How I Increased Productivity in the Workplace – The 48-hour Productivity Challenge

How I Increased Productivity in the Workplace – The 48-hour Productivity Challenge

So as it happens my blog has been playing second fiddle to my article writing for other websites and clients. Productivity in the workplace seemed to be as unrealistic as losing 10kgs in a week.  As a freelance writer I can never seem to shake the feeling of being lazy or not working enough. When I work a normal 9-5 day it still feels like I am not living up to my potential. When I glance over at my to-do list it really does seem never-ending- but why am I not satisfied?

I don’t know about you, but writing can be rather draining and creatively tiring. It is hard to stay focused and keep at the same pace for hours on end. What is worse is that I am my own boss, so when I’m not feeling up to it and reaching the next level of Rayman on the Xbox seems more enticing than writing, there is no one to tell me that I’m not allowed to chill and play games.

My freelance writing career is far from where I want it to be, but I feel like I am starting to move in the right direction. I am approaching prospective clients with confidence and planning my posts ahead of time. I then realized that what I’m craving is a challenge. I was sick of being average and doing just enough to feel I deserve a rest.

As a freelancer you know which time of the day you are most productive. For me it used to be late at night, but when I have a deadline I can be a working monster any time of the day. It made me realize that I can instigate these moments of productivity. In other words, I can force myself to function. That is where the idea of the 48-hour Productivity Challenge came to mind. I needed to find a way to increase productivity in the workplace even though I am my own boss.

I wanted to know if I can control my work ethic, discipline and determination by setting a few simple goals.

How It Works

I decided to try out the 48-hour Productivity Challenge. My boyfriend, who is a programmer, also works from home- so we decided to set our goals together. The plan was to make a list of tasks to finish and goals to reach before the time runs out.

The Rules:

–          No Social Media Activities While Writing

–          Only 6-7 Hours of Sleep Per Night

–          Breaks of no longer than 30 Minutes

–          No social activities

The rules seemed rather straight forward and once again it was up to us to be determined and disciplined.

What I achieved

Okay, so I was not an over-achiever by my own standards, but I did get a lot more work done than usually. I turned down about three coffee/drinks/dinner dates to focus on my work and that scored me some brownie-points with self-discipline. I wrote twice the amount of articles daily as when I just used to chill out. I woke up in the morning with purpose and vision, I felt like I wanted to be a part of what was happening and not just watch life pass me by.

As a social media fanatic I did struggle with keeping work and play apart from each other. My boyfriend suggested that I get the FocalFilter application for managing my access to certain websites. He uses the Self Control for the Mac. I’m definitely going to try that out next week.

Tips for the 48-hour Productivity Challenge Round 2

I am planning to take a 48-hour productivity challenge every week. This way I will push myself and grow as a freelancer. There is nothing better than breaking barriers and exceeding what you thought were your limits.

–          Time Management

For those of you that aren’t accustomed with the Pomodairo system, you should give it a try. If you are having trouble with managing your time this application will be your savior. It allows you to stay productive for 25 minutes at a time and gives you interval breaks to gather your focus.

–          Meal Preparation

This might seem rather trivial, but if you are the cook in the house preparing food can be very time consuming. Have a big breakfast full of protein to give you the energy you need, keep the other meals rather simple and avoid having too much carbs. The night before your challenge just cook up some chicken breast and fish fillets, bulgur wheat and whole wheat pasta. Have some fresh salad leaves ready in the fridge and stack up nuts and yogurts for snacks.

–          Be realistic

As I’ve seen on Project Runway, people are capable of doing amazing things while under pressure but don’t be too hard on yourself. The last thing you would want to do is feel overwhelmed and decide to give up on your challenge all together. Create a list that is challenging but still achievable, this way you will build confidence in your abilities and try to beat your own record.

–          Get Support

The main reason why people get personal trainers is not to have some sexy in-shape side-kick but someone to hold you accountable. In my case I do have a sexy in-shape side-kick (I don’t know if he would be happy with that status) who helps me to stay focused on my goals and shuns me when I try to reach yet another level on the oh-so-entertaining Rayman.

Find a friend or family member who you know will be supportive but strict as well. Tell them what you would like to achieve during those hours. If you find the right person they will also keep the temptations at bay and prevent you from going off course.

Let me know if you have any tips or advice? If you’ve tried something similar I would love to hear about it. Here’s to breaking boundaries and stepping out of your productivity comfort zone.

Image Courtesy: Lozikiki

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