You can make the most of time at work by instituting some small changes that will increase productivity. This can include tracking the time spent on certain tasks, setting deadlines, minimizing interruptions and scheduling breaks that allow for time to regroup.
With only a limited number of hours in a workday, figuring out how to increase productivity in the office is important. There are some minor changes that you can utilize in order to increase the amount of work that is getting done without having to extend the length of the workday. It doesn’t take a ton of planning to become more productive, you just have to be smart about how you’re spending your time.
Pay Attention to How Much Time You’re Spending on Certain Tasks
It’s likely that you have different tasks that you have to complete over the course of a day. If you’re spending too much time on one task, this can cause other work to be neglected. Jot down what you’re accomplishing each day and how much time it takes to get that work done. You can also write down what you need to get done by don’t have time to get to. See if you can delegate your time better so all of you work gets addressed.
Set Deadlines for Yourself
Regardless of whether your boss sets deadlines for you or not, you need to know how to set deadlines for yourself. These deadlines should also focus on the priorities of what needs to get done so you can adjust your time accordingly if a deadline is coming up soon, but the work hasn’t been completed yet.
Utilize a ‘Two-Minute Rule’ at Work
A two-minute rule at work means that you can take care of a problem immediately if it’s only going to take you two minutes or less. You’re already focused on that task, so getting it completed may not take very long at all. It would take more time to come back to it later on. You’re also completing work that would have to be added to your to-do list. You can save time with this method.
Reduce Meeting Overload
Meetings surely serve their purpose at work, but there will be times when you are better off turning them down. You can ask a person if they have five minutes to meet instead of having to sit through an hour-long meeting that doesn’t require your attention for that entire time frame. See if the conversation can be completed through an email to save even more time. You could easily spend an entire day in meetings getting nothing else done if you don’t reduce your meeting overload.
Utilize Standing Meetings
Instead of kicking back in a conference room with your coworkers, hold a standing meeting. There is evidence that standing meetings increase productivity thanks to decreased territoriality and keeping people more alert. It’s also really quick and convenient to grab everyone and have them gather in a centralized area to touch base.
Give Up on Multitasking
Focusing on multiple tasks at once isn’t as productive as people sometimes think. You’re better off focusing your attention on one task that you can get done promptly and accurately. Schedule your tasks one at a time, prioritizing what needs to get done first.
Utilize Your Commute Time to Get Work Done
Obviously, you shouldn’t open up your laptop while you’re driving in the car, but you can use the time you spend in your vehicle to get a head start on the workday. Schedule some meetings for your commute. Make sure you’re using a hands-free setup to safely take these calls and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
If you take public transportation to and from work, have a laptop with you that you can use to respond to emails or finish up a project. Maybe you have some quick paperwork to get done before the day is over. This is the perfect time to do so.
Perfection Isn’t Achievable
If you’re a perfectionist, you can lose a lot of productivity by focusing too much on one task. It’s unrealistic to think that everything you accomplish is going to be done perfectly. Accomplish something the best you can and move on from there. If there’s a problem, it can be fixed as needed.
Incorporate Exercise Breaks into Your Day
Exercise is beneficial to your health, but you can also increase your productivity levels at work by setting aside time during the workday to work out. Your lunch break is the perfect time to head to the gym or go for a walk outside. This down time allows your brain to reset, reenergize and get ready for the afternoon ahead.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Before you start the day, plan out what you need to get done. While there may be emergencies that need to get dealt with, don’t wait for problems to come up as a way to fill your day. Have a certain time of day that you use to respond to phone calls and emails, but these times shouldn’t be the bulk of your schedule.
If you’re constantly receiving notifications for emails and text messages, you can waste a lot of time stopping to see who they’re from. By the time you refocus on what you were originally doing, you’ve wasted a number of minutes that will all add up. If you need to be available for your kids or spouse in the case of an emergency, have separate alert set up so you know it’s them. If it’s not, use a set time of day to look at all of your notifications and respond if necessary.
Schedule Your Work in 90-Minute Intervals
Research has shown that work should be done in 90-minute intervals in order to maximize productivity. This is ample time to get a task done, but you won’t be exhausting yourself and spinning your wheels over something that is difficult to accomplish. Ninety-minute intervals is how you should be scheduling your duties.
Look at Something Nice
Having an aesthetically pleasing office to work in can boost your productivity levels. Have items at your workspace that motivate you. This can be plants, photos of your kids / family, fresh flowers, etc. If you need to glance up from your work for a moment to regroup and refocus, look at the items that you have chosen. You can also get up and walk over to a nearby window to spend a few minutes glancing outside.
Get Rid of Interruptions
The number of interruptions that you experience while you’re working may not be completely within your control but do your best to get into a quiet space where you can focus and be left alone. You may need to block off your calendar to prevent people from reaching out for a meeting. Shutting off your phone for now may be an option. Plan on checking your emails later on in the day when you’re done with what you’re working on.
Delegate Work to Other People
If you’re in the position to do so, delegate some of your work to other people in the company that can help you with some of what needs to get done. You can’t be expected to get everything done yourself. Talk to management about getting a team of people together to help you with a project if needed. This is a great opportunity to show off some of your leadership skills.
Equip Yourself with the Right Tools
You can’t work efficiently and productively if you aren’t equipped with the right tools. These tools can be anything from software to a good email client. Don’t be afraid to reach out to management to see if they can provide you with what you need. Your company may be willing to provide you with a business cell phone or even a company car if you do a lot of traveling.
Consider Your Workplace
The type of workplace that you’re working in will directly affect your productivity. While it may not be your job to clean or maintain the office you’re going to each day, you can understand a lot about your productivity based on these conditions. Make sure your own personal workspace is clean, organized and well-lit. Have items on hand that will keep you focused and energized. Water, snacks, pens, paper, etc. are just some of what you may need.
Remove Items from Your To-Do List
Attempt to cut down items off your to-do list. Some of these items may be quick to accomplish, while others need to be removed in order to meet your work requirements each week or month. It helps to take a look at what you need to do, estimate how long those things will take and then see when you can get things done to make the most of your time.
Break Up Your Day with Exercise
At some point in the middle of the day, physical activity will benefit your productivity levels. A lot of companies have an on-site gym that you can use during the day. There may even be a gym nearby that you could utilize during your lunch break. Exercising will get your blood flowing, perk you up and relieve some of the stress of the morning.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep at Night
You can’t burn the candles at both ends. Essentially, make sure that you have enough downtime worked into your day. The evenings should be set aside from relaxation and winding down from work. Make sure that you get to bed early enough that you’re getting at least eight solid hours of sleep before you have to get up in the morning. If you need some additional time falling asleep, take this into account.
Use the 2-Minute Rule to Increase Productivity
There will likely be times during the day when you have unexpected tasks come up. Use your discretion to decide if you should address them right away or worry about them later. If the task will take you two minutes or less to do, you may just want to get it out of the way right then and there. Otherwise, delegate the task to someone else or add it to your to-do list for later.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Plan your day each morning and prioritize what needs to get done. The most important items should be at the top of your list. Other items that don’t have as quick of a deadline can be put towards the bottom where they can be taken care of if you have time. You can also do them another day.
Become a Morning Person
The morning hours are a great time to get work done and be productive. If you can head into work before other people arrive, you’ll have the ability to focus when it’s quiet in the office.
Stand at Your Workspace
There have been a number of studies done regarding productivity, your health and standing at your workspace. Many offices have switched some of their cubicles to more ergonomic standing workspaces. This setup keeps you alert, improves your posture and can increase the amount of work that you get done.
Get Organized at Work
You can’t get anything done in a cluttered environment. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day tidying up your desk. Put away items that you’ve brought out from the drawers, file away papers and wipe down any messes that have occurred.
Spend Some Time Outside of the Office
Even if you can only find a few five-minute breaks in your day, step away from your desk and head outside (weather permitting). Take a quick walk around the building, breathe and let the sun hit your face. You’d be surprised how this helps you reset and helps your overall focus.
Practice Saying No
If you have too much on your plate already and somebody asks you to take something on, practice saying no to people. You’re only one person who can’t be expected to take on everything. Thank the person for the opportunity and get back to work on what you already have on your plate.
Reduce the Amount of Stress You’re Under
Be able to recognize when you’re starting to feel stressed so you can address the issue before your mental health starts to suffer. Know when it’s time to reduce your workload or stop working for the day. Stress isn’t good for your mind or your body.
What are Some Factors That Increase Productivity?
There are many different ways that you can increase productivity while you’re at work (or even in your personal life). This can include things like delegating your work to other coworkers that can help you, managing your time better, learning how to say no when you have too much going on and paying close attention to the type of workspace that you’re working in.
How You Can Increase Productivity at Work
You don’t have to make any major changes to your workday in order to become more productive. In fact, you can make some subtle changes that have a dramatic effect on how much you can accomplish. Try heading into work earlier in the morning when the office is quiet. This will give you a head start on some of your work before anyone else starts to distract you. Get to bed early the night before so you feel refreshed and energized first thing in the morning. Make sure that you work some time into your day to exercise and take some outdoor breaks.
Three Ways That You Can Increase Productivity at Work
The top three ways that you can increase your productivity at work includes:
- Scheduling your work more efficiently. Use all of your work hours to address the most important work that needs to be done, determining how much time it will take to get something done and choosing the best time of day to tackle that work.
- Make sure that you have the right tools necessary to get your job done. This can be anything from software on your computer to a good cell phone that allows you to organize and manage all of your contacts and work.
- Make sure that you’re taking breaks throughout the day, including a lunch break where you get some physical activity. You’ll actually decrease your productivity levels by working yourself too hard. By the end of the day, the quality of your work is going to suffer if you’re not taking time to breathe for a few moments now and then.