Productivity in the workplace gives a boost to the entire office. Not only does it enhance the work environment, it also provides increased employees morale. However, with all the demands of a hectic workplace, finding ways to streamline your workload can prove challenging. Here are 5 proven practices for improving productivity at work and effective work patterns at the office.
At first glance, this may seem like a contradictory statement. You may think by multitasking you will get more done, but according to an article in the Small Business Chronicle, multitasking actually hinders your productivity in two ways:
1) You cannot fully concentrate on the task at hand because you are trying to juggle more than one thing. So, you end up not really getting anything done that well.
2) Multi-tasking stresses you out, which gets in the way of your concentration.
If you make exercise a regular part of your routine, you are going to be more productive on the job. Harvard Business Review states that people who exercise regularly have improved concentration, better memory, mental endurance, heightened creativity, and quicker learning of new material. These are all necessary attributes of an effective employee. Exercise is not only good for the body but for the mind, as well. You can even add exercise into your workday by doing some power walks on your breaks. The burst of energy you’ll gain will give you greater returns at the desk.
Take time to plan
You probably have a schedule of appointments, meetings, or deadlines when projects need to be done, but if you take time to plan out your day more completely, you’ll get much more accomplished. In fact, this article explains how planning the night before is guaranteed to dramatically increase your productivity. If you go to work and simply begin tackling the mountain of tasks before you, you may not make as much headway than if you have a prioritized plan. The reason for this is that you’ll need to spend time thinking about what to do first, second, and next. It can be overwhelming when you don’t have a clear plan of attack. To get the most done in your workday, prioritize your tasks and then list out which ones you can reasonably accomplish for that day.
Rule your email
Your inbox can start to get a bit unruly if you’re not proactive in controlling it. That means you’ll need to rule over it instead of letting it rule you. Some people tend to check their email whenever they hear one come in. Then there’s a tendency to reply to the email and you lose your whole train of thought on whatever project you were working on. To combat this time waster, here are a few tips:
- Turn off notifications for emails so that they don’t interrupt you.
- Check your emails on a schedule. Plan to check them a few times a day.
- When you take the time to check your emails, eliminate as many of them as you can by responding to those that just need a quick answer.
- For emails that require more thought and/or an attachment or link, plan a time and/or day (depending on how many of these kinds you typically get) to answer.
- Remove yourself from all mailing subscriptions that you don’t need. They will take up your time even if you are just deleting them right away.
Have a plan for distractions
Distractions are bound to happen even when we have the best intentions. It may be the chatty co-worker or racing thoughts. Maybe it’s something going on outside your large office window that is pulling your attention away from work. Whatever it is, finding a solution to overcome distractions will improve productivity. Here are a few tips to help you block out distractions.
- If you have a window, use blinds or curtains to block out distractions.
- Use earplugs for focus time if noise is a problem for you.
- Learn some nonverbal cues if you have a co-worker who tends to talk too much (or you may have to just “shut it down”).
- Keep your desk neat as that can be a distraction for many people.
- Put your phone out of sight (many workplaces don’t allow phone use during work hours anyway).
Productivity is about being proactive. If you don’t take control and implement a plan, chances are that distractions will soon overtake your workspace. However, with careful forethought, you can get the most productivity out of your time at work.