It is everyone’s dream to work to their optimum capacity, but there are only 24hrs in a day and in those hours, we have to maximize our efficiency. There is always a plan at the beginning of the day to maximize our productivity at work. But it just becomes a hollow plan by the end of the day. While it may not be everybody’s cup of tea to find out ways to work smarter, here is a list of strategies that will help improve productivity at work.
While it may not happen that your working habits undergo a drastic change overnight, it is possible that gradual changes can add up to big changes in productivity. It is best to start with one-tip and follow it up before you can adopt next tip to your schedule.
Being accountable to someone at work or announcing your targets to others helps keep you stay on track in the course of your activities and in the long run.
It is best to keep in mind that we are humans and have a tendency for slip-ups. Hence, it is with this attitude you should approach productivity improvement tips. Whenever, there is a slip-up it is best to forgive yourself than to brood about it overtime which only adds up to unproductive time.
You have to understand that multi-tasking is an over-used term. Studies have very clearly indicated that our brains are not equipped to multi-task and focusing on one task alone will help us accomplish much more than trying to multi-task and accomplish more. It is also seem that while multi-tasking, the brain loses its ability to be creative.
The brain is like a muscle the more work we give it, the stronger the muscle is likely to become. By focusing on one single task helps you make those connections stronger.
Before you leave work each day, it is best to write down, 5-6 things that you want to accomplish the following day and in a separate page write down personal errands that you would like to accomplish. Keeping the list shorter helps it keep realistic. Have a strategy while you begin each day and stick to it as far as possible.
There is a theory and it states that our primal mind craves distraction especially when you are in the course of accomplishing your listed tasks. It so happens that we would turn our attention towards some easy unlisted task such as liking a picture on Facebook or spending more time jotting down the list can also be part of ‘structured procrastination’. So give yourself five-minutes or less to complete writing the list and stick to your list in hand as far as possible without getting distracted.
Piles of paper lying on your desk are a sign of unfinished tasks and unorganized work. Since you are lagging behind, the remedy is to delegate the tasks. By delegating you will be able to realize your productivity goals sooner than later.
If in case you are not very proficient at something, it is best to ask someone about how to use something more efficiently. This simple request can ensure you are improving your productivity.
Another distractor at the work place is e-mail. It is prudent that you embrace e-mail as an ally rather than making it your nemesis. You can manage your email better by dividing your email into two groups – first group requiring quick responses and those needing some degree of thought. You can acknowledge the receipt of the mail for the latter, but can answer the mail after some days. And make it a point to follow through. Another tactic could be to turn off your email notifications for some time, if there is a need to focus on a specific task for 20-30 minutes without distractions.
The next thing to do is to learn e-mail management from someone, who is more proficient at it. Learn about different labels, folder, filters, archives and unsubscribe lists etc will help you spend less time on emails.
Taking regular breaks at work may sound counter-productive but research has shown that your consistent level of performance can be maintained while taking short breaks during long tasks. And, taking no breaks decreases your level of performance.
Giving yourself a deadline helps in accomplishing the tasks quicker and lets you focus better on the task. For open ended tasks, try giving yourself a deadline and then stick to it. You may be surprised just how focused and productive you can be while watching the clock.
Any task that needs less than two minutes to accomplish must be accomplished quickly without a second thought in the mind. Completing the task right-away actually takes less time than having to get back at it later.
It is much common among entrepreneurs to get hung on attempting to perfect a task – the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Instead of wasting time chasing a mirage, it is realistic to complete the task to the best of your ability and move on. It is better to complete the task right away, since most times you can come back and improve on the task later.
Being pro-active and not reactive helps in accomplishing more than the other way around. By responding to emails and calls for the day, you will be able to put out the fires, but that is all you will be able to do during the day. It means you get dictated by the calls and emails at all times. Instead set aside time to respond to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like
These are some of the pointers towards increasing your productivity. It is not practical to adopt each one of the points into your life. Instead find a preference for some and you could incorporate these into your life. To improve your productivity further, you could hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) from GetFriday and assign your administrative tasks to your VA. It will help you accomplish more in your life and business. On the business side, you will spend more time in determining the macro view of your business, while in your life you will end up spending more time with your family.