Do you ever find yourself with an unfinished to-do list at the end of the workday? For many of us, being productive at work can be an ongoing struggle. Some days can be a constant barrage of meetings, distractions, or just a lack of motivation, causing you to fall behind.
If you’re looking to get more done in the same amount of time, then put down your to-do list and try our tips and tricks to stay focused and meet your deadlines. We’ll help you change your behavior, limit distractions, and take a different approach so you can work smarter and boost your productivity!
Change your behavior
Sometimes the key to unlocking productivity is to change our work habits.. Many of us approach our workday with habits we created years ago, without questioning how efficient they are. A small shift in our daily behavior can make a considerable impact over time. Here are some of the easiest ways to alter your behavior and increase productivity!
Rise and shine
Waking up earlier has multiple benefits; starting your day a few hours or even minutes early gives you time to focus on projects before emails start coming in, phones start ringing, and coworkers begin asking questions. Implementing a new morning routine can focus your mind and provide a winning start for the rest of your day.
Science shows that monotasking—focusing on one skill at a time— is better than multitasking when it comes to productivity. Juggling multiple tasks at once is actually inefficient because our brains take time to refocus when we go back and forth. Whether it’s a simple or complex task, focusing your attention on one item before moving to the next can lead to a big boost in productivity.
Make snap decisions
We often waste time mulling over decisions, trying to ensure we make the right one. Learning how to make faster decisions can positively affect your productivity. It’s okay to make the wrong decision every now and then, so don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. The more you learn to think on your feet, the better you’ll get at quick decision-making.
Just say “no”
This might be the simplest yet hardest habit to break. How many times have you agreed to help with a project, finish a task or attend a meeting, even though you didn’t want to? We often say “yes” because we don’t want to look rude or seem like we’re not a team player. However, when you say “yes” to others, you’re saying “no” to your own productivity. Protect your time and set boundaries so you can make the most of your work hours.
Get comfortable delegating
A quick way to increase productivity is to start delegating tasks. There’s no need for one person to do everything; free up your time by asking your team for help. Figure out which tasks you can offload and who is the right person for the job. Delegating allows you to clear your plate so you have more time to focus on your core tasks and priorities.
The only way to do more is to work smarter or to work more—we prefer working smarter! Time is your most precious asset at work; one of the smartest things you can do is to actively protect it. You can do more in your 9-5 by limiting external distractions.
Silence your phone
You may not be conscious of it, but phone buzzes and pings interrupt your concentration. Each time you pick up your phone to check your notifications, there’s a good chance you’ll be on it for much longer than you anticipated. Put your phone on silent, deactivate push notifications, and install a blocking software on your computer to limit access to news sites and social media.
Wearing headphones in an open workspace is a must! They help block out the noise of coworkers so you can focus on the task at hand. They can also be good conversation blockers, as general etiquette is not to bother someone who is working with headphones.
Have fewer meetings
It’s not just you: there ARE more meetings than ever these days. According to Harvard Business Review, meetings have increased in both length and frequency over the past 50 years. Being stuck in a meeting that could have been covered in an email takes away from your productive time. If you’re not the right person to attend or if the information isn’t relevant to you, gracefully decline to join. One of the best things you can do is proposing “no meeting days” at least one to two days a week to clear your calendar for more important tasks.
Work from home
For many, the office is full of distractions and interruptions such as noise, coffee breaks, water cooler chats, unproductive meetings and “cake in the break room.” Working from home gives you more control over your environment. Try it out and see the increase in focus and output!
Take a different approach
Successful people are strategic about how they tackle their workdays. We all have the same number of hours in the day, but some manage to do much more in that time than the average person—and that’s because of their approach. Here are some of our favorite methods to boost your productivity at work.
Pomodoro is a useful time management method that breaks your workday into 25-minute “sprints” and five-minute breaks. It’s simple and effective in helping you get things done.
There’s nothing like batching tasks to make you feel accomplished! Batching is simply grouping similar tasks together and setting aside time to get them done. You can batch emails, phone calls, meetings, running reports, one-on-ones, etc. Tackling similar tasks at once allows your mind to focus and maximize your efforts!
Eat the frog
Motivational speaker Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog!” offers a solution for getting more done that goes against the grain: start your day with your most difficult and important tasks before moving on to less time-consuming work. This helps avoid procrastination and provides structure and discipline. By tackling your big—perhaps unpleasant— task first thing in the morning, you’ll have more energy to knock out what you need to do first, and everything after that is a breeze.
Our last tip comes from entrepreneur Steve Olenski, who praises the two-minute rule as a time-saver and productivity booster! The two-minute rule makes the most of short spurts of time. Basically, if there is a task that can be done in under two minutes, do it now. Putting it off until later only takes up more of your time.
Are you ready to work smarter and increase productivity?
Between technological distractions, frequent meetings, and “cake in the break room,” being productive in the workplace can be challenging. While there are many obstacles to staying focused, it’s entirely possible to knock out your daily to-do list in the same amount of hours. Simple modifications like changing your behavior, limiting distractions, and taking a different approach to the workday can help you work smarter and get more done!