Being productive is one of the easiest things to do but it requires some work to be consistent. There are several ways to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace, we’ll get to that shortly.
Have you ever finished your workday knowing you weren’t at your best? You somehow couldn’t complete all the tasks on your list even though you weren’t really busy?
You start the day brightly with a goal and to-do list but end up not ticking everything off.
Being productive at work can be difficult, you know that you have to manage your time effectively to achieve productivity but you don’t even know where to start. Sometimes you are not just motivated really.
But improving productivity in the workplace is important as it can help increase competition in the workplace.
As a business strategist, I have worked with several professionals and almost everyone seems to find it difficult to manage their time efficiently.
By making little adjustments, you can improve your productivity. In this article, we have outlined some simple ways to be more productive at work or home.
Multitasking is most times counterproductive.
While doing multiple tasks at once may seem to save time, focusing on one task at a time actually help you to be more productive. You spend more time transitioning from one task to the other and this reduces the quality of your work and sometimes leads to multiple incomplete tasks.
According to Earl K. Miller, a neuroscience professor at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “multitasking is not humanly possible”.
Concentrate on one task per time and you’ll end up completing it faster. Create a priority list for your tasks in order of importance, this will motivate you to complete one task before starting the next.
Avoiding multitasking is one of the factors that can improve your productivity.
Give yourself regular breaks
You sometimes get so engrossed with work that you forget to take breaks, this can affect your productivity and lead to burnout or fatigue. Always plan out regular short breaks in between work.
Take some minutes to walk around the office or simply to eat lunch. These regular breaks help you clear your mind, improves concentration and keeps you refreshed for the next tasks.
When I work during the weekend, I take what I call a “creativity nap” in-between projects. I have come to realize that this 10-15 minutes nap helps keep me refreshed during the day.
Taking exercise breaks can also get your blood pumping and help clear your head and help you focus.
Set daily goals
Instead of focusing on the big goals, which can be overwhelming, break them down into smaller goals. These smaller goals can be used as milestones to track your progress. It also makes you feel more in control of the tasks and boost your productivity.
To stay in control of your tasks, you have to know how much time you are spending on tasks. The problem is that it is almost impossible to consistently know much time you spend on each task. In fact, only 17% of people can accurately estimate how much time they spend.
Start with your biggest tasks
Starting with your biggest tasks before other assignments make you more confident to accomplish everything you set out to do.
Sometimes, when you push aside the big goals, by the time you are done with smaller tasks, you’re too tired from your day to give it the attention needed.
Consider planning your to-do list starting with big tasks, this makes you dedicate your time in the morning when you’re most energized and productive to the most important things.
Always use the two-minute rule
The two-minute rule simply states that “if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately.”
Instead of adding up little tasks to your to-do list, ensure you do them right away. i.e responding to an email, filing a document, sending a proposal etc.
These small yet important tasks are part of the overall goal, doing them immediately allows you to focus on the big tasks and improves your overall productivity.
Applying the two-minute rule along with Parkinson’s law is one of the ways to increase productivity in a business.
Delegation allows you to focus on more important work while splitting tasks between your team members. When you delegate properly, assigning each task to the right person (the person best skilled for the job), gives you more time to focus on major assignments that no one else can complete.
Delegating tasks is a skill set that you have to work on overtime. According to John Hunt, the late London Business School professor, “only 30% of managers believe they can delegate well.“
To be productive, you need to eliminate noise and distractions. You can use headphones to avoid office informal interaction and chatter.
Consider turning off your phone to avoid unnecessary calls that can distract your work. Better still, put it on silent so you don’t miss important calls and updates. Personally, the “Focus” feature on my iPhone is my best friend to avoid distraction.
Social media can also be a major distraction, turn off notifications.
To conquer procrastination, find an accountability partner, someone you report to regularly on your work progress. This must be someone you respect and can help you stay on track. You can agree on a reward to motivate you when you complete a project and punishment if you fail to meet set deadlines.
There are numerous strategies you can use to improve your productivity, the tips we have listed can help you become productive. What matters the most is your consistency in implementing these strategies. Continue to learn and improve your skills and your productivity will improve over time.