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  • Writer's pictureAcelli Crippen-Kok

How to Be Productive in Your Work Day

The Key Lies in Compartmentalization Strategies

We often find ourselves working an 8-hour day and wondering “did I even accomplish anything today”? Many of us throw our heads back and our hands up and yell “What in the world did I do all day that caused this exhaustion? Why does my to-do list for tomorrow look even longer and more exhausting than today’s?”

Wouldn’t it be monumental to be productive in your work day so you end your day filled with pride? How amazing would it be if you felt fulfilled leaving a productive day at work and having energy to be present in your life outside of the office? Believe it or not, it’s possible.

how to be productive

Successful Work-Life Compartmentalization

Trust me, I know what it’s like to spin your wheels all day, getting nothing done, and realizing what’s waiting for you the following day. You just feel beat down. It’s not surprising so many people are mentally exhausted after a workday. It’s no wonder people go home after a pointless day at work, and just want to be left alone. Doesn’t make for a good work-life balance, right?

In order to make your work exist harmoniously with your real life, your work day can’t cause total and utter mental exhaustion. Instead of draining your battery at work and having nothing left for your “real life”, learn compartmentalization skills!

When we compartmentalize, we train our minds to put things into little brain boxes. It’s the best way to achieve mind over matter. It forces us to be disciplined with our time. We learn to focus on the tasks at-hand, and limit our minds from wandering.

Once one compartment closes, keep it sealed shut as you move into the next compartment. The compartments are always there to return to when time allows.

Planning Productivity

Now that you know what compartmentalizing is, it’s time to plan your days so you can be productive at work, so you feel energized once your 8 hours are over! A productive work day sets you up for a chance to be present with those waiting for you at home.

Understand Your Workload

It’s always important to understand your workload and be honest with yourself about it. You need to know what tasks are the most important ones, along with all the deadlines for each of your projects. If there are deadlines, those items need to be done quickly and on-time.

Once those are out of the way, it’s best to get the most important jobs done when you’re at your best. If you do your best work in the morning, make your mornings all about accomplishing projects and tasks requiring your best efforts.

Plan Your Day

Compartmentalizing only works if you actually plan out your day, and stick to the schedule REGARDLESS of what others try to distract you with!

  • List your tasks and projects

  • Break the list into smaller steps

  • Block out time for each step

  • Once you start, set a timer

  • When a timer goes off, stop working on the current task

  • Put the task away and out of your reach

  • Get up, take a short break

  • Set the next timer and start working

Set Rules

Having a schedule is part of the battle when you’ve chosen to compartmentalize. One of the most important aspects of sticking to your new work philosophy and work schedule is setting rules around your schedule.

Your co-workers and teams need to know the way you’ve designed your work day. Give them the heads up that you’ve got a new way of doing things and let them know when you’ll be reviewing and responding to emails and voicemails. Learn to say no to people trying to distract you from your work day goals!

Promise yourself you won’t “just check emails real quick” once your workday is over. After work is done, it’s done. Work compartment is closed, it’s time to open up your “real life” compartment!

Accept Emergencies Will Happen

Even the best of the best know a schedule will have to be adjusted if an emergency arises. Perhaps a client needs a project done sooner, or a warehouse runs into supply issues, etc. Know that even with the best of intentions, things happen and you’ll have to adjust your day.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to drain your battery. Accept emergencies will happen, shake it off, and move your unfinished business to another day.

Talking Helps Productivity

In order to maximize your productivity at work, talking to a professional can help!

Making significant changes to your work day will help you leave work behind once the day is over. Your boss, your clients, your co-workers, your teams should never control your mind and life once you’ve ‘clocked out’. They all belong in that work compartment.

But listen, it isn’t easy reprogramming your mind to keep work in its box, and allow your real life box to spring open immediately after stepping out of your office. Realizing your mental health is a priority can shake you to your core, as we do live in a hustle-focused world.

If you aren’t stressed and losing sleep every day then you just aren’t doing enough is a set of beliefs drilled into most people their entire lives. Talking about these faulty ideologies can help you change how you “do your work day”.

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