Staying focused and productive at work can be difficult at times. Distractions, unrealistic deadlines, and dysfunctional working habits can take their toll on your ability to consistently function at a high level. The following tips can help you stay motivated and on task, helping you devise an approach to work productivity that enables you to get more done on a daily basis.
Optimize Time Spent on Each Task
Many tasks need to be worked on over multiple hours or days before they are completed. Even if a task can be completed within a day, or a few hours, simply working on the task until it’s finished may not be the most effective approach. The law of diminishing returns kicks in at some point as the time spent working on a task increases, making it more efficient to take a break or work on something else for a time. Monitor your progress on a task and prepare to stop working on the task when you notice that your ability to make progress has deteriorated markedly.
Collaborate with Colleagues
As the saying goes, no man (or woman) is an island. To perform at your best, it is often necessary to collaborate with others. To improve your productivity on a specific task or in general, make a habit of involving your coworkers on tasks where appropriate so you can benefit from their skills and expertise (and they can benefit from yours).
There is no doubt that stress can be a very bad thing, but there is also such a thing as good stress. For instance, the stress of meeting a deadline can provide the necessary impetus to get things done on time, as opposed to letting procrastination take over and completing them later than is optimal. To boost your work productivity, set your own deadlines to make sure that you are getting your work done as rapidly as possible.
Be proactive when it comes to dealing with work issues. If you anticipate running into difficulty on a project, for example, don’t wait for trouble to occur before responding. Instead, let your colleagues or upper management know what is going on so that you will have the necessary resources to handle the issue if it occurs. In large organizations especially, there can be a tendency to avoid dealing with “someone else’s problem” and just let events take their course. However, if you make an effort to deal proactively with issues of this type, as long as they fall somewhere near your area of responsibility, in the long run you are likely to prevent greater problems from developing and potentially earn yourself a reputation as a “problem solver.”
Say Goodbye to Notifications
It’s hard to stay productive when the phone is ringing, emails are coming in, and text messages are buzzing. Turn off nonessential notifications of this type and only check them at set times during the workday. Taking this step can provide a significant boost to productivity, given how tempting it can be to check a text or email message as soon as they come in.
Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings, meetings, meetings. It seems like you could spend your whole day in meetings if you let it happen. Don’t do it. Meetings, while undoubtedly necessary at times, are often simply time sinks that keep you from working productively. Make a policy of avoiding meetings unless they are absolutely necessary to getting the job done.
If you are in charge of a meeting, keep it focused and invite only those individuals whose presence is essential to the business at hand. To help keep the meeting on topic, make it as short as possible. Generally, no meetings over an hour should be scheduled unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
Today’s fast paced business world keeps participants on their toes as information from a variety of sources can be received and processed at lightning-fast speed. Human beings, on the other hand, still move at more or less the same pace. To work as productively as possible, avoid getting caught up in the multitasking craze and focus on completing one task at a time. Studies have shown that fragmented attention can reduce the efficacy with which a task gets done. So, if you have to do 5 tasks during the day, for example, try doing them one by one rather than 2 or three at a time.
Whether you commute by car, bus, or train you likely have some free time you can put to good use, unless your commute is extremely short. Listening to business-related eBooks if you are driving or answering emails if you are on a train or a bus with Wifi, can be a good way of putting this otherwise dead time to use.
Get Some Exercise
While it’s true that taking time to exercise reduces the time you can work during the day, doing so is nevertheless beneficial from a number of standpoints. Not only is it likely to improve your health in general, studies have shown that people who are in better health have the ability to concentrate longer than those who aren’t, and to do higher quality work. In the long run, exercising on a regular basis is a valuable factor in improving your productivity.
Even if you are not checking personal emails or texts while you work, any number of distractions can arise to deflect your attention from the task at hand. A coworker might stop by to chat, you might notice a bird perched on the window outside your office, or an internet headline might cause you to pause your work in order to check it out.
Unless you have a clear plan to avoid them, distractions can easily take up a significant amount of time over the course of the day. As a result, you should develop a strategy that allows you to avoid distractions if at all possible. For instance, if you are working on a critical task you might request access to a conference room where nobody is likely to bother you. Besides closing the office door, removing any unnecessary electronic devices from your immediate presence can also be helpful. Once the task is done, you can retrieve them and catch up with any messages you missed while working on the task.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps you improve your work productivity. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…