How many times have you gotten to the end of the day and realized you’ve only gotten through a third of your to-do list? If you’re constantly wishing for more hours in the workday, a tutorial in focus might be what you need so you can stop spending your precious off-the-clock time catching up on office duties.
To help you level up your productivity, we got advice on proven strategies to get your best work done during business hours from Well+Good Council member Claire Wasserman, who has major cred as the CEO and founder of Ladies Get Paid—the career development hub where go-getters can ask their most pressing questions and get feedback from its empowering girl gang of 30,000 members.
She’s discovered key ways to crush her career—without sacrificing her off hours.
After launching her NYC-based organization in 2016, Wasserman struggled with managing long hours and work-life balance. (Sound familiar?) “For the first 12 months of starting my business, I went from being a half-marathon runner to never working out,” she says. Since then, she’s discovered key ways to crush her career—without sacrificing her off hours.
Keep reading for the 4 focus-boosting strategies she swears by to maximize her productivity.
1. Work around your energy levels
You might not have control over how many deadlines you have per day, but you do have control over your game plan. For Wasserman, working smarter (not harder) is all about strategically tackling your biggest projects when you’re most alert.
“I have a lot more energy and motivation in the beginning of the day, so I use that ability to focus to get through some of the more mundane tasks like responding to emails, doing spreadsheets, etc.,” Wasserman says. “Post-lunch, I’m usually in a more distracted or lethargic mood, so I find it more efficient to do tasks that are less detail oriented.”
You can also streamline your workday by tackling similar tasks at the same time. “I find it much easier to segment like-minded tasks together so I’m not constantly switching between things that require different parts of my brain,” says Wasserman, who digs into detail-oriented tasks (updating spreadsheets and reports) in the a.m., saving creative work (brainstorms and writing snappy blog posts) for later.
2. Pay attention to when you’re not feeling it
When the 3 p.m. energy slump inevitably hits, do the opposite of what you’d normally do. Instead of working through the blah feeling, step away from your desk.
“If I’m feeling sluggish or unproductive, I do other things like read the news or go for a walk,” Wasserman says. “Worse comes to worst, I’ll call it a day and wake up early the next day to catch up on the work I missed. I’ve noticed I get more stuff done that way instead of powering through a time when I’m just not feeling it.”
But if you’re up against a deadline that means putting your work off until tomorrow isn’t an option, try taking a quick trip outside to get your creative juices flowing. “I do my best brainstorming when I’m moving, so whenever I need to solve some sort of problem or get creative, I try to go for a walk,” she says.
3. Reward your hustle
Sometimes you just need a little incentive to get through your most dreaded to-do’s (*cough* submitting your monthly expense report). Just like you treat yourself to a post-class smoothie when you make it to that 6 a.m. spin class, you can sprinkle in tiny rewards as motivation for daunting tasks.
“Schedule rewards in between tasks that suck energy from you,” says Wasserman. “I try to alternate between an energy-giving task and then an energy-draining task. That way I stop putting off those tasks I’m dreading. I reward myself between tasks by going through social media, reading The New York Times, or distracting myself with celebrity gossip.” Even better when you can read up on celeb-fave Pilates moves while doing clam shells or neck stretches yourself.
4. Make time to play
During the workweek, you’ll find the career coach roaming around The Wing, a female-only co-working space, as she tries to find ways to incorporate movement into her day. A few of her favorite ways to get moving are by planking with her laptop, popping into a handstand to (literally) flip her perspective, or scheduling walking phone calls.
“Walking outside helps me get back into my body,” Wasserman says. “Getting away from the screen stimulates my other senses and allows me to get my blood flowing.” Plus, a pro-tip for your stroll: “At the beginning of the call, let them know you’re outside in case they hear loud noise or you lose reception—they’ll understand.”
Because she’s all about midday movement, she relies on polished-looking workwear that can also hold up to her spontaneous headstands and downward dogs. “When it comes to clothes, my two must-have [qualities] are wrinkle resistant and super comfortable,” Wasserman says. “Bonus points if they’re sweat resistant since I’m always on the go. I definitely need a little help in the sweat department.” Even her wardrobe is in work-mode.
Check out her get-it-all-done ensemble below—and click the hotspots to shop her picks.
In partnership with Athleta
Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good
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