Here are some of our top tips on how to stay productive in the workplace.
Jumping right into something is not a great idea. Starting a job in a hurry can lead to more problems down the line. Planning for a task will give you or your team an overview of what needs to be done. You can ensure everyone has the right tools and resources to hand and better prioritize and allocate tasks.
Take time to plan for the next day or your next job so that you and your staff have a clear idea of what you are doing and when. This will help maximize productivity and ensure jobs are managed effectively.
When you know that there is a good thing waiting for you if you do your work well, you are more likely to be motivated. So think about rewards for yourself and rewards for your team. It could be as simple as buying the coffees or giving praise. It could be something more expensive such as a holiday, or it could be tied into work such as time off or a promotion. Anything that provides motivation is worth a try but be wary. Various studies have found that increases in pay rarely create lasting motivation.
Breaks are important if you want to improve productivity. Taking a few minutes away from complicated tasks can help people relax and re-energize. You could try walking around the office, but steer clear of distractions such as surfing the Internet or checking the latest status updates.
Improve your working space
The working area can affect productivity levels directly. Working in a dark area for prolonged periods of time can put a strain on your eyes and make it hard to concentrate. How comfortable is your working desk? Do you have to strain to reach things? Ensure your work desk is of good height to avoid backache or repetitive stress injuries.
Do not overwork yourself
You might have a lot of work to do in a day but do not overwork yourself. Being tired or overworked can lead to distractions, mistakes and poor quality work. If you cannot do the work required, then it is better to allocate to another day or another member of the team.
Multitasking has also been found to be less productive than working task by task in a sequential manner.
It’s worth always asking yourself if the task is worth as much time that’s being devoted to it. Time may be better used elsewhere or it might be better coming back to the task at a later date when other resources are available or when you are feeling refreshed.
Consider what tasks are important and which tasks will help you drive your business forward. It might seem like a good idea to spend an hour on Twitter but is it really making you more productive or would the time be better spent on other tasks? Spending a lot of time doing paperwork that you can easily do online is also worth thinking twice about.
Know when you’re most productive
Everybody experiences times when they feel more motivated and energized to do specific tasks. For some, it could be in the morning and for others, late at night. Work out when is best for you and ensure that is when you do the most important and serious tasks. This is also the best time to do the tasks that you have been postponing for a while.
If you’re managing a team, consider providing a flexible working environment so that each team member can work at the times that are best for them. Obviously this has to be within reason if you have client demands or other people relying on work being completed.
In this age of social media and always-on connections, phones are always buzzing with notifications from Facebook, emails and other apps. This can be very distracting in a place of work.
To ensure proper job management, try muting your phone in general or allocating fixed times in the day for responding to texts or emails. You might think you have to respond to that query straight away but people quickly learn. If they know you are not going to respond to emails till the afternoon then they will likely wait till then. If a message is important, at least they know they can call or visit you rather than sending an email and then getting frustrated when they don’t hear back.
Interact with colleagues
We spend so much of our waking time at work with our colleagues that it is really worth getting to know them better. If you understand how your team works, if you understand their drivers and motivations then this can lead to a more productive and harmonious working relationship. You all might enjoy working more. It makes work much easier and can lead to increased levels of job satisfaction.
Giving people strict deadlines might sound as if it is adding pressure but it can be a good strategy. It can help improve productivity as tasks are prioritized better without too much time being spent on each one. Deadlines don’t need to be stressful if you prepare well.
Working can be tiresome but it can also be empowering. Putting in place good working conditions and an environment conducive to productive work can lead to a lot of benefits to you, your team and your customers. If you follow some, or all of these tips, you can be more productive, less stressed and more relaxed.