Do you want to boost your productivity at work and get a head start on the day? There are plenty of tips out there for making the most of your time and improving your focus. But one tip shared by the first Trust Fellow at Oxford University might surprise you.
Speaking to Fast Company, Rachel Botsman suggests stopping a task midway through.
She argues that stopping halfway through a paragraph means you immediately have something to pick up when you return to the task. So, right from the get-go, you’re already in the flow and don’t waste time trying to start from scratch.
While Botsman uses writing as an example, there are plenty of other tasks that this tip could work for too.
The trick is sometimes referred to as the “Hemingway Trick” after author Ernest Hemingway once reportedly said: “When you are going good, stop writing.” He found this method so useful that he purportedly stopped each day’s writing session halfway through a sentence.
The Hemingway Trick could help you get into the right mindset to work
The trick might seem counterintuitive. After all, if progress is going well, doesn’t it make sense to keep going?
Yet, the Hemingway Trick is about preparing yourself to return to the task later. It may mean you start a new day or come back after a break in the right mindset to be productive from the outset. Rather than figuring out where to start, you can dive right in.
Author Roald Dahl is also said to have used this strategy as it meant he wasn’t faced with a blank sheet when he started a new writing session.
It’s a process that means you feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile right away. It may lead to you feeling more positive as you move on to your next piece of work.
So, the next time you’re trying to complete a task before the end of the day or find the “right” place to pause before a break, simply stopping could boost your productivity.
5 more tips that could boost your output
Maintaining a high level of productivity isn’t always easy. As well as trying the Hemingway Trick in your working life, here are five more tips that could improve your output.
1. Recognise when you’re at your most productive
Your energy will ebb and flow during the day and week. Understanding when you’re at your best can help you get more out of your working day.
Figuring out when you’re more likely to be in the right mindset to tackle tasks could allow you to create an effective plan that suits you. And it’s not just about understanding when you get the most work done – for example, perhaps you find after your lunch break that you’re better at thinking creatively and solving problems.
2. Make to-do lists
If you’re juggling different tasks, a to-do list can be really beneficial in keeping you on track and prioritising what you need to do. Plus, ticking something off your to-do list can give you a sense of satisfaction.
Some people find the 1-3-5 rule is useful when setting out what they need to achieve. Each day, you’d list one big thing you need to complete, along with three medium and five small tasks. It can help you make progress throughout the day and feel accomplished.
3. Create the right environment to focus
Where you work has a huge effect on your mindset and ability to focus. Clearing away distractions when you really need to get something done is a simple way to improve productivity. Switching off email notifications and putting on headphones to block out noise may be useful.
As well as eliminating distractions consider if your workspace is set up with productivity in mind. Are you comfortable when you’re working? Do you have everything you might need to hand?
4. Give priority tasks your full attention
While multitasking is often an ability people list as a positive, it can get in the way of productivity. Trying to complete multiple tasks at the same time or switching between one unfinished project and another could mean you achieve less, rather than more.
Giving tasks your full attention might mean you complete them quicker and to a higher standard. Recognising which projects you need to focus on, and which you can successfully multitask on could help you plan your day more effectively.
5. Take a break
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it seems impossible to move a task forward. Taking a break could be just what you need to come back to your work feeling refreshed. Whether you make a cup of tea, chat with a colleague, or take a short walk, a break may help you get more out of your time overall.