Everyone measures productivity differently for themselves. You set up a to-do list of things you want to accomplish for that day and you work as hard as possible to hit your goals before the end of business hours to avoid feeling unproductive. Which then begs the question, how can you turn it around? How can you improve your productivity?
Often, it’s the bad habits that people form in the workplace that they don’t even notice that’s hindering their productivity. What besides a cup of great coffee to kickstart your day, can help you reach the goals you have set.
- Time management
- Eliminate office paperwork
- Take care of the biggest tasks first
- Take regular breaks
- Limit or minimize interruptions
For most people, the clock is their biggest enemy in the workplace. Managing your time successfully will give you a clear direction which can result in well-executed tasks instead of rushing to complete a task because you are racing against time. Track and limit how much time you are spending on tasks and try to gauge where time is going to waste and work on that.
Working against the clock can work in your favor if you take control and set some self-imposed deadlines that you know you can manage. It provides you with more focus and drive to help you reach your goals. This removes the stress of chasing project deadlines.
Go digital and cut back on office paperwork. After all, no one enjoys doing it – it’s so time-consuming! Eliminating paperwork will increase productivity because a lot of the repetitive tasks that take up so much of your time will be eliminated along with it. This will also assist in cutting costs as you will be saving on things like paper and various bit of office stationery required for filing.
It is almost instinctive to avoid tasks that you see as difficult and put them off until later to focus on other things. In doing this, you risk burning yourself out with lighter tasks and when you have to start on the bigger task, you’re too tired or you cannot seem to focus. This is how you end up missing deadlines or working extra hours to complete your work.
One of the most influential online strategists Steve Olenski suggests that if you see a task or project that shouldn’t take longer than 2-minutes to complete you should do it immediately. It is referred to as the “2-minute rule”. According to Olenski, in doing this the task will take up less time than it would if you do it later.
There comes a time when you just have too much to do and you feel that you need to work non-stop to finish what you are doing on time. That habit has been proven to be counterproductive. Working on a project without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance. So, the quality of your work gets compromised in this manner.
Take breaks to exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, taking scheduled breaks for exercise during the workday may improve productivity. It suggests that getting your blood pumping may help clear your head. Staying active will also help improve your health so you won’t be taking as many sick days which also helps improve overall productivity.
Researchers at Florida State University have found that excellent performers who work in 90-minute intervals are far more productive than those who work exceeding the 90-minute mark without taking a break. Try taking short breaks after every 90-minutes of working.
It has been shown that even brief interruptions can disrupt the flow in your work pattern which results in a corresponding drop in your productivity. You can limit interruptions and help get your business to the next level keeping your door closed and setting office hours. For time sensitive projects you can opt to work from home so that no one is able to disturb you.
Responding to emails can be time-consuming so schedule some time during your day to check and respond to emails. Turning off notifications is a neat way to limit these interruptions. It will eliminate the temptation to respond to an email or text during work hours.