7 Tips to Boost Productivity at Work
Getting things done efficiently in the office is every employee’s dream, and moreover, it is the dream of every manager to see their subordinates complete work on time. Productivity at work, however, differs with variations in personality. You may frown on your colleague who packs up her bags sharp at five every evening, while you wonder what to order for dinner while you are staying back, but you may not realize that it is her effective way of managing things that allows her to leave on time. If this sounds a bit like you, read on to understand the best ways to boost your productivity in the office, so that you are not one of those who burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines, all the time.
1. Minimal Distractions Help You Focus Better
Being surrounded by colleagues who love to go on and on about their personal lives, while you are striving hard to meet a deadline, can make things much worse than you think. Try to minimize such distractions by cutting discussions short, and returning to your work. Be sure to catch up with them over breaks so that they do not consider you unsocial. If you are the one who cannot stop chatting, evaluate your needs for sharing your stories, and restrict them to breaks. Remember, there is a time and a place for everything, and if you limit the talk while at work, you may complete your tasks sooner than expected.
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2. Deadlines Can Make You Free Your Time Sooner
When considering a project deadline, it is not the hard deadline set by the project manager that you need to set your eyes on, it is the deadline you create for yourself. Plan out your tasks for a particular project, and set mini-deadlines for each of them, always ensuring the final deadline you set for yourself is a bit earlier than what was originally expected of you. It is not hard to get distracted when working on projects with longer turnaround times when a feeling creeps in that there is ample time to work on it, so it is okay to relax now. When you do this, however, a time comes towards the end when you end up fighting a battle against time to complete the project. Prevent this, and you can finish earlier, creating free time for yourself without worries.
3. Some ‘Me Time’ On Your Calendar Prevents Meetings from Impeding Your Work
Although meetings are an effective way to get things rolling at work, too many meetings in a day can upset your schedule. At the end of the day, you might feel like you could have accomplished a lot more but for the time spent in meetings. If you are in a role that requires you to be in meetings round the clock, every single day, it is advisable to block some time on your calendar, preferably at the beginning and the end of the day, allowing you to focus on your work. These are time slots designated for you, and no one would be allowed to send meeting invites during these hours.
4. To-Do Lists Help You Focus on The Priorities
Keeping a list of tasks handy on an everyday basis can save you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend on remembering what needs to be done. Prepare your to-do lists every single day, either by jotting down pointers in an old-school style notebook or by using notepads and sticky notes available as software applications. Mark things as done when complete, and move on swiftly to the next item on the list. This list helps maintain your focus even if you are distracted by a meeting or another activity in between.
5. Allotment of Time for Each Task Maintainsthe Flow of Work
You have created your to-do list, but how do you make sure you actually follow it? One easiest way is to set up a specific duration of time for each task on your list. You may able to do this in many ways, and one of them is to send calendar invites to yourself so that you get a reminder to complete a particular activity over a pre-defined slab of time.
6. Long Commute Times Are Sometimes A Boon
In many modern cities around the world, people often commute to work by public transport, or in some cases, a chauffeur-driven car. If you are one of those fortunate employees, ensure you use this time to prepare for the day ahead. You may review your to-do list for the day, check your emails (if remote connectivity is allowed), and maybe also get a few preliminary tasks done while on the road. It might look like a long journey, but in a way, you have been given the gift of time. However, please do not attempt to multitask if you are driving. Your life is way dearer than your job.
7. Regular Breaks Are as Important as Your Working Hours
It is not at all healthy, and much less productive, if you spend your entire day at your desk, without any breaks. Some people think they are getting more work done when they combine their lunch, tea, and breakfast times with work. The human brain is not a machine, and it needs timely breaks to feel refreshed and energized. Research shows that if you take a quick 5-minute break during an hour’s work, you get more tasks competed than if you had worked the hour at a stretch. Try to be disciplined about your breaks, though, and create a balance between work and leisure.
Balance is the Word
All of these above tips are likely to earn you the supervisor’s praise as long as you know how to strike a balance because working in an office does come with a lot of positives and negatives. An office is a place where you can make great friends in spite of being a star performer. Just look for those little moments through which you can socialize, even while working on your to-do list for the day. It is ultimately up to you to create and maintain a healthy work atmosphere for yourself that boosts your career while leaving you withsufficient time to engage with other activities.