Recently, we released a blog post and infographic about increasing office productivity. It focused on how employers could foster a healthier and more productive work environment for employees.
Of course, there’s only so much that an employer can do.
A lot of responsibility for productivity and efficiency rests with the individual employees.
Your productivity is up to you folks! Frankly, it doesn’t matter how many hours you spend at the office. It matters what you do with them. The more productive you are, the more valuable you’ll be, and the more confident and accomplished you’ll feel.
So today, we’ll discuss 7 helpful tips for maximizing your time and being more productive at work.
1. Make Lists
It’s easy for simple tasks to clutter your day and mind, distracting you from the bigger, more important ones.
Creating lists will help you visualize the big picture and prioritize each individual “to-do.” Try Trello and Simpleology to help you keep your tasks organized.
Also, it can be helpful to break a large daunting task into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. This will help you from becoming overwhelmed, and will give you a better idea of how long a task might take to complete.
Besides, it feels very satisfying to cross something off a to-do list.
If making lists is the first step, surely prioritizing is the second. Most of us waste too much time getting smaller, easier tasks out of the way.
I know. I know. We just acknowledged how good it feels to cross an item off the list. But being productive is not about getting things done. It’s about getting the most important things done.
High value work comes first. If you’re not focusing on your biggest, most pressing projects, that too is wasting your time and talent.
3. Stop Multitasking
It might feel like you’re accomplishing a lot in a little amount of time. But that might not be the case.
Dividing up your focus between several tasks at once can hinder your ability to complete them efficiently and comprehensively. In fact, researchers have done studies showing that multitasking inhibits productivity and wastes time.
Get used to devoting 100% of your energy to the task at hand.
4. Leverage Productivity Tools/Apps
Productivity tools are everywhere today — for every industry and every task imaginable. That’s because automation saves you time, and helps you stay focused on the tasks that truly require your personal attention.
Start researching productivity tools for your daily tasks to free up time, streamline workflows, and foster faster, more efficient communication.
5. Give Yourself a Break
No one can stay at peak productivity for hours and hours on end. In fact, it’s suggested that 52 minutes of work, followed by a 17 minute of break is the ideal formula for productivity.
So give yourself a break! Plenty of them. And do something you are passionate about (ie. music or art over scrolling through Facebook) to maximize the benefit you get from your break.
Besides, sitting for long periods of time is not only hazardous to your health, but it can cause you to have low energy. Most office workers are at their desks for around 8 to 10 hours every day, so it’s important to get up and get some exercise.
Try scheduling set times throughout the day to get up and move, or to give your brain a mental break from work-related tasks.
6. Get Rid of Distractions
Social media can be a huge time waster. Constantly stopping what you’re doing to check your texts, Facebook, or Twitter is distracting. It makes it hard to focus on your tasks.
Cut distractions by turning off notifications for emails, social media, texts and voicemail. Apps and browser extensions can help.
Of course, there are all kinds of other distractions too. Think about what distracts you and take steps to remove them. Close your door, clean off your workspace, put on classical music or white noise.
7. Set Personal Deadlines
It’s easy to draw out open-ended projects beyond a reasonable timeframe. That’s why it’s important to set personal deadlines. Personal deadlines keep you accountable to yourself, and ensure you stay focused and productive.
Divide larger projects into subtasks and set deadlines for those. This will keep your projects moving and progressing.
Summing up Tips for Being More Productive at Work
Being busy does not equate to being productive. It’s up to each and every person to make sure they are spending their hours usefully, and being efficient with their time. To recap, here are 7 things that will help you stay productive and maximize your time usage:
Make lists for yourself, and break down projects into subtasks.
Prioritize to ensure you’re focusing on high-value work first.
Stay focused on one task – don’t multi-task!
Find tools that streamline your work, processes and communications.
Give your mind and body a rest with well-earned breaks.
Think about your distractions and take steps to eliminate them.
Impose personal deadlines to keep you accountable.