7 Ways you can Increase Productivity and Motivate yourself at Work
There is only so much you can do in so many hours of the working day and if it feels like your to do list never ends, then you need to change some things. Making the most of the time you have is essential. Deliberately focusing on time management and planning how you are going to tackle your day ensures that you get more work done in the same amount of time. Follow these 7 steps to increase your productivity at work.
1. Have a plan for the day
Plan your day the night before or at least as soon as you get to work. Prioritize the most important tasks and do those first thing in the morning. According to Fast Company, you have more energy in the morning, even if you didn’t sleep well. Get your biggest projects out the way early so when you start to feel tired (and less motivated after lunch) you have already done the most important jobs and you can focus on the smaller less demanding ones. Be realistic about your day, how much you can get through and then decide what to include in your plan.
2. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is a tricky business, switching from one task to another often leads to half-finished projects, plenty of open tabs and not a lot of productivity in the end. While having the ability to multitask is an excellent skill to have, it is not always the most effective strategy when it comes to getting the job done. Rather commit to one task and then when it is done, close the relevant tabs, take a break and then move on to the next project.
3. 90-minute Work Sessions
According to the Harvard Business review, working for 90 minutes at a time is the optimal amount of time that we can attentively focus on any given job. The ultradian rhythm requires 90 minutes of effective work and a 15 to 20-minute break before starting again. I tried this strategy while writing this article and I have to tell you it works! Set a timer, don’t open your emails or answer any messages and simply focus on the task at hand.
4. Take Breaks
Taking breaks may not seem like the most obvious way to be more productive but it is. Our brains are not able to focus at their best all day and after a couple of hours with no breaks your work gets sloppy. Taking short breaks in between large projects is an effective way to maintain your performance levels throughout the day. Go outside, get a cup of coffee or walk around but do take short breaks.
5. Set aside a time to respond to emails
Replying to emails is an important part of the day but let it be just that — a part of your day. It is easy to get sucked into checking your emails, then responding to one, then another and before you know it you have been replying emails for 30 minutes without having accomplished any of the jobs you set out to. Set aside four different times in the day to respond to all your emails and only check in at those allocated times. This will ensure that your day is more structured and productive. NB: This strategy only applies to a normal working day. If you are in the middle of closing a deal, then that deal is your job for the day and replying emails is your priority.
6. Do not put off for tomorrow what can be done today
This is so important. When you are given a job to do and you know it can be done in two minutes or less then do it immediately. According to entrepreneur Steve Olenski, doing these kinds of tasks straight away will save you time in the long run, saying, that coming back to it later will take more time and effort on your part.
7. Add some personal touches to your work space
If you like where you are, you are more likely to work to the best of your ability. Add some personal touches to your work space: a plant, your diary, your favourite coffee mug or whatever it is that can make your work space a happy space. This includes office amenities and places where employees can work alone as well as in a public space. According to the Business Journal, having a well-designed office goes a long way to making employees happier and more productive at work.