9 Secrets To Improving Work Productivity and Performance
Do you know a person who juggles multiple tasks regularly seemingly without effort, as if efficiency is his middle name? And if you ask him how he does it, he gives you a smirk, subtly telling you that he can’t believe you asked that question. Performance, the kind that matters, is not without effort. The fact that some people do it like they didn’t exert much effort is not something that “just happened.”
Work productivity is not something that just happens. A 2015 online survey by Harris Poll revealed the some of the reasons employees are not productiveinclude cell phones (52%) and the Internet (44%). There’s also office gossip, meetings, noisy coworkers, and coffee breaks. Sure, phones, the Internet, emails, and social media may be part of your job, but if you are using them as distractions then productivity naturally suffers.
Top performers at work do things differently. Be inspired and get that extra push at work with these secrets to improve productivity and performance.
Work on your focus
Productivity does not mean taking on multiple tasks at once and expecting to finish them all at once. That’s not productivity. You probably just want to impress people or just drive yourself crazy. From the moment you wake up, you have to be able to identify the most important task of the day. These are normally tasks that have the biggest impact on your goals. Invest your first few working hours finishing that task without distractions or interruptions.
Productive people are incredibly focused. You see, to be productive does not only mean doing the things you have to do but also knowing what things you can set aside so you can focus on very important ones. Have you ever heard of the Pareto principle? It is the 80-20 rule. This means 80% of the outcome is a result of only 20% of activities. This means successful people know what activities drive the best results. Setting your priorities is a key to staying focused.
Forget to-do lists
Sixty-one percent of professionals still subscribe to that age-old productivity tool of listing down things to do. But a LinkedIn survey showed that only 41% of to-do items are actually completed. So if you still have those colorful post-its for your daily to-do lists, scrap it. You don’t need to list down the things you need to accomplish, you need to schedule them.
One of the ways to improve productivity at work is keeping a schedule by the minute. Don’t look at the hours, look at the minutes. Put everything on a calendar and refer to that calendar while you’re identifying your priorities. There are 1,440 minutes every day. Having that perspective will keep you on your toes much better that 24 hours a day will.
Make it home on time
Workers who clock in two or three hours of overtime every day do not necessarily work harder than the others. You are expected to finish your tasks for the day during regular office hours. Can you not accomplish them in eight or nine hours that you need two hours extra?
Instead of spending your precious hours in the office (when you should not), go home. Make it home in time for dinner. Successful people know the value of their time and they know better than waste it on useless overtimes.
Write it down
Did an idea pop up on your commute to work? Did you realize something really eye-opening while reading a book? Write it down. Richard Branson, chairman and founder of Virgin Group, said he never goes anywhere without a notebook. Try doing the same. Free your mind and let a notebook keep those ideas for you. It is the same with goals. Write down your goals for the day or for a lifetime just to help you stay on track.
Impose touch-move rule
In the game of chess, once you touch a piece, you have to move it. Improve work productivity by implying the same rule on your job. If you read an email, answer it immediately instead of closing it and dealing with it later. If you happen to open the briefing for a meeting later in the afternoon, finish it. Stop pestering yourself with unaccomplished tasks throughout the day. If the tasks take no longer than 15 minutes to finish, deal with them right away. This will reduce stress in the long run.
You ask: how is that even possible? Can you actually use the words procrastinate and productive in one sentence? Yes, you can.
Procrastination is a habit common to creative people. It could be a result of stress or burnout. In short, it is a reality we all have to deal with. There are some days when we just feel like not doing anything. But that doesn’t mean that you let procrastination get the better of you.
If you don’t feel like working and you let 45 minutes pass just by staring at a wall, do not spend the next 30 minutes being angry at yourself. Leave your workspace and do something completely non-work related. Disengage from work and just let it go. You are not going to increase work productivity by forcing yourself. Do something else such as a few stretches, walk around, drink coffee or just observe people. But make sure that it is structured procrastination, which means you only allot yourself a few minutes before you actually get back to work.
Wake up on time
Highly successful people do not have an affair with the snooze button. They get up on time and follow a healthy morning routine. Get out of bed early, exercise a little, nurture your mind by reading or writing, and eat healthy. Do this consistently. This improves alertness and focus for the day ahead. This also sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re uninspired the moment you wake up, you are most likely going to stay that way until the day ends. Always try to have easy mornings.
Manage your energy
One way to improve your performance at work is by managing your energy properly. It’s not only time that you should manage, you should also make sure that you don’t waste energy. Call center agents may have the tendency to put out all their energy on a difficult client. While difficult people can get the better of us, it is best to be reminded not to spread ourselves too thin. This is the same principle with multitasking. Do not overwhelm yourself with things that need to be accomplished. Use your energy wisely.
Take a break
The overall stress perception of employees comes from the flawed analogy that there are so many things to do and so little time. Employees burn themselves out by thinking there’s just too many tasks to be completed. That’s true. That’s the essence of having a job. But tasks are not going away tomorrow. There are always more things to be done.
Take a break before you break down. It is not true that sleep is for the weak. It is not true that time is wasted by spending a weekend on the beach. You need to get away and forget about work in order to be more productive. Do not chain yourself behind a desk. You must never stop exploring and discovering because that’s the only way you can offer something new and be able to look at things from a different perspective.
Quit saying that there’s just not enough hours in a day. You can’t control it anyway. But what you can control is how to use them wisely so that the tasks are completed without draining you out. Consistently work on increasing your productivity and improving your performance by doing things differently.