Regardless of where you work, everyone wishes to have more hours in a day so they can do more in less time, but it is impossible. So, the next best thing you can do is to free up significant time by becoming more productive. In this digital age, it is quite difficult to have a distraction-free environment. The desire for more productivity has also stemmed a misconception that you need to do more, like checking tasks off your to-do list. In reality, it is much more than that. In fact, productive people are not focused on doing more work; rather they create a routine where they work smarter and do fewer things.
I am going to share few easy and helpful tips that we employ at our workplace to make you more productive
1) Early Morning Start
Studies show that waking up early gives your body and mind an extra boost to do more in less time. In fact, there is a saying “Early to bed and early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”
To top that off, spend 30 minutes to do some early morning exercise or walk which will reduce stress & fatigue, prepares you for the hardships of the day ahead and overall increase your energy levels which is a great start to a more productive day.
2) Assign suitable times to do tasks
It is proven by research that some tasks are better done at certain times and almost everyone has times of the day when they are more effective and times when they tend to drag. For example, tough and tedious tasks are done more efficiently in the morning when your mind is fresh. So, it’s smart to schedule the most critical task for your most effective time of the day.
3) Keep your goals SMART for each day
It is crucial to have very clear goals to achieve them on time. In the morning, decide what you want to accomplish that day, or even better if you decide it the night before. Once you have a sense of direction then you can spend all your energy to get those things done more effectively. You should have SMART goals for your day. SMART is a term used to describe goals and objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
4) Take advantage of your commute
Your commute time is a golden chance and an unexpected gift for you to think and plan your day. Instead of surfing the internet, playing Candy Crush or checking your social media, spend this time to set your goals for the day. If you have a complicated task to accomplish, may be brainstorm some ideas on the best way forward.
5) Get rid of waste
There is a term in Lean Management to get rid of waste. It is a golden principle when it comes to being more productive. It refers to two key points:
- If a task has no value or doesn’t need to be done, get rid of it altogether.
- Get the bad stuff out of the way. If there is an unpleasant task that is necessary then do it quickly and as early in the day as possible.
6) Adapt the practice of stand-up meetings
In Agile Development & Project Management, one of the most crucial and important practices is that of stand-up meetings. Fortunately, it can be adapted by any type of work environment. A stand-up meeting (or simply “stand-up”) is a meeting in which attendees typically participate while standing. The discomfort of standing for long periods is intended to keep the meetings short. You mainly focus on three key questions:
- What did I do yesterday that helped to achieve the goal?
- What will I do today to meet the objective?
- Do I see any impediment that prevents me do my job or if I need any help with that?
These stand-up meetings not only save precious time but also encourages positive team building and collaboration, reduces problems, improves team productivity and increase knowledge.
7) Take regular breaks
According to a research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, taking regular breaks to stretch or do small exercise actually increase your productivity.
Spending long hours working without breaks will put pressure on your brain as well as your body. You should schedule your tasks in a way to take breaks every 90 minutes to give yourself a moment to refresh by going for a walk, grabbing lunch or a snack, or just meditating. It will recharge your brain and you will be able to work more efficiently.
8) Work with deadlines
You will be surprised to know that sometimes stress is also helpful in being more productive. A manageable stress by self-imposed specific deadlines will really help to focus your time and energy to achieve your goal. If a task doesn’t feel necessary, there are higher chances that it will never get done.
9) Use Pareto Principle
This is a statistics principle that says that only 20% of the tasks that you perform will get you 80% of the benefits or results. So, you should focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most. In reality there are many tasks that are not enjoyable or feel tedious. And it will be a pleasant bonus to find how much you can achieve if you focus on the most critical tasks.
10) Schedule everything
It is crucial to schedule all your tasks so you have some sort of target, a deadline or a timer. Everyone tries to find the best way to schedule their day for maximum productivity, but there is no single method that works for everyone. Depending on your tasks and nature of work, you can employ one of these five methods to best schedule your day:
- Time blocking – It simply means planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks.
- Most Important Task (MIT) method – It is all about focusing on what’s essential.
- Pomodoro Technique – It is all about working in short, massively productive, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break.
- 90-minute Focus Technique – Where you take full advantage of the body energy peaks and troughs that occur throughout your day: Work 90 minutes and then rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Polyphasic Sleep Method – This is a somewhat bizarre scheduling method that only works for a few select people, but if it works for you, you’ll achieve uncommon amounts of productivity in a single day.
11) Be proactive
You should be more proactive to how to work all do and how you schedule your tasks. Allowing unplanned phone calls or emails to dictate you’re your daily activities will proceed is a sure way to decrease your productivity significantly.
Rather than waiting for changes to occur, develop a proactive routine to anticipate outcomes and try to take control of the situation by accomplishing your work in a well-thought and organized way will increase your productivity and help you become a more valuable team member.
12) Delegate Excess Work
Delegation is the process of learning to trust others to assist you in the completion of tasks and projects. People around you and your team are a valuable resource for you, use their time and talents wisely to get things done quickly. When done appropriately, delegation can result in increase productivity, better quality and improved focus.
13) Minimize interruptions
It might not be that apparent, but a slight distraction like a notification beep or a colleague popping up in your office, can change your work patter and reduce your focus and concentration. If possible, try to eliminate all distractions or forms of communication at the very least for the most difficult tasks. If needed, hand a sign that says “Do Not Disturb”, turn off your phone/mobile and don’t check your email during complex tasks.
There are different ways for everyone to be more productive based on their work environment. In any case, you should always try to work smarter not harder. If you have any more useful tips to be more productive, kindly share them in the comments.