How To Increase Your Productivity In The Workplace
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 8th edition defines productivity as the rate at which a worker, a company, or a country produces goods, and the amount produced, compared with how much time, work, and money is needed to produce them. In a simpler term, productivity is about achieving goals.
Employer/employee productivity is one of the vital areas to look at to enhance organizational success: knowing the key factors that improve productivity is important to ensure long-term performance.
As an employee, being productive in a workplace is one of the key factors that make your hiring manager or boss either increase your salary or promote you to another level. Productivity in the workplace is very paramount: the lack of it will lead to complacency.
Oftentimes, being productive at your workplace can be difficult. Employees and employers struggle with how to effectively manage and structure their time to enable them to be productive. Regardless of your profession and position in an organization, you need to know how to manage your time effectively to produce remarkable results.
The following tips will help you to increase your productivity in the workplace.
- Multitasking: Multitasking kills productivity. Earl K. Miller a neuroscience professor once noted that: multitasking is not humanly possible, it can be tempting to want to do almost everything at once but it is not advisable. Oftentimes, people think that they can carry out three or more activities at the same time to prove that they are hardworking. It’s not easy to juggle phone calls, presentations, and lunch at the same time. Aside from the fact that you won’t be able to effectively carry out each of the tasks, you may end up breaking down.
A study from the University of Sussex in the UK noted that multitasking may actually be physically harming your brain. Stop trying to do everything at once. Learn to focus on one task at a time. Increase your productivity at your workplace by attending to a task one after the other, not at the same time.
- Take breaks: The reason why you are not energetic as you should, maybe, as a result of not giving yourself the break that you deserve which is necessary to enable you to carry out your duties in your work efficiently and effectively. The absence of a break during work hours does not mean that you will get more work done. You can work for long hours and still achieve little or nothing.
Working long hours does not translate to getting the job done. You may get the job done but you may not like the result or output. To improve your productivity, you can take five minutes to walk around the office or spend a few minutes listening to a song that will calm your nerves and boost your productivity at the workplace.
Research has shown that taking regular breaks helps you to concentrate and boosts your mood.
- Set small goals: To be more productive at your workplace, you need to set small goals. It is easier to achieve small goals. Staring at your goals can be overwhelming: looking at a handful of enormous projects on your calendar or to-do list can be stressful and discouraging but if you break it down into smaller tasks, you will feel more relaxed and in control to carry out your tasks which will enhance your productivity at your workplace.
Breaking down your bigger tasks into smaller tasks will keep you on track as you go on with the day’s activities making the bigger tasks less scary and daunting.
It’s always fulfilling when you know that you have accomplished almost all the tasks on your to-do list and you can only get such fulfillment when you set small goals.
- Perform the biggest tasks first: You may decide to push aside big goals because you are not confident that you will accomplish them. Working on the bigger tasks helps you to perform the smaller task with ease. If you don’t work on the bigger tasks first, you may be too exhausted to work on them later which may lead to project carryover i.e carrying over the activity to the next day. For example, you have a presentation to prepare for, emails to send, calls to make, a meeting with a client, and a board meeting to attend. The first thing to do is to review the tasks and know the one that is of great importance and begin with it.
Understanding when and how you work best is an important factor in ensuring that your big projects are done on time. If you are more productive in the morning, it is important to tackle the big task first before executing the smaller tasks. This should be done immediately after arriving at your workplace.
- Create a to-do list: To-do lists are mandatory to increase productivity. After every workday, when you have rested and you are more relaxed and calm, bring out your journal or your notepad and write down your to-do list for the next day. This implies that you won’t waste your time navigating what you should do or no do when you get to the office.
Writing down your to-do list gets you organized, and helps you to stay focused while you finish the task at hand.
- Cut down your to-do list: Writing down your to-do list is not enough to increase your productivity at work, though it’s very important. When writing a to-do list, you may be tempted to write down items that may not be important. A very long to-do list can either make you anxious in the morning or frustrated in the evening if you were not able to accomplish what you wrote.
After writing down your to-do list, review what you have written, and check the tasks that can be achievable and the tasks that you may not be able to achieve in a day. You need to be certain that what you’ve penned down is achievable and not wishful thinking.
While reviewing the to-do list, ask yourself WHY you wrote what you wrote on your to-do list. If you can’t really answer the WHY, it’s advisable that you cancel out that task from your list to de-clutter your list and improve your productivity at work.
- Delegation: The best way to achieve your goals either as a boss or an employee is by delegation. You can not perform at your best when you want to execute or carry out the task of twenty persons. Your job will be easier and faster for you when you delegate or share responsibilities with your employee or co-worker.
- Kill your distractions: Distraction does not encourage productivity. Distraction varies from individual to individual. What may distract Mr. A might be different from what may distract Mr. B. For you to be productive, you need to shut down the noise and get the job done. Find your distraction and starve it. You can turn off your phone notifications if you need full concentration.
If you are addicted to social media, you want to find out who has commented or liked your post, it is important that you discipline yourself and stay away from it for some time to enable you to accomplish the task at hand on time. You can get back to it when you are through executing and accomplishing your task.
- Plan phone calls: Most times, phone calls can be distracting. To improve your productivity at your workplace, it’s important you switch off your phone unless you are expecting an important call. You can either put your phone on silent or airplane mode if you are about to work on a project that requires your full attention.
To improve your productivity and avoid unnecessary distractions, map out a structured time to make all your calls to curtail the number of persons who may be trying to call you. If you are working on a task or project that does not require your full attention, you can leave your phone on and respond to your incoming calls: the point is to know how to strike a balance.
- Set smart goals: It is not just enough to set goals. Set smart goals. The smart acronym stands for:
When setting your goals, make sure that it is specific, you can track the progress on the task, it is attainable, and realistic and there’s a deadline (time) attached for the execution and completion of the task.
- Exercise between works: Researchers have found out that physical activity enhances brain function. When you exercise, it improves your concentration, creativity, and alertness of the brain and mind which helps you to stay motivated and focused on the task at hand which will increase your productivity scorecard in your workplace.
- Be optimistic: The happier you are, the more productive you will become.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your performance at work. Lack of sleep reduces your concentration, logical reasoning, and working memory. If you want to stay productive throughout the whole day at work, make sure you catch a good night’s rest before you arrive at your workplace the next day.
- Organize your working space: It’s easier to focus on the task at hand in an organized place.
- Use technology: You can use technology as a tool to improve your productivity at work. Don’t be afraid to use the applications on your phone to get your productivity score higher. You can create schedules to let you know what you are expected to do and also set a reminder to remind you of the tasks that you have not executed.
- Take care of yourself: The healthier you are, the more productive you will become. Making exercise your routine and getting enough sleep are part of the things you need to do every day to be productive but you also need to:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Drink lots of water.
- Get rid of bad habits.
In summary, to be productive at your workplace, you need to invest in your welfare and well-being. Don’t be caught up with activities that you forget to rest. Always remember that you can only be productive when you are safe and healthy.