?
p.s. If you’d like to keep track of your productivity for the new year, sign up for a RescueTime account today!