The more productive you are, the more valuable you are to your business. Productivity is strongly linked to workplace success and happiness. If you struggle with productivity, these tips can help you get on track.
Make Better Use of Your Commute
Public transport users have time at their disposal in the mornings and evenings. While sharing social media memes and levelling up on your favourite games is tempting, it’s not the best way to make use of your commuting time. Instead, use your commute to get a jump on your current work day or set yourself up for the next one.
Mobile technology makes taking care of tedious tasks while you’re on the move so easy. Your commute provides time for catching up on emails, brainstorming ideas for upcoming projects, and creating a to-do list. Do these small jobs while you’re on the move, and you can tackle bigger tasks when you’re in the office.
Start Your Day with Small Wins
Conventional wisdom tells us to tackle our most daunting tasks first, rather than procrastinating. But what if putting those intimidating tasks off wasn’t procrastinating at all, but a master strategy for increasing productivity at work? Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School suggests this might be the case.
She studied thousands of employee diary entries and found tracking small workplace wins enhances motivation. So if you take on a few simple tasks to ease into your workday, you should be more driven to launch into the bigger, scarier stuff. That’s because your small wins give you a dopamine hit which boosts your energy and motivation levels; that’s the ideal recipe to increase work productivity.
The best way to track your wins is a matter of personal preference. It could be as complicated as a spreadsheet or as simple as a to-do list you can cross tasks from. Simply acknowledging your wins in some form is the important part.
Stick to One Task at a Time
We live in a society that celebrates multitasking. However, psychologists have found trying to complete several tasks at once is bad for productivity. They note that the brain simply isn’t made for multitasking. It takes considerable time and effort to shift your focus from one task to the next and to process the requirements of each task. You’ll increase work productivity if you direct all your focus into a single task and complete it before moving on to the next job.
Get a Virtual Receptionist
Fielding customer queries is a necessary part of many jobs, but it can diminish productivity. Not only do those phone calls take you away from the task at hand, they steal your focus and interrupt your flow, making it harder for you to get back into the original job. When phone calls become an intrusion, you’ll also struggle to deliver the superior service your customers deserve.
If customer phone calls are becoming a nuisance for you, a virtual receptionist could be the answer. A virtual receptionist is a remote telephone operator who’ll field customer calls in your business’s name. Your virtual receptionist will work offsite but provide such a seamless customer experience your callers will never know. With a virtual receptionist sharing some of your workload, you can work more productively on other jobs. Research virtual receptionist services carefully to make sure you’ve found one with features that suit your business model and customer needs.
Use Productivity Mobile Apps
Mobile apps can give us a helping hand in so many aspects of our lives, including improving our productivity. Browse the app marketplace and you’ll find many apps that can help you understand your working habits and stay on track. RescueTime teaches you which websites and apps are your biggest timewasters and your ideal conditions for productivity and procrastination. Way of Life helps you break your time-wasting habits and adopt new, more productive ways of working. Toggl Time Tracker makes sure your jobs don’t drag on and ensures you’ll never miss a deadline.
Set the apps up and get to know how they work, but don’t let them consume your time. When used correctly they can be a help rather than a hinderance, but to work best they’ll require a commitment from you.
Stop Striving for Perfection
You should always endeavour to do your best at work. However, striving for perfection can seriously harm your productivity. In truth, very few things are perfect. Trying to be perfect takes time and effort you can’t waste.
Rather than aiming for perfection, try to complete each task to the best of your ability. Once something is done to that standard, draw a line under it and move on to the next job.
Knowing when to move on is essential for working productively. You may find it useful to assess how long you think a task should take before you start, then time yourself to make sure you’re not labouring over jobs.
Resist the Urge to Work Longer Hours
When you have a backlog of work, it can be tempting to up your hours to get through it all. However, this can cause your productivity to take a serious nose dive. According to Stanford University’s John Pencavel, we all have a point where our productivity levels start to decrease. Once we hit that threshold, the longer we work, the less productive we’ll be. You’re likely to find you can be more productive in a single energized hour than one tired afternoon.
You can stave off that steady decline by taking regular breaks throughout your work day. Stepping away from your desk for a snack or a walk can do wonders for keeping productivity steady. Resist the urge to work a long day and instead use your evenings to recharge your batteries so you’re ready and raring to go the next day.
Being productive at work is a habit worth cultivating. Do your best to ignore distractions and adopt more efficient working habits to boost your productivity and become a better professional.