I struggled with this for a while at the start of my career. I am naturally someone who wants to get the job done but found myself being distracted by so many things unforeseen or unplanned and things I did not even think about.
After some initial trial and error and hard thinking, I came up with a few ways to handle my predicament. Here are 9 Ways to Increase your Productivity at Work Today, tell me what you think and if there is anything you would add that is working for you!
Increase Productivity in the Workplace
When you’re at work, it seems obvious that your primary objective should be, well, to work. But often simply being in the office or on the floor isn’t enough to promote impressive amounts of productivity from any one individual or team.
There are many workplace factors that play into our inability to accomplish things while we’re at work. From the easy availability of online distractions to gossipy coworkers, workplace distractions eat up many of the minutes we spend at our workplaces.
The key to overcoming workplace distractions is to beat bad habits that suck your time away and replace them with smart work habits that help you get more accomplished in less time.
Gaining control over the hours you spend on the job will make you more productive over time and will get you noticed for all the right reasons.
Productivity Tip – Plug into your productive hours
Studies show that there are certain parts of the day where people are more productive than others. For most, the biggest block of unhindered productive time occurs in the morning, sometimes after waking up and getting to work.
If possible, reserve this time for your agenda alone. Close your office door, take the phone off the hook, set up an autoresponder on your email box, if you have to. Do whatever you reasonably can to limit distractions during these hours.
While it may not be possible to cut out distractions entirely, or maybe you only have two days a week where a closed office door is even feasible, taking little steps to limit your distractions during these hours will help you achieve a large amount of productivity before the afternoon slump kicks in.
Improve productivity by Plotting your to-dos
Before you sink your teeth into your productive time and lose track of everything else for a few hours, plot your day by writing down your to-do list. Writing out your daily tasks and organising them can give you a leg up when it comes to sitting down and getting things done.
There are a few different ways to organise your to-dos. Some people like to rank them by order of importance, which helps them to easily see which tasks have priority and which can wait. If possible, delegate some of your less important tasks to help you focus exclusively on the most important ones.
You can also organise your tasks in a more formal way to help you visually identify with what needs to be accomplished. A Kanban Board is a fairly simple way to organise your tasks right in your workspace.
To create a simple Kanban Board, you’ll need a whiteboard and some sticky notes. Divide your whiteboard into three equal sections: “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done”.
At the beginning of the day, write each task on a coloured sticky note and put it in the to-do section. Then move them, one by one, to doing as you work on each task. At the end of the day, look at your done section and admire the stack of coloured notes piled there.
Be more Productive and Cut the multitasking
As mentioned above, you should ideally only be working on one task at a time. While multitaskers were once praised for their ability to work on more tasks than the average person and supposedly achieve more, neuroscientists aren’t buying it.
According to research, it’s impossible to multitask truly. So what happens when we try to make that phone call, check a bank account on the iPhone, and draft a report on our work computer? None of it gets done very well.
While perfection is obviously an unachievable standard, shoddy work as the result of multitasking attempts is hardly going to get you noticed by those you’re trying to impress. At least not in the way you want to be noticed.
The only way to be productive = Focus / Monotasking
The opposite of unproductive multitasking is monotasking. This means focusing on a single task exclusively until it’s done, or until you need to take a break to get to something else.
Even if you can only monotask for a few minutes at a time before experiencing fatigue or being bombarded with an unavoidable distraction, this undivided focus time will add up.
If you retrain your brain to focus on single tasks throughout the day, you’ll end up accomplishing far more than if you try to unsuccessfully multitask for eight straight hours.
Be more Proactive and Schedule your day
It may seem obvious that a well-scheduled day will set you up for success, but the key to productive scheduling is how you plot your tasks. Giving yourself logical periods for work and breaks will help you to achieve more in less time.
There are various scheduling methodologies that prescribe increments of work paired with pre-planned breaks to help you be more productive throughout the working day.
A popular model is the Pomodoro technique, which works off of 25 minute work periods, broken up by five-minute breaks and a 15-minute break after four work periods. You can either invest in a small kitchen timer or a smartphone app to help you keep track of your time and give you the breaks you need.
Walk it off
In addition to scheduling breaks for yourself, you may need to simply get away from your work when distraction strikes. Getting away from your desk and going for a quick walk can help you to refocus once you return to your workspace.
Maintaining your overall health by staying active and breaking up your seated periods will help you to improve productivity during the day. Other healthy habits, like staying hydrated and eating well-balanced meals, will keep you on track during your focus periods.
Win back your commute
Commuting is a notorious stress builder. From dealing with rude drivers to the unpredictability of the problems you may encounter and the possibility of a traffic snarl preventing you from clocking in on time, your morning commute can get you totally stressed out before you even open your inbox.
If you have a job that allows for flexible work time, discuss the possibility of a flex day or two per week to help you cut your weekly commuting time. By eliminating the commute on a few flexible working days per month, you’ll increase productivity and lower your overall stress level.
Or perhaps your commute time is spent on public transportation of some sort.
Instead of spending this time browsing social media or playing games on your smartphone, make better decisions and turn your commuter train into a mobile office where you can brainstorm ideas or catch up on lower priority emails before you even get into work.
Winning back your commute time, whether by eliminating it some days of the week or using your time more productively will help you to increase your productivity on the whole. Research even indicates that employees who have less stress associated with commuting to work are happier and more productive than those who deal with daily commuting stresses.
Crank up some music & Increase your Productivity
Listening to music while you’re working can help to get you to a state of flow that will plug you into your most productive self. Music without lyrics, like soundtracks or classical tunes with nature sounds, is the best music for listening to while working.
Music is meditative, calming, and can put yours in a better mood. This combination of factors lets you get tasks done more quickly and facilitates creativity on the job.
Give into distractions, What?
Giving into the things that distract you is sometimes unavoidable. And while you should Work to minimise distractions by logging out of social networks and working from a clean and organised workspace, sometimes they will cut through your flow state and demand attention.
During the afternoon, when your energy is lower and during other parts of the day when you absolutely can’t avoid a meeting or a talkative executive, allow distractions to take over – with limits, of course.
The nature of the workplace is distraction and collaboration. Sometimes distractions from your daily tasks are the conduits you need to plug into creativity or even daydream about ways to solve a particular problem.
Not all distraction is bad – as long as you don’t allow distractions to control your time. Plan to be distracted, but avoid consuming distraction that turns to procrastination to stay productive and win back your time.
Increase your Productivity at Work Concludes:
Achieving higher levels of productivity while on the job will allow you to achieve more in less time.
If you work to establish habits that allow you to get ahold of your time and minimise the power of distraction, you’ll improve your productivity and be able to win back more free time to enjoy the things you love.
Is there anything you would add to the 9 Ways to Increase your Productivity at Work Today?