How to Improve Your Productivity at Work

Performance Management How to Improve Your Productivity at Work

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Businesswoman holding a set of documents speaking on the phone.

In a survey done by CareerBuilder, over 2000 hiring and HR managers indicated that technology was the #1 distraction throughout the workday. Thirty-one percent claimed that email was at the top of their distraction list, while 44% blamed the internet. By far the most distracting offender for productivity? The ringing and dinging of cell phones kept nearly 52% of workers from being productive.

Surely distractions are unavoidable at times, but how can we stay on track and ensure that they don’t keep us from meeting our goals at work?

Identify the Problem

Tracking time spent on various activities, like emails, meetings, and office chit-chat is an important first step in identifying what you spend most of your time doing. When you keep track of where your time is spent and on what you spend it on, you are better equipped to identify if those activities are in line with or helping you in meeting your objectives, thus improving your productivity.

Keep a journal or notes throughout the day to identify where your time is spent. Once you have a true measure of these activities will you be better able to hold yourself accountable when you veer off track.

Set Priorities

You don’t have to micromanage yourself down to the minute, but keeping a chart of your overall objectives and goals will help you identify how much time to allocate to certain activities that are geared toward helping you meet those goals.

Make a list of the most urgent or important tasks that need to get done throughout the day and set time aside to deal with extraneous tasks that come up.

Routinize When Possible

Fortunately, the same technology that often draws our attention away from the most important aspects of our work is also the thing that makes it possible to automate nearly all of our important meetings, events, and reminders, therefore making our lives so much easier. Stress, time, and energy all is reduced when we skip the mental stamina needed to make a decision that can be easily solved by a routine.

You may initially invest some time to get things set up to your standards and specifications, but once this initial time is invested, you will end up saving yourself time in the long run. Saving templates of emails and automating other tasks that you engage in daily will streamline your workflow allowing you to stay focused on the most important things.

Idea Dump

We all have our moments of genius that pop up throughout the day that beg to pull us away from a current project or deadline.

When this happens, keep a log of your ideas or scribble them down on notes so that you 1. Don’t disrupt your flow and put aside the important task you’re working on and 2. Don’t forget your genius idea so you can come back to it when the time is right.

Visualize Results

You can’t know how to get where you’re headed if you don’t know where you’re going in the first place. Having a vision will (and should) set the entire course of your activities. Visions can be short-term or long-term, but should always be time-bound in order to hold you accountable.

Envisioning, at the end of the day, checking off each item on your list will further help you organize the most important tasks that need to get done.

Take a Break

Sometimes what you really need is a little fresh air and a change of scenery. Being within the confining walls of your office or cubicle can be stifling at times, so taking a brisk walk to clear your head might just help improve your productivity. Buffer reveals that taking a short break helps our brains stay on track. That’s right. Detaching from your work for a brief period of time actually helps you stay focused.

The important part of taking a break is ensuring that your break is deliberate. Don’t just float around and shoot the breeze to avoid getting back to what’s important. Use your break time as a reward for accomplishing certain tasks, and set a time limit for yourself.

Remember, results are measurable! Distinguishing the results you want and working backwards to set goals and time limits to achieve those goals will help keep you on track and your most productive self.

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