We can all improve on our productivity at work. From time management skills to communication, productivity effects all aspects of the workplace culture. Resources Unlimited has many resources available that can help your teams succeed and improve their productivity. Here are 11 tips to help you be more efficient at work.
- Set goals – daily and long term
Start each day knowing what you plan to accomplish. Have it visual so you can keep accountable to your to-do list and yourself. Your day-to-day goals and accomplishments should build toward any long-term goals you set for yourself. If you want to learn a new skill, scheduling time into your day or week will help you achieve your overall goal.
- Plan and organize your day
Each person has their preference when it comes to planning and organizing their to-do list. The use of calendars, project management tools or written task lists can all be effective. Find what works for you.
- Schedule specific time to get tasks done
We’re all guilty of having that one item on our to-do list that keeps getting moved to the next day. When you’ve procrastinated enough schedule a specific time to knock it out. An effective scheduling technique is called time blocking. Group or batch projects that can be done in a single work session. If you have a consistent schedule, you can develop a routine and pattern of when you’ll check emails, respond to messages, have open meeting availability, and designated focused time, etc.
- Do the hardest thing first
Brian Tracy coined the phrase “eat the frog.” He says, “In reality, your “frog” is your biggest, most important task. It is the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. So, “eat that frog,” is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.” When you finish the hardest thing first, the other tasks won’t feel as hard and shouldn’t take as long.
- Identify your most productive time of day
Our brains operate differently, the same way some people are early risers or night owls. We each have that time of day that we seem to consistently get tasks done. Establish yours and don’t let anyone capitalize on that time, but you.
- Set boundaries
By setting up your schedule each day, you are setting priority to what demands your attention. As the day goes on, you have emails from people demanding answers to projects, new meeting requests popping up on your calendar, instant messaging interruptions, etc. Don’t let other people distract and dictate what you will accomplish. That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible, but by setting boundaries you can inform people when you can get to their request. This way you stay on top of your schedule and instead of feeling like you need to respond and do everything else right away.
- Limit distractions
If you work remotely, designate a dedicated workspace free from household chores or loud noises that could distract from work. If you’re in office, close your door or mute your instant messages. Set frequent planned times when you’ll check and respond to emails or slack messages. Limiting these distractions will help keep you focused and avoid unnecessary multitasking.
- Plan for tomorrow
At the end of each day, review your to-do list. Mark off any completed projects, then move urgent and important tasks to the next day. Don’t forget to eat the frog and look for ways to set yourself up for success. Planning ahead will help ease anxiety and keep you feeling in control.
- Get good sleep
Sleep should not be sacrificed. People think they can get more done if they sleep less, but this is not true. A sleep study reported, “Compared to those who regularly got 7 to 8 hours of sleep, those who reported getting 5 to 6 hours experienced 19 percent more productivity loss, and those who got less than 5 hours of sleep experienced 29 percent more productivity loss.” Sleep is important. Let your brain and body rest.
- Avoid multitasking
Multitasking might seem like we can get more things done, but ultimately this is not true. Dividing our brain power can actually make us operate more slowly and be less efficient with our time. When we’re distracted by too many tasks, it takes longer for us to get back on track than if we solely focused on one thing at a time.
- Take breaks
Burnout is real. Don’t work yourself into the ground. Removing yourself from your workspace for even 10 minutes a few times a day allows your brain to relax. Going for a light walk to stretch your legs will bring more oxygen into your brain and will improve heart function as well as improve your mental power and emotional outlook. When scheduling your day, incorporate breaks into your schedule. Then hold firm to your boundaries. Don’t sacrifice your mental and physical health.