Are you sat at your desk wondering what to do next? Have you been flitting from one task to another, but accomplishing nothing? Do you clock-watch and leave at the end of the day questioning what you have actually achieved in an 8 hour working period?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you may find that you are falling victim to lazy days at work if so, never fear – we are here to help you boost your productivity!
It can be hard to get things done with all the distractions in today’s Social Media laden, tech-driven world, however the following 20 tips will help you to accomplish more in less time, structure your days better and before you know it, you might even be able to spend less time at the desk!
- Before you start your working day, write down 3 main tasks you want to get done that day. Doing this will help you to keep your mind focused on the task in hand, and by the time the end of the day arrives, you will be able to determine how productive you were.
- No-one likes doing boring, mundane tasks, however getting them out the way first is always best. You’ll be more productive if you do the boring/mundane tasks first, leaving you to move quickly onto things you enjoy doing!
- Find your best time of the day – your most productive hour. If you plan your work schedule in such a way that lets you focus on the toughest tasks when you are at your sharpest, it means that if you find yourself feeling tired or yawning after lunch, you can use this time for easy tasks that don’t require loads of thought or concentration.
- Be efficient with your time and try not to constantly seek perfection. Trying to get everything ‘perfect’ can be very time consuming. It’s much better to get a task done to the point that is more than good enough and move onto the next task on your list. If you then have some time left over at the end of the day, you can go back to previously completed tasks and improve on them if needed.
- Don’t try and reinvent the wheel and don’t be ashamed to take the easy route. If you have someone in your office that is really good at doing something in particular then ask them to do the task. Don’t spend hours or days on something that someone else can do much more quickly.
- Switch off from Social Media and texting whilst working. These distractions will eat up your working hours without you even realising.
- Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking doesn’t work in every sense. Whilst you might think you can become a multitasking maestro and do multiple tasks at once, focusing on one task at a time will get things done quicker and you will probably do a better job of each task too.
- Close your email! Instead of keeping your email open all day and responding to emails as and when they come in, set aside 2 or 3 times a day to read and respond to all your emails, for example, morning, noon and early evening just before you finish for the day. The only exception to this tip is if you provide a support related service that requires regular access, such as technical or ticket support that is reliant on someone responding quickly.
- Adopt the ‘2 minute’ rule. If a task can be done in 2 minutes or less, just do it – don’t think about it or schedule the task to be done, just do it right away.
- Say no to meetings. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, video or conference call. In many instances meetings aren’t always necessary and technology allows us to be more time-efficient and come together for virtual meetings.
- Getting a good night’s sleep will make all the difference to your productivity. Whilst it can be tempting to work late into the night and complete tasks, your concentration level deteriorates and you may end up spending twice as long to complete a task compared to doing the same task during working hours when you are more alert, so be strict with yourself and only work on tasks during working hours.
- Take regular small breaks. If you find your eyes beginning to glaze over then stand up, walk around and stretch your legs, make a cup of tea or coffee. A 5-minute break can work wonders and you will feel rejuvenated and your concentration levels restored.
- Qualify your leads. A lot of time can be wasted during the initial stages of a customer enquiry by holding multiple meetings and having telephone calls and exchanges of emails, only to then be told after that they don’t have the budget or go cold on you. Only spend the time and send a proposal or email with costs if the lead is good. Don’t waste time on people fishing for information or have unrealistic expectations and don’t be afraid to ask for budgets and requirements and manage expectations from the get-go – it will save a lot of wasted time in the long-run.
- Set out your own deadlines and stick to them. Plan your daily, weekly and monthly tasks in order of importance and keep to your schedule.
- Write things down! Making notes and reminders is a great way to keep on-track and to keep your mind clear to concentrate on the task(s) in-hand, but don’t clutter your desk with loads of unnecessary notes and reminders – keep your notes organised and cross them off the list as you complete them.
- Don’t feel bad by saying ‘no’ to someone. Being upfront and honest with colleagues asking you to do tasks or clients being unrealistic with timescales you cannot handle will set the boundaries. If something can’t be done by 5pm just say no, or if you cannot meet a client deadline, politely let them know when you can complete the task.
- How about some exercise! Whether you do an early morning gym session, run, or take a brisk walk, exercise is a great way to boost your energy, productivity and mood.
- Work clutter-free. If your work space, office or desk is full of clutter it isn’t conducive to a productive working environment. Clear out those papers on your desk, throw out old coffee cups and keep a clean work space.
- Write a blog! This might sound like a strange way to boost your productivity, but writing blogs and articles is a great way to keep your brain productive/exercised during quieter periods and helps you to learn new things that are complimentary to what you do, or even what you enjoy as a hobby.
- Enjoy what you do. Trying to find a job that you find 100% enjoyable 100% of the time is nigh-on impossible (unless you work for yourself, but even then, there will be difficult days from time-to-time) however if you enjoy the job you do, or even change your career to find something new that really appeals to you, the more productive you are likely to be.