I often find myself talking about productivity… when I am discussing the blog with others, when I am meeting with students, or when I am discussing work with colleagues or my partner. I have always felt that I am a fairly productive and efficient person when it comes to work, which I think is in part my personality (highly conscientious over here). But, I think I have also picked up some little habits along the way that are easy to implement.
One important habit is to use the small ‘gaps’ in my day effectively. I am talking about when a meeting ends 10 minutes early and you have an unexpected 10 minute break, or when a task was quicker than anticipated and you have 20 minutes before your next meeting. It is really easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘I can’t get anything done in 10 minutes so I might as well scroll Instagram’. However, I have actually found that I can get so many things done in a small gap; I can send that email that I needed to do, I can sort out my inbox and triage important emails, I can edit an abstract, I can have a quick look to see if any new important papers have been published, I can edit my reference list. These little gaps add up, and getting on top of the little jobs on your to-do list will hopefully make your load feel a little lighter.
It is also important to note that taking little breaks is beneficial, if you are using the gap to grab a well needed coffee, chatting to your colleagues, going for a walk, or stretching, this is important and productive. However, if you are ‘wasting’ these little gaps, you may be able to knock off more of those pesky little tasks.