We all have highly motivated days contrasted with mornings where it’s difficult just to get out of bed.
Consistently working at a productive level is challenging and with only so many hours in a work day, sometimes it can feel like treading water.
That’s why when you’re looking to boost your productivity it’s important to work smarter, not harder.
Working smarter, not harder means getting the same results in less time. To do this you need to change your approach to how you work.
To change the way you approach work, and to achieve more in the workplace follow these 6 tips on boosting your productivity.
1. Focus on Priorities
Determine what the key priorities are for your day, week and month ahead and focus on completing those. A task list such as Wunderlist will help you to stay on track; you can assign due dates, priorities, reminders and share folders with coworkers.
Start your day by reviewing your task list, checking off simple tasks quickly and then reviewing how you’ll structure your day once your simple to complete tasks are out of the way.
Check back into your task list multiple times throughout the day to tick off completed tasks and to assess and plan what you’ll work on next.
When being assigned new tasks always ask ‘When do you need this by?’ and confirm you can complete it within the assigned time based on your task list. If you can’t, consider whether it, or one of your other tasks, can be delegated elsewhere to keep you on track with your deliverables.
2. Limit Distractions
Understand when you’re at your most productive and limit distractions during that time. For example, if writing is part of your job description, you may notice that you find it easier to write long-form copy in the morning, so clear your calendar during that time and work in a location where distractions are limited.
Some ways to limit distractions include booking out a meeting room, working remote, turning the phone to silent, or having a non-verbal code with co-workers (such as a ruler taped upright on your desk that indicates you would prefer not to be interrupted).
Turning your email off is another great way to limit distractions and by doing so you’re able to focus on the task at hand, working yourself into a productive rhythm. Still having problems limiting your distractions? There are some great apps available which limit distractions and help you to focus.
3. Step Away
Recognize that the brain needs the reward a break provides. If you work a creative role it stands to reason that you need a well of inspiration throughout the day.
Conversely, if you work in a role where math and formula form part of your many tasks then taking a break will help you remain focussed on the tasks at hand.
Some simple ways to step away and give your brain a break are grabbing a coffee, going for a walk, enjoying a few brief moments in the sunshine, reading an inspiring article, talking with a coworker as you grab a brain boosting snack, or as is often the case in our office… skateboarding.
4. Don’t Multitask, Instead Work in Parallel
Studies have shown that people are less productive when multitasking. We feel busy, but it’s an illusion.
We switch from task to task, not making any real progress.
Instead, work in parallel. Plan out the steps required to complete a task. For example a marketing strategy and a client report may be closely aligned.
Begin work on the marketing strategy, delegate it for review and then begin working on the client report using the information from the marketing strategy. This is a great way to keep a task or series of tasks moving towards completion and remaining productive (without multitasking) at the same time.
5. Learn How To Say No
‘No.’ It’s a simple word that many of us have trouble saying. However saying “no” shouldn’t be off-putting. It’s a way of effectively setting boundaries in business relationships.
It can help accelerate your productivity and business growth. Ways in which you can say no include; to meetings, to tasks that fall outside of your immediate priority and to employees.
Clearing your calendar of meetings that pull you off track or saying no to non-essential requests from coworkers is important in terms of productivity; concentrating on what’s important will allow you to remain focussed on goals and create room to scale your productivity.
When trying to become more productive you are your own biggest challenge; look at how you can support yourself and get out of your own way to increase your productivity.
Spot the patterns in your working habits and play up to the factors that allow you to work at maximum productivity. This means regular assessment of your patterns so as to put in place the type of structure you need to increase your productivity.
Forget working long hours. Instead review, assess and think about the ways you can work smarter, not harder to increase your productivity at work.