Fluctuating workplace productivity has been a persisting issue for a number of years now, and 2019 seems to be continuing the trend.
Despite all the modern tools and software that are supposed to increase productivity, our attention spans seem to be worse and motivation lacking.
As a result, projects and companies suffer. In this article, we’re presenting five tips that are not only going to improve your productivity (or your employees’), but also lead your business into a new era.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Your day can easily become crammed with meetings, while a blog post is still waiting to be written, and you still haven’t replied to your clients’ emails.
What you want is to make a schedule and block together the tasks that need to be done that day. Try to follow a few simple steps:
- Schedule the more demanding tasks for the mid-morning, when you’re focused the most
- Take a 10-minute break for every 45 minutes of focused work
- Never work on a single task longer than two hours
- Leave the more tedious, menial tasks for the afternoon
Try out this method and start out with a simpler schedule. Having a timetable to rely on will make your day less hectic, while keeping you focused and energised.
Know When to Take Breaks
One important lesson to take away in 2019 is that overtime is counterproductive. Staying longer means you are either unqualified for that specific task, aren’t focused, or you have trouble with time management.
Contrary to popular belief, successful people know their limits. “Workaholism” has been glorified to the point where giving up your life for work is commendable.
However, for your company to truly thrive, and for you to reach success in good health and with no regrets, you must learn when to take a break.
Don’t check your email on weekends, or take calls after hours. Separate yourself from your work. Fretting over what needs to be done and what you haven’t done will impede with productivity and give way to anxiety.
Have Clearly Defined Goals
Resist the temptation to jump into a project without a constructed plan. That means defining your deadlines and setting goals that will give you a framework within which you can work.
To be truly productive, you can’t work on something without a set of goals or milestones, because that leaves you figuring everything out along the way. This can cause stress and a lack of clarity for the tasks that need to be done, and results in a mess of deadlines.
Take Some Weight Off Your Shoulders
If you’re in the lead position, learn how to delegate. Usually, a lack of productivity is a sign of being overburdened with too many tasks. If it is possible, look into hiring help from outside for responsibilities you simply can’t handle by yourself.
For example, instead of learning how to code and struggling for days on end, you can hire a programmer to spruce up your website. You can hire a lawyer to write up a contract or look over the existing company paperwork.
Or, to get an idea on how to handle company finances and taxes, you can find an expert who can ensure there are no slip-ups on your end.
Delegating tasks to trustworthy people will help ease some pressure off you. With some room to breathe, you’re more likely to feel productive and prepared for other tasks on your plate.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
We are productive the most when we are at our most motivated state. For a lot of us, motivation comes from a positive change, usually from a challenge. It is crucial to approach every task with an open mind and readiness to experiment a little.
The same can be said for motivating employees, if you are in the position of a team lead, or a CEO. Rewarding effort and experimentation will yield much better results than limiting and monitoring people.
As tempting as it is, don’t blacklist Facebook and YouTube at the office, as this kind of punishing behaviour only demoralises employees. It has a detrimental effect on the collective, as it leaves them even less excited for work and new projects.
Show people that you trust them, and reward practices you want to see more of, instead of punishing the ones you don’t want to see.
There are a lot of factors that affect office productivity. In this article, we’ve explored five ways in which you can improve yours, or your employees’, levels of motivation and productivity.
And unlike most common pieces of advice, we’ve chosen to point out those that deal with each individual’s capabilities, rather than specific tools or software. Introducing changes in your workflow, like breaking down a project into a timeline of goals, or limiting your engagement to work hours only, can boost productivity immensely.