It’s the word on everyone’s lips – productivity. Now more than ever, companies seek productive employees who can work quickly and efficiently to optimize profits.
So no matter what business sector you work in, knowing how to be productive is vital to your job performance. Read on for the best productivity hacks for work.
How To Be Productive
Learning to be productive and improve your workflow, whether you work from home or commute to the office, is essential in today’s work environment. Productive employees are highly valued by managers. In addition, improving your productivity can open doors for bonuses, raises, and promotions.
Here are ways to increase your productivity and optimize your flow within the limited work hours in a day.
There are many forms of distractions in your work environment. Chatty co-workers, social media notifications, cluttered desks, and text messages are distracting when trying to get work done. It takes willpower to nix bad habits during work hours, for example, checking social media frequently throughout the day.
To stay focused, you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Put your phone on silent and put it somewhere you won’t be inclined to pick it up to check for the latest social media posts. Keep your work area free of clutter. Give your co-workers a heads up of impending deadlines you are trying to meet to reduce interruptions.
Think about ways you typically become distracted and find ways to eliminate them.
Make a List
When you have many things to do floating around in your head, try making a to-do list. Making a list of everything you need to accomplish is like doing a brain dump and will help free up space in your brain to focus on your priorities.
So if the massive list of to-dos floating around in your mind is in the way of getting things done, write them all down.
Determine Your Priorities
Prioritizing your work ensures you meet deadlines. Once you create a list of your to-dos, number them or rewrite your list and put them in order by due dates to determine what to work on first thing. Getting a jump start on those things that have impending deadlines will make you feel less stressed about your workload.
In addition, quickly doing the things that only take a few minutes first will help you feel a sense of accomplishment when you cross them off your list. Yet avoid multitasking. You may think working simultaneously on things is a good idea, but multitasking can lead to mistakes. Focusing on one thing at a time will help you avoid errors and work more efficiently.
Set Reasonable Goals
When given a hefty workload, appropriately setting your expectations of accomplishment is essential. Long lists of to-dos will feel daunting and tend to cause procrastination rather than motivation.
It’s also easy to overestimate or underestimate the time a task will take. Take a few minutes to review your task list to ensure it is manageable.
Thinking through your day’s work and establishing attainable goals will set you up for success.
Use Time Blocking
Time-blocking is a technique that can help maximize your productivity. For time-blocking, you set a designated amount of time during the day for one task. You can set time blocks in whatever length of time you feel each task on your to-do list needs.
For example, small items may only require a 15 or 30-minute block. However, a more complicated job may need a 60, 90, or 120-minute time block.
Blocking out your day can not only help you be more productive, but it also serves as a time-tracking method if you are required to report your daily work to your manager.
Employ the Pomodoro Technique
Good time management skills go hand in hand with productivity. It’s easy to get sidetracked with other menial tasks when you should be focusing on more important assignments. The Pomodoro technique is one time management technique that can help you stay focused and increase your work output.
The Pomodoro technique can help you keep on task. To practice this, when you work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. Repeat the cycle four times total, and then take a 15 or 30-minute break before beginning another cycle. Use a timer to track your work and break cycles to stay on task.
The theory behind this technique is that focusing acutely on a task for a short period will help you work more effectively. The five-minute break gives your brain a rest from the sharp focus and lets you pick up where you left off.
The goal of this method is to avoid any distractions while in the 25-minute work window. If a distraction occurs that you need to address, take your five-minute break afterward and start back on your original task again.
Take Short Breaks
Even if you don’t employ a particular time management technique, you should take short breaks throughout your workday to remain focused. For example, getting up from your desk or work area, or finding a place to sit for five minutes if your work involves standing and moving, will go far to give your brain or body a much-needed timeout.
Many work environments won’t allow short five-minute breaks throughout the day. If your employer doesn’t allow breaks, taking a minute or two while at your workstation to do deep breathing or light stretching can help you reset your mind and body to maintain focus and enhance your productivity.
“Work smarter, not harder” is the perfect motto regarding productivity. If you can delegate smaller, less critical tasks to other team members, doing so will help you focus on your most important work.
Unfortunately, delegating tasks can be challenging for people that tend to be perfectionists or feel they need to do everything themselves.
Perfectionism can be a barrier to improving productivity. But if someone with this personality trait can overcome it, assigning work to trusted colleagues will help you work smarter and improve your output.
Determine When You Are Most Productive
Even with excellent time management skills, good productivity at work can take time and effort. However, self-monitoring will help you determine what part of the day you are most productive.
Once you know the time of day your job performance is at its best, do your most important task at that time. For example, the first thing in the morning can be the optimal time for many people to prioritize a complicated task. So if you feel your best in the morning, don’t procrastinate with the more challenging jobs.
Watch Your Body Mechanics
When learning how to be productive, you may not expect body mechanics to play a role in your work results. However, paying attention to posture and body positioning while on the job can make or break your work day.
When you are hunched over a desk for long periods or have to turn your head in an awkward position to see a computer screen, you will have difficulty focusing on your work because of the pain developing in your back and neck as the day progresses.
Paying attention to ergonomics in your work environment is essential, not only for productivity but also for the health and wellness of your body. Notice how your body feels as the day goes on. If you feel tightness, tension, aches, or pains in your muscles or joints, assess your work environment and body positioning and make corrections so you can focus on your work and not on your ailments.
Pay Attention to Your Mindset
Your mindset is another factor that will affect your productivity. Fatigue, burnout, depression, anxiety, and many other mental conditions will get in the way of a productive day on the job.
Participating in self-care in the evenings and on weekends will help you feel happier and more energetic during the work day. In addition, getting enough sleep, at least 6-8 hours a night, will allow you to recharge mentally and physically. And if you think you are experiencing mental illness, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Becoming an efficient employee involves learning how to be productive and utilizing the strategies on the job. And knowing how to work more effectively can help you in more ways than one.
Being a productive employee will help you stand out from the crowd and can open up opportunities for job growth, including promotions and salary increases. You will feel more confident in yourself and your ability to meet impending deadlines.
However, working to increase your output isn’t solely done while you are on the job. The foundation for becoming a productive employee begins with taking care of yourself at home.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Lisa is a personal finance enthusiast and founder of AdaptYourDollars.com, where she writes about her knowledge of frugal living and money management. Her goal is to help women gain control of their money to live their best lives possible. She is also a healthcare professional and has an MBA. When she isn’t writing or at her day job helping people, she can be found cheering on her kids at their sporting events, baking bread, or running.