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5 top tips for personal productivity

Fresh and focused on a productive new year our latest member of the team Eunice speaks to her colleagues to find out how they’ll hit the ground running and maintain their focus this year. 

As a novel start-up in a poorly-researched space, we needed to validate the problems Whirli is solving. Sapio Research were fantastic partners from start to finish – creative in brainstorming angles, careful in designing the questions, and rigorous in analysing the results. The research brought a wealth of insights, backed by hard figures, for our business decision making and for us to talk about publicly in the press.

Nigel Phan
Founder
Whirli

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Having studied psychology and participated in various psychological research experiments in university, I found myself starting a new role as an intern in Sapio Research. And it has almost been 4 months that I’ve been working here now! Being in Sapio has given me a lot of exposure to how different industries carry out their research projects to understand their audience, which I’ve really enjoyed.  

Many of them are looking to understand ways in which they can improve, just like we do with new years’ resolutions as we head into the new year. A goal that helps me is to have a productive mindset to get the ball rolling in the right direction at the beginning of the year. So, I’ve spoken to my colleagues to gather ideas on how they stay productive during the working day, and here are a few pointers to consider for keeping things up to speed at work!  

  • Time 
    • For some, early mornings are the most productive time of the day, and they allocate demanding work on those times to get them done, and for some it’s the opposite. Identify the time when you work the best when you’re in your flow, then use this period to attend to your important tasks of the day.  
  • Tasks  
    • Then, the importance of tasks. Which jobs need to be done that require the most attention, are difficult and the most urgent? Which is the one task I procrastinate on the most on? A colleague in the team, Riv, describes it as ‘eating the frog’, where she works on a difficult task first, finishes it and crosses it out of her mind. The day then gets easier, and you feel accomplished. Identify the hardest thing to do and do that first.  
  • Tools
    • We find it beneficial to prepare a to-do list to give us an overview of what to expect in the day. Our team are fond of using to-do lists of all kinds, including a piece of paper, a planner, applications like Todoist, Trello and Notion, we were even given reusable rocket books when recently moving office. So, a piece of paper is all you need to remind yourself on what needs to be done. Although, using these task-management tools helps visualise the progress of your projects and keep track of them over time. Sometimes, it is just worth noting down a list of what to do for the next day, or the following week.  
  • Distractions
    • Then, environmental distractions. Decluttering your workspace is useful. To concentrate on deep concentration work we often: reply to non-urgent messages and emails later in the day; listen to music (using headphones); and using Do-not-disturb functions for our phones and browsers. My colleagues and I also like to time-block our work calendars for specific tasks, as that way it gives not only structure, but it nudges our mind to switch into ‘focus’ mode.  
  • Health
    • A balanced lifestyle is optimal to maintaining productivity and creativity. Taking regular breaks and not skipping lunch. Sleeping restores the body and allows us to concentrate, as being deprived of sleep does the opposite. Keeping a system with good habits will improve productivity. In situations where delegation of work is possible, it is also more productive to have work resourced to others when you see more and more things piling up on your plate, pushing you to work beyond your hours.  

Takeaways:  

  • Consider the value and urgency of the task and attend to them accordingly  
  • Rely on tools to assist with work and tasks 
  • Keep consistent habits for a healthy state, allowing more cognitive resources to be put to deep thinking tasks 
  • Ask for tips from your teammates 

What strategies do you have for staying focused and achieving what you need to do in a day? I’d love to add to my list. 

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