Productivity and How to Do Good At It

May 19, 2021

woman working

Imagine ending each workday with a happy sigh, recognizing that you had been so productive that you had completed everything on your to-do list. And feeling that you were at the top of your innovative game, completing your assignments quickly and effectively. Wouldn't it be great to breeze through your to-do list every day with minimal effort?

If it's work-related duties or personal obligations, it's normal to feel like something keeps piling up when you're barely making a dent in checking stuff off. But that's because you haven't focused on increasing your productivity yet. Most of us aren't as effective as we'd like to be for two reasons: we have destructive behaviors that interfere with our job success, and we're reactive rather than constructive, putting out fires rather than making strides toward our goals. 

With a few techniques, you'll be able to not only get things done but also do them quicker and more effectively, giving you more flexibility to do the things you want to do. Before you begin your next workday, go through these methods for increasing the amount of work you fulfilled in a much shorter period.

MAKE A TO-DO LIST THE NIGHT BEFORE

Making a to-do list each night means you won't waste time searching for your job at the start of the workday. You might even try going through your list with others. To-do lists are handy management tools. They help you get organized, concentrate, and reward you with feelings of accomplishment when you can check off tasks you've completed. Through going through your goals and creating a solid plan for yourself, you'll wake up with a purpose and be free to maneuver through your list—and even finish your day early. 

GET INTO WORK EARLY

As much as it hurts to wake up early in the morning and pull yourself into the office early, being at your desk will help you get into work mode and move straight into your tasks without distractions. If you finish your work early, you should be able to take advantage of some free time.

FOCUS ON MORNINGS

Start your day off right by eating a good breakfast, reading the papers, meditating, or exercising. This will ensure that you have enough fuel for a productive day. 

On that note, although working later in the day is full of distractions—whether from emails or phone calls—early mornings are essentially a prime time for productivity. You could finish the day by noon if you complete any significant tasks before anyone else begins working. If you're a night person, this is not going to work for you. Do the most difficult tasks during your peak productivity period, whenever that may be.

WORK ON THE HARDEST FIRST

By completing your complex tasks early in the day, you will be able to attack them with maximum brain capacity instead of later in the day when you are already drained. By the time you finish and move on, you will perform the smaller tasks with less effort. 

CHECK YOUR LIST, DO TASKS, CROSS OFF

Taking a fixed amount of time per day to focus on particular tasks will not only provide you with a sense of fulfillment when you're done, but it will also keep you from wasting any more time completing them later on. You'll feel good when you finish each of them and mark them off the list, no matter how many there are. Increased output requires concentration, and being focused entails reducing the choices.

ASK NOT TO BE DISTURBED AND ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS

Mark yourself as busy in your team chat, put on some headphones, and become your do-not-disturb sign when you want to concentrate and be efficient. To be efficient, you must silence the noise and drive them away. If you need complete attention, turn off your email and phone alerts. You'll get much more done and be able to work less hard later in the day if you don't waste 10 minutes here and there talking with coworkers.

RECONSIDER MULTITASKING

According to research, the mental blocks that occur when people move tasks can reduce productivity by 40%. Another study found that multitasking could be physically harmful to your brain. The study discovered that people who were addicted to using multiple devices at the same time had lower gray-matter density in the brain, which is related to emotional regulation and decision-making, compassion, and the brain's reaction to gifts. You can improve your productivity by focusing solely on one job at a time.

DELEGATE

The most common complaint is that assigning work adds to the manager's or leader's workload by supervising someone else's work on top of their own. However, if you delegate a job to another and then closely watch them as they complete it, you micromanage rather than delegate. When you delegate effectively, you have more time to devote to your job. The trick is to delegate the proper role to the right person—someone you know has the expertise to do the job and whom you can rely on to complete it—and then leave them to it. It takes some practice, but you'll be shocked at how effective you can be when you let go.

TAKE BREAKS

When you have a lot to do, it's easy to keep working for hours before you get all done—but sometimes that backfires, and the quality of your work suffers as a result. Instead of being at high speed all the time, take breaks to allow your brain to relax. 

Physical exercise has been shown in studies to improve brain function. Although knowing that increased brainpower will result in better focus, more imagination, and quicker learning, you may be surprised to discover that exercise often improves the brain's affective abilities, which means you'll find it easier to get along with others. You may do simple active tasks like going for a walk, taking the stairs to go to the cafeteria, or even use the company gym during lunch. If you would rather be able to do physical activities in your workspace, ergonomic furniture like standing desksstanding desk converters, or desk bikes will surely do. FlexiSpot is an excellent source for these great and beneficial workspace solutions.

SAY, "NO"

As appealing as it would be to say yes to anything, it can easily stifle your productivity. Sure, a coffee break with a coworker will be ideal, and nothing beats going out for an extended lunch. However, some days it is best to say no and concentrate on what needs to be done so that you can take a mental break later. You'll also feel less tired as soon as you do.

TAKE SOME QUIET TIME

You could spend hours working in a noisy environment and complete the same tasks in half the time simply by sitting in a quiet zone. The next time you need to try to slow down and finish something, go somewhere where you can be alone—you'll finish so quickly that you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy work-free. Taking a bit of alone time is always one of the best ways to fight stress.

If most of these tips are new to you and you would want to take a chance on making changes for the better, gradually, they should be achievable enough until they become habits. Of course, let's add that we should not forget to take care of ourselves, whether by staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and giving up bad practices, whether it is smoking or dealing with toxic people. The healthier, the more active you will be. And the more efficient you are at work, the more time you will have to spend doing whatever you want.

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