Being a human being in the modern world is overwhelming. With so many distractions, it can be hard to make progress in our personal and professional lives. At any given time during a project, chances are that you will receive multiple IM notifications, phone calls, and text messages that can derail you from finishing tasks. No matter how much is going on around you though, you can improve your work performance and become more productive at work with these great tips.
It takes about 25 minutes to get back on track after being distracted. In an eight hour work day, the time lost in distractions is detrimental to productivity. Ward off productivity drain by putting your phone away and turning off notifications on your computer during periods of time when you’re working.
Make it a habit to only check your email during designated times of the day. Though it’s tempting to respond to emails immediately throughout the day, it can be time consuming and distracting, ultimately harming your performance.
Schedule Only Necessary Meetings
Let’s face it- we all have company meetings we dread to attend. They’re long, seemingly useless, and unproductive. When heading a meeting, make sure to only schedule them when, and if, they are absolutely necessary. Before booking that conference room, ask yourself how much time the meeting will really take, and if they’re issues that can be outlined in a simple email. If indeed a meeting is needed, try turning it into an informal and relaxed coffee break meeting for optimal collaboration and productivity.
Encourage Meaningful Interactions
Workplace communication methods have only improved with time – thank goodness we’re not forced to use pagers anymore! It has never been easier (and more effective) to have an authentic conversation with colleagues and clients.
Platforms like CloudApp eliminate the need to type out long responses and explanations. The easy-to-use app makes it simple to create screen recordings, screenshots, and GIF creations and upload them to the cloud to easily share them with coworkers and customers.
You can also say goodbye to stiff, time-consuming, formal email threads with Spike’s conversational email. With Spike, long, repetitive threads are turned into simple chat-like conversations, just like you’re used to seeing on your favorite messenger app. Spike’s Priority Inbox bundles messages from your most important contacts so you never have to search for that one email from Susan ever again.
You can also accelerate team collaboration by using Groups. Groups messenger is the quickest and easiest way to touch base with your team – whether internal or external – allowing you to collaborate with them in real-time as if you were face to face. All these features can be used directly from your mobile or desktop, so you can have meaningful group chats anytime, anywhere.
You may have heard the rocks, pebbles, and sand analogy for time-management. First, large rocks are placed in a jar, followed by pebbles, and lastly, sand. It all fits perfectly. However, if you try to put the sand and pebbles in first, there is no room at the end for the rocks. The large rocks represent our top priorities. If we start with more inconsequential tasks or distractions (the sand), there won’t be any room left for the important things.
Use Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule to effectively prioritize tasks. To implement this method, write down 25 things that you need to accomplish. Then, circle the five most important tasks and ignore every other item until those five are accomplished. This technique allows you to cut out the noise and focus on your true priorities. Hey, he’s a multi-billionaire. Its safe to say he knows a thing or two about being productive.
Keep Things Organized
Do you sometimes feel like you have a hundred tabs opened in your brain at once? Maddening isn’t it? In order to be productive and complete a task at hand, it’s important to not stress about other tasks. Use a project management software like Asana to keep to-do items neatly arranged and prioritize in a visible manner so your mind doesn’t race through the laundry list of things to be done every time you move on from a task.
If you can’t get coworkers to use a project management system, download a note-taking tool like Evernote. This platform allows you to keep track of ideas, to-do items, meeting notes, deadlines, and more so at least you know where you stand individually.
If a to-do item pops up in your head while you’re working on something else, simply record it in your system of choice and get back to work. Designate a specific time of day to go over all to-do items and prioritize them.
Declutter Your Desk
A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind. Take a few minutes to organize your workspace to give your mind the freedom to roam stress-free. Recycle old papers, create a filing system, and make a peaceful space that will allow you to get your work done. Put a reminder on your calendar to tidy up your desk once a week to keep up with appearances. .
Have you ever had issues staying awake at your desk? It’s difficult to be productive at work if you’re sluggish and tired. Exercise is essential and should be prioritized – we’ve all heard this about a million times, but that’s because it’s crucial for physical and mental well-being. You can boost your creativity and improve your mental health by exercising at least four times a week.
Even if you can’t make the time in your schedule for a full gym session, you can still get benefits from doing exercises at your desk, investing in a desk treadmill, or taking a walk outside during your lunch break. Make sure to take the stairs when possible and set aside time for little breaks to stand up from your desk and get moving. The extra energy will increase your productivity.
Make it Happen
Instead of simply writing down to-do tasks to complete at a later time, follow the 2-minute rule to be more productive at work. If a task can be completed in two minutes, just do it. If it will take more than a couple of minutes, try starting on the project for two minutes and then completing it when you have more bandwidth. Often the hardest part of a project is taking the initiative to getting started, so just get it over with!
If you’re tired of realizing it’s already 4 PM and you haven’t even started on some important tasks for the day, try using the Pomodoro technique to segment out your day into more manageable sections. Basically, you choose a task, do that task for 25 minutes, and then take a five minute break. After four 25-minute sections, take a 20 to 30 minute break instead. When you make your time more purposeful, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more productive you’ll be.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just entering your field, it is crucial to your success to improve your productivity habits at work. Try out some of the tips above to enhance your workflow and achieve your personal and professional goals.