Working as a user experience designer requires high levels of concentration, creativity and imagination. It also typically involves heavy workloads, punctuated by tight deadlines and myriad client demands.
While these challenges are no doubt rewarding, feelings of exhaustion and burnout are perhaps inevitable at times for many of us. And as anyone who has worked in a creative field will tell you, burn out or frustration can lead to a decrease in productivity levels and even the dreaded "p" word – procrastination.
If you find that you aren't as productive as you'd like during the work day, know that it's a common problem and that you're not alone. Also take comfort in the fact that there are a number of simple strategies that you can employ to boost your productivity and bring your A game back to the office.
Eager to learn more? We've got seven surefire tips that can help you work harder and get more done during the nine to five:
1. Embrace to-do lists
You'll likely find that some of the most organized and productive people are the ones who love to make lists. While it seems simple, list making can ensure that you stay on top of everything you need to do and that nothing is overlooked or falls through the cracks. Forbes contributor Amit Chowdhry explained how to-do lists help him by providing visual motivation – each time an item is crossed off he feels a sense of accomplishment and is powered up to move onto the next thing.
Chowdhry also noted that lists no longer need to be jotted down on a notepad. There are smartphone apps and other digital platforms that can allow you to create more sophisticated lists. Chowdhry offered the example of Google Tasks, which provides reminders and is accessible on the go via your smartphone. The program is also compatible with other Google iterations, such as Gmail.
2. Focus on one project at a time
Perhaps easier said than done, especially in client facing industries such as user experience design, but it is an important tip nonetheless: when possible, try to avoid multitasking. This is because, according to The Balance, studies have indicated that people are far less productive and less intelligent when they multitask. The Balance cited an interesting University of London study, which found that when men, in particular, multitask, their IQ drops, on average, to levels comparable to that of an eight year-old!
The source also explained how other studies have found that productivity can be reduced by close to half – around 40 percent or so – when workers juggle multiple assignments at once. The best way to boost productivity, therefore, is to only multitask when it is absolutely imperative that you do so. By focusing on one project at a time you'll find that you get more done, and to a higher standard.
3. Remove distractions
When it comes to productivity, we can be our own worst enemies – checking social media, personal email, spending too much time chatting at the water cooler, it all adds up and eats into our day. It is helpful, therefore, to take proactive steps to remove sources of distraction. Lifehack advised putting away your phone during the busiest work hours, or at the very least disabling your email or text message notifications.
It also means not surfing the internet unless it pertains to your work in some way. Many web browsers allow you to temporarily block certain distracting sites – Facebook, Twitter etc – so consider doing this if you cannot stay off the sites through willpower alone.
4. Make the most of the commute
A significant number of us spend a considerable amount of time traveling to work in the morning. If you have a long commute, spent on the train or bus, consider using that extra time to get a head start on your day, Inc. advised.
For example, think how many emails you could get answered in the time that you usually spend browsing social media? Finding ways to use spare time like this can help you achieve more during the work day, which may even help you get home a little earlier in the evening!
5. Take regular breaks
Taking a break sounds counterintuitive if you want to be productive, but it 's definitely helpful. As guest writer for Entrepreneur, Kristin Marquet, explained, taking routine breaks can help you clear your mind and get over any mental blocks that may be stopping you moving forward with a particular task. The best way to take a break – which needn't be longer than 10 minutes or so – is to go for a short walk around your office. This carries the added benefit of providing light exercise.
With these tips in mind, you can boost productivity, impress your boss and continue to succeed.