It’s not always easy to be productive at work. Productivity can be affected by an endless number of factors, including but not limited to: interruptions, messy workspaces, too much work, lethargy, and more. Low productivity will negatively impact your work performance and, in some cases, can keep you from earning raises, promotions or other workplace perks. Thankfully, low productivity can always be improved upon if you are willing to put in the effort. If you are ready to increase your productivity at work, look no further than these excellent 7 must-do tips that will help you improve workplace productivity with ease.
Tip #1: Get Your Workspace Well-Organized
One of the most common reasons for low productivity is a messy, unorganized workplace. Studies have shown that people are more productive when they work in an environment that is clean, neat and otherwise well-organized. This means no stacks of paper lying haphazardly on your desk or floor, no snack wrappers tossed behind your laptop or stuffed in your desk drawer, and no black holes-esque “junk cabinets” where you toss staplers, paper, and anything else that comes your way.
To get organized, everything in your work area should have a designated place. For instance, purchase a desktop paper organizer shelf so you can stack papers neatly on shelves rather than keep them in messy piles, or purchase drawer dividers to ensure everything in your drawers is organized and within easy reach.
Tip #2: Turn the Phone (And Notifications!) Off
It’s no secret that people are more hands-on with their phones than ever before; unfortunately, this high-frequency phone usage comes with a massive drop in productivity. Checking your phone every time a notification goes off can result in minutes and hours of lost time, as you find yourself checking “just one more thing” before getting back to work.
The best way to beat the phone distraction beast is to turn it off – or if you’d prefer, turn it on silent and keep it stashed away during your work hours. This means turning notifications to silent as well, so you don’t feel tempted to check every time you hear a ding. If you are worried about emergencies, make sure that your friends and family have your work number, so they can reach you via the office in case something is a true emergency.
You can also set yourself a specific time during your work when you can check your phone. For example, each day at 10 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM you have 15 minutes for your phone. You can send a text to your friend, check your social media, play the game, etc. But make sure that it’s just 15 minutes, not 50, and you only use your phone at those specific hours.
Tip #3: Don’t Multitask
Multitasking used to be considered a positive skill, but we know today that multitasking actually results in lowered productivity and lower quality of work overall. Multitasking ensures that you are never truly focused on a single task at hand, which means every task takes longer and is never done to the best of your abilities. It may be difficult to get into the habit of focusing on a single task, especially if you have a lot on your plate. But once you get into the groove of single-tasking, you will notice that you get more work done over time.
Tip #4: Create a “Two-Minute” List
If you have a lot of busywork at your job, then you know that those short busywork tasks can really add up over time. And once a number of busywork tasks have piled up, it becomes more overwhelming to do them, making it more likely that you push them off even further.
The best way to tackle those short tasks is to create a “two-minute” list. A Two-Minute List is a list of all the smaller tasks at your workplace that will take two minutes or less to complete. When you find yourself with a short work break – say, 20 minutes in between meeting with clients, then dedicate yourself completing as many of those “two-minute tasks” as possible. For best results, print out the tasks on paper or keep an open word program file with the list available. You will be surprised at how many of them you get done when all you have to do is glance at a list and take your pick.
Tip #5: Take Regular Exercise Breaks
It’s an unfortunate fact: most people are sitting throughout the majority of the work done. Studies have shown that the low mental and physical energy caused by a sedentary workday results in lowered work productivity; to say nothing of the health effects of being inactive most of the day. The best way to boost your energy and mindfulness during work is by scheduling in regular exercise breaks to take throughout your day.
These breaks can include something as simple as taking a brisk 5-minute walk around the office or walking down and up a few flights of stairs or heading down to the gym for a 30-minute workout during your lunch break. Whatever gets your body moving and your heart racing! After a while, you’ll find that your regular work exercise has you feeling peppier and more focused than ever.
Tip #6: Set Aside Times for Calls and Emails
Your workplace productivity requires you to be focused on the task at hand. Unfortunately, phone calls and emails are a nearly constant distraction, whether the emails and calls are from employees, managers, clients or a combination of the three. You can’t exactly ignore these emails and calls in the way that you can put off answering your Aunt Carol’s question about what you’re bringing to dinner on Sunday until after work. So, the next best thing is to set aside a specific time to check and then answer your workplace calls and emails. This will ensure that you don’t get distracted with constantly opening your email to answer “just one more” message, while also ensuring that you get back to everyone in a timely manner.
Tip #7: Create Your Own Deadlines
If your workplace gives you a deadline for a project, you get it done on time. Likewise, you can be more productive with your day-to-day work if you give yourself deadlines that must be met on time. These self-imposed deadlines are a great way to get both smaller tasks that can be completed within a single workday done, as well as a larger task that needs to be broken up over time. The most important factor in creating your own deadlines is that you motivate yourself to actually stick to them; make sure to treat your deadlines just as seriously as those handed down by managers and higher-ups!
These are the seven tips which will help you to increase your productivity at work. But in order to see any change, you need to put them into practice and add them to your work routine. Don’t try to do all seven in one day if this is something completely new for you. Give yourself time and use the small steps strategy – small and slow changes every day. You might try each tip for a week and decide if it works for you or not. Sometimes you might think that there is ‘no way’ it will help but give it a try. These tips sound easy because they are easy, but at the same time, they are very effective.
Now you know how to increase your productivity, so don’t wait and just do it.
Do you have any other ways to boost your productivity at work? If yes, please share it in the comment below.