A great deal of books, articles and elaborations have already been written about productivity. Is there anything more to add? Yes, of course! We all know that a human being is not a machine, but we would probably like to be more effective and engaged in work because it indirectly brings financial benefits. This is why we have prepared a handful of the most important tips on how to act to boost productivity at work.
1. Set priorities
Do you know that feeling when you have no time for anything, you are working all the time but your to-do list is not getting shorter? The base for high productivity is prioritising tasks and sticking to it. Divide tasks into important and urgent ones and less important ones from the perspective of a day, week and month and from your superior’s perspective as well. Decide which tasks should be done without delays and which can wait. This will help you focus on the goal.
It is worth mentioning the Pareto principle stating that 20% of habits are responsible for 80% of results. This has its reflection in your work, too. The trick is to find these 20% of actions which are responsible for most of the results. If you do, you can focus only on them.
2. Start with the most demanding task
This is that one task which you will procrastinate on. You know that it will take you a lot of time and you think meanwhile you can catch up with other smaller matters or you just do not like to do it. If you force yourself to do the task, though, its completion will be a prize in and of itself. Leaving it for the end of the day will herald the entire day of awareness that the task is waiting for you or maybe for one of your co-workers you have to delegate it to, which is stressing and discouraging.
3. Group similar tasks
You have to make several phone calls? Do it at one time, one after another. You have to go to HR, print something etc.? Go to those places at one blow. You will save time, doing comparable tasks at one session.
4. Watch your deadlines
If the deadline is not imposed from above, set one yourself. Determine exactly how much time you need and the date when you plan to complete the task. Tasks without specified deadlines can stall for eternity. Try not to exceed the set deadline and draw conclusions if you fail. On the other hand, if the deadline is imposed beforehand, try to set yourself a tighter one. This will give you a safety buffer for any necessary adjustment or explanation of doubts with your contractor.
5. Take breaks
Even if you are in the midst of tasks and you postpone it for later, remember: do take a break. It is important to give your brain some rest. Stop for a moment, walk for a bit, stretch your body. 5-10 minute breaks every hour will help you to work with energy for the entire day. Give your eyes a break as well. It is recommended to close them or look at some distant point for 20 seconds every 20 minutes in front of the screen.
6. Start with the vision
The vision of the task execution created in the mind allows you to prepare for all of its stages. Often the route of carrying out the task changes: after all, there are many factors that we have no control over. But the very vision of finishing the task will motivate you to work on it. Depending on whether penalties or rewards work better for you, choose visualization with negative or positive results. By creating an image of success in your mind your somewhat program yourself to achieve it.
7. Avoid multitasking
Both doing many tasks at the same time and quick jumping between them is one of the things which negatively affect our productivity. There is a phenomenon known as the “saw-blade effect”: if you break away from the task you are performing even for a moment, you will need additional time in order to work at it efficiently again. Metaphorically speaking, when you work the best, you find ourselves on top of the cutting disc tooth and when you break away from the task you fall between those teeth and some time has to pass before you climb that top again. If you work at the computer, close programmes which you do not use anymore and tabs which distract you. It is better to focus on one thing. We wrote more on multitasking here.
8. Understand and let be understood
Most people do not listen with the intention to understand, but to reply. Before you propose a solution, give advice or start to act, make sure that you have understood the sense and perspective of the other person. Usually we focus on being understood. If you write messages or delegate instructions, do not do it laconically. Trying to figure out what is on your mind is waste of time for others. On the other hand, too verbose descriptions also are undesirable as well. Strike the balance between these two.
9. Tell others what do you want to do
Sharing your goals with others makes you feel more motivated to achieve them. A kind of positive pressure to act shows up. After all, we do not want to come off poorly before others, so we try even harder.
10. Do not avoid difficult topics
Sometimes it is difficult to express your opinion openly. It is avoided for fear of breakdown of good relationships. It happens that if certain topics are not picked up and certain problems indicated in time, they can accumulate and explode with redoubled strength. Do not linger with the talk.
11. Use technology
There are many solutions on the market, which help in increasing productivity. Make friends with the ones which benefit you most. Do not waste time working on inefficient equipment. Surround yourself with new solutions, test them.