Have you ever had workdays when you spent hours in front of the screen, and yet, ended the day feeling you couldn’t accomplish much? I have, and it’s no secret that being productive at work can be difficult.
Even though we know how important it is, it’s often hard to decipher where to start. An average team member stays productive for less than 3 hours in a day. In such a short span of productivity, there might not be enough time to get all the work done. Falling behind on schedules can add to the stress, and as per Colonial Life, 41% of employees are less productive when stressed.
Boosting productivity can help you get the most out of your work hours and impart a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. This post discusses seven steps you can implement to become more productive at work.
1. Track the time you spend doing each task
If you have a fixed budget to stick to, tracking your expenses can be helpful. Consider your working hours to be the budget that you can’t exceed. By time-tracking the daily tasks, you can determine:
- Your working and concentration pattern
- When and for how long do you tend to be distracted
- Total hours of productivity
- The exact time taken to complete each task
This productivity log will give you more control over your calendar, and you can schedule your tasks accordingly. Time block your calendar for all the tasks to stay even more productive. The Loopin Chrome extension can help schedule tasks so that you’re always prepared with the agendas. By analyzing the time-tracking reports, you can also understand when to bring a change in your work pattern to enhance your productivity.
2. Make a realistic, priority-wise to-do list and stick to it
Most of us are familiar with making to-do lists. But more often than not, the list is long, and it becomes impossible to check everything off your list. Instead of this, start by making realistic to-do lists and consider how much you can achieve in a day. Then figure out the top priority tasks in this list. Try the Eisenhower Matrix to divide all your tasks into four boxes:
- Urgent and important – finish them as soon as possible.
- Urgent, but not important – try delegating these tasks to others.
- Important, but not urgent – you can push these tasks for later.
- Neither urgent nor important – then why was it on your to-do list? Immediately remove it.
With this approach, you can filter out the unproductive work and add to your working hours' productivity.
3. Opt for silent meetings whenever you can
From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, all the corporate leaders swear by silent meetings.
- Bezos mentioned at the Bush Center’s Forum on Leadership that his meetings begin by reading long memos, while all participants are encouraged to take notes.
- Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, says that his meetings are on Google Docs, with participants commenting there.
These leaders make a strong case for silent meetings and the habit of note-taking to stay productive at work. With Loopin, you can streamline your notes, access important pointers from previous meetings, and track progress to stay up-to-date during meetings.
4. Focus on monotasking instead of multitasking
Scientists believe that multitasking is making humans dumber. Bill Gates emphasizes the importance of deep work – putting complete concentration on a single task for prolonged periods. Deep work or monotasking is often labeled as Bill Gates' secret productivity technique fuelling his success.
Research proves that when a person says they’re multitasking, in reality, all they’re doing is switching back and forth between several tasks quickly. This lowers your productivity and makes you feel exhausted without achieving significant results. You end up spending all your energy on switching between tasks, rather than on completing one task diligently.
If you multitask, you’d be prone to making more mistakes, wasting time, remembering less of what you’ve done, and reducing your productivity by 40%. Checking that latest work email might sound tempting even when you’re already knee-deep in another task, but if you focus on one task at a time, you’ll find you finish each task much quicker and with ease.
5. Take frequent breaks between tasks
While working with absolute focus, it can be tempting to continue the streak without pausing. However, taking small breaks between tasks help you stay focused and productive. The Pomodoro Technique advises working for 25 minutes followed by a 3 to 5-minute break, and then a 15 to 30-minute break every 90 minutes or so.
You can utilize these small breaks to cover non-focused work like replying to emails, etc. Some people also practice taking deep breaths and drinking lots of water during their break. This practice rejuvenates the mind and body and increases productivity.
6. Set goals for yourself and decide on rewards too
An underrated hack of boosting productivity is incentives. Set a goal to achieve in a given time, and assign rewards upon success. Your mind will automatically desire the reward and help you be more productive at work. Make the incentives more alluring when you have challenging goals to achieve. You can try simple ones like:
- Watch an episode of your favorite show.
- Go out for coffee.
- Have a healthy and filling snack.
- Do nothing and relax.
This practice can work even for bigger targets, and your reward can compound too.
7. Learn the art of delegating tasks
You don't need to work extra hard to understand how every aspect of a project works. If there are people on the team who have more experience and capabilities to do a task, don’t shy away from delegating it to them. Delegation empowers your team, fosters trust, and helps with the professional development of all members.
According to Dr. Scott Williams, professor of management at Wright State University, “Delegation can be a clear sign that you respect your subordinates’ abilities and that you trust their discretion. Employees who feel that they are trusted and respected tend to have a higher level of commitment to their work, their organization, and, especially, their managers.”
Thus, when you learn to delegate tasks, it can help you become more productive and only focus on what demands your immediate attention. It can also help your teammates work on projects that bring out their full potential.
A step closer to success: An actionable list of productivity hacks
Being productive at work can help you achieve better results, get the most out of your time, and end the day on a high note. Here are the 7 tried-and-tested hacks to be more productive at work:
- Track the time you spend doing each task.
- Make a realistic, priority-wise to-do list and stick to it.
- Opt for silent meetings whenever you can.
- Focus on monotasking instead of multitasking.
- Take frequent breaks between tasks.
- Set goals for yourself and decide on rewards too.
- Learn the art of delegating tasks.
Additionally, you should also focus on your health and diet to stay active throughout the day. You can have your own productivity setup with water bottles and other necessary things kept around. Having a clean desk layout can improve your concentration and productivity.
Lack of sleep is also not conducive to your workplace productivity. It can decrease your concentration, logical reasoning, and analytical skills. 23.2% of American workers suffer from insomnia, and this leads to economic losses of up to $63.2 billion per year for US companies. So, sleep well, and work well.
And remember, it’s not just about adopting massive changes, but also about picking up small, healthy habits. The key is to practice being productive before and after work to be even more productive at work.
Have you noticed any difference in your work performance with any such productivity tips? Let us know, and if you try any of our productivity hacks, do share your personal success story.