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Maximizing Your Productivity At The Workplace

31 August 2023

Time is of essence, and there is only so much time during the day. Knowing this, there are only two ways to meet and exceed your targets: to put in more hours, or to work more productively.

It wouldn't be a surprise to anyone that most people, if not all, would prefer the latter.

Being productive isn't actually all that difficult, but it does involve having to strategize and be smarter about the way you work.

Simply doing your work isn't enough - you have to do your work in a way such that you get to do the most amount in the shortest possible time, without compromising on your mental or physical health or the quality of your work.

So how to go about maximizing productivity at the workplace? Let's dive into it.

How To Work Productively

Time Management

Most people think they're a lot better at managing their time than they actually are. You may think you're good at gauging how much time it takes you to complete a task, but only about 17 percent of people manage to do so accurately.

Time management is important because if the minutes just pass by without you getting anything substantial done, then you'd find you've been sitting at your desk for a lot longer than you thought, but only got a small amount of work done. Not only does this make your work day longer, it can also get frustrating.

Having time management tools like apps can help you see how much time you usually spend on daily tasks, so that you can plan your day accordingly and get your work done on time.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks sounds like the opposite of productivity, but taking well-timed breaks can be really good for your concentration. Studies show that you can only spend about 15 minutes at a time fully immersed into a task, which means that if you try to spend too much time doing the same thing, you wouldn't be able to concentrate properly, and will end up just wasting time.

Instead, taking short breaks while working on longer tasks can help by maintaining a good and constant performance level.

However, it's important to time these breaks! A good time is about 2 minutes after every 15 minutes of work, a 5 minute break after every half hour or a 10 minute break after every hour. You can also take small microbreaks between tasks.

Use these breaks wisely, rather than spending them scrolling through your social feeds. While the occasional scroll isn't bad, it's easy to get lost in it and lose track of time. Your breaks should be used to stretch a bit and clear your mind so that when you get back to your work, you're not fatigued, and can focus properly.

Self-Imposed Deadlines

Deadlines can be a great way for you to get your tasks done in time. Deadlines put you under some stress, and while stress is usually looked at negatively, it can also help if imposed in the right amount.

By giving yourself a deadline, you get to focus on the tasks that need to be done and help you meet a goal. This is particularly helpful for more open-ended tasks or projects that seem to drag on forever. Decide on a deadline for yourself, and stick to it. You'd be surprised at how well you work when you know you only have a limited amount of time!

However, self-imposed deadlines don't work for everyone. Knowing that you're the one who set that deadline for yourself can make you lazy anyway, because you know you can push it forward without any real consequences. In such situations, getting someone else to hold you accountable - like a friend or colleague - can help.

Two-minute Rule

The two-minute rule states that if something can be done in two minutes, do it immediately.

Most times, we tend to leave smaller tasks for later because we tell ourselves it won't take very long. As a result, these start to build up and what would originally have taken you only two minutes now takes you an hour because there are simply so many small tasks to be done. This can also get mentally exhausting.

Using the two-minute rule also helps you make the most of any small window of time you can find. Completing tasks, no matter how small, also makes you feel more productive since you can cross things off your mental to-do list.

Rewards & Consequences

While some of us can work pretty well just because we know we have to do it, others have more trouble concentrating when there's nothing to gain or lose.

This is not a bad thing - we all work differently, and what may work for one person will not necessarily work for someone else.

If you think you'd work better when there's a reward or consequence to be had, then you can set those for yourself! For example, you could hold off on your lunch break until you're done with the tasks you'd designated yourself for the first half of the day. Or you could treat yourself to a small break or a snack once you've completed something.

Having something to look forward to, or to avoid can be helpful in making you focus.

Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is considered to be the pinnacle of productivity, but it's actually the opposite. Attempting to do several tasks at once can make you have to constantly switch focus between tasks and can actually result in lost time.

Instead, focus on doing one task at a time, with full focus before moving on to the next one. Having your mind all over the place doesn't just result in time being wasted, it also results in the quality of your work being compromised.

Take Advantage of Your Commute

Commute and bonus time can actually be quite helpful! While you're not technically at work, you can get yourself in the right mindset by planning out what you have to do during the day and how you can be more productive.

If you take public transport, you can also take this time to relax a bit and clear your mind so that you can start your workday with a fresh approach and put in your best.

Give Up On Perfection

Nobody's perfect but most people tend to think they can be. You're never going to be perfect at what you do, so instead of wasting time trying to be perfect, focus on doing your best. As you recognize areas of improvement, you can do so and come closer to your goal.

However, completing a task at a satisfactory level of quality is better than not completing it at all because you were so busy chasing perfection.

Dedicate Phone Time

It's very easy to get distracted by email or text notifications, but this can be very distracting and ruin the flow of your work. When you're working, turn off your notifications and put your phone aside. No email is ever so urgent that you can't wait another hour or so to check it. For really urgent problems, phone calls will suffice.

Assign yourself ten or fifteen minutes after every couple of hours so you can check your messages and emails and respond to them, rather than get interrupted between your work every time a new one comes in.

Stand Often

Sitting for long stretches of time can get exhausting and boring. When you've been sitting for too long, your body can start to hurt because your muscles are not getting enough blood, they become stiff and tense and it becomes painful to move.

Putting aside all the problems that sitting can cause, it can also cause your productivity levels to go down as time passes. In fact, sitting for too long can even end up souring your mood because you get tired of it.

Instead, standing up often can help refresh your mind and help you get the blood flowing. Not only does it make you feel better, but you can stop thinking about how tired you are and instead focus on working.

But working while standing is not really an option for most workers, unless you invest in a standing desk.

FlexiSpot's Standard Standing Desk (E5) is one of the options when it comes to ergonomic desks to work with. This is a sit-stand height adjustable desk, which you can move up or down depending on your personal height requirements. The motor technology used in this desk makes it easy for you to adjust the height to whatever you need.

With a dual motor system, it is able to adjust height smoothly and safely. The motor is quiet, so you don't have to worry about making a lot of noise with adjustments as well. The desk frame is stable and doesn't wobble, even when moving it up or down. You can keep your items on the desk when you're adjusting height without worrying about anything falling over.

Productivity in the workplace does require some effort, but it's not impossible to achieve! When the day is over, you'll go home feeling a lot more accomplished and a lot less tired than you would if your day hadn't been spent productively.