Of course there are those that say things like "I work best under pressure" or "I thrive on stress." I believe that people who say this only say it because they have never had the experience of working on something in a low stress high productivity situation. Many studies have shown the impact that negative stress has on us physically and psychologically. Here are 4 ways to be more productive while lowering your stress level;
1- Chunk Similar Tasks Together- Chunking is an age old concept that always works. When you have 5 or 6 similar tasks to do, such as returning phone calls, or making sales calls, or even doing paperwork, try to do similar tasks all at once. Far too often we find ourselves doing something tedious like paperwork and we try to break up the task so it's not so monotonous. This is a huge time waster because we never get a chance to hit our stride. In fact if you have a lot of paperwork to fill out you will find that when you are about 80% through with the entire task you will be working 80% more effectively thus saving you countless hours to focus on other tasks at hand.
2- Work from a list- Brian Tracy is a huge proponent of lists and so am I. It is far more productive to list the tasks you need to complete. This allows you to better plan your day and chunk similar tasks together, in addition it allows you to free your mind up for creative problem solving and task completion because you are not carrying a to do list around in your head.
3- Check your email every 2 hours at the most, twice a day if you can- This is quite possibly the most difficult thing for me to do. I am a self proclaimed "compulsive email checker" and it is literally a mental fight I have with myself to keep myself from seeing when correspondence has come. I have found though that checking email too easily interrupts a project that I may be working on. This inevitably makes the project take longer and requires me to use more of my mind than is necessary. Uninterrupted work time is one of your most precious assets, this is when real work gets done and if you can eliminate distractions you will find that you can accomplish what was a day's worth of work in a few hours almost effortlessly.
4- Unplug for at least 30 minutes a day- In these days of PDA's and high speed internet it is easy to find ourselves always connected. Even when we take a break we are plugged in and instantly accessible so we never really get a chance to recharge our minds because we are always plugged into something whether it be mobile internet, or sitting in front of a machine at work. To stay truly effective you should try and unplug from everything for at least 30 minutes a day. Make yourself inaccessible! Go for a walk and leave all the gadgets at home, turn of your phone and computer and TV and just rest. Your mind needs time to unwind and that means you have to have some time to let it meander. This is difficult for many people to do, but it will help you maintain balance more than anything else.
Trying these 4 suggestions, or even just one of them you will see huge increases in your ability to get things done more quickly and with less mental effort than ever before.