There are only so many hours in a day, so making the utmost of your time in work is important. All jobs are unique, and all individuals are different, but there is always a way to work smarter. Being more productive at work isn’t a complicated mathematical formula, it is how you arrange your time and being conscious of where your time can be saved. If you feel you could be more productive, below, you’ll find some top tips that will help you get the most of your time ensuring a productive day at work.
Prioritise your Tasks
It is often the problem that we cannot have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start with our to-do list. One of the most critical features of becoming more productive at work is prioritisation, as it gives you a better overview of the tasks that need to be handled. Often the simplest answer to productivity is to list everything you need to do, then prioritise these based on relevance and urgency. You need to understand that some duties require your urgent attention and others are not necessarily as important. After all, postponing the necessary but cumbersome tasks will eventually catch up with you, adding to stress levels.
The method behind this is to get the most important items completed first; then you will be more productive while reducing your stress levels. It also allows you to gauge how much time you’re spending on different tasks, analyse your work and enable you to estimate the time jobs will take going forward.
Unitask not Multitask
Dividing your attention among multiple things – multitasking – is not nearly as productive as we’d like it to be. While we have a tendency to think of multitasking as an important skill for productivity, that is not the case. In fact, attempting to do many tasks all at once can result in a lack of focus. Meaning a completed task can often be filled with errors and mistakes, that can lead to additional work that needs to be redone, doubling your efforts and workload.
Instead, begin a habit of unitasking – committing to a single task before moving on to your next. The key idea here is to set your mind to do one task at a time. Ensuring you finish one project before you move on to the other and meaning each gets your full attention, and therefore you are much more productive.
It sounds counterproductive, but taking regular breaks can help improve productivity as it allows you to replenish your concentration. Taking breaks is an important feature of a working day and should be prioritised. This diversion from the task at hand can have an enormous impact on productivity levels. Studies show that those who seek breaks or ‘diversions’ perform better than those work continuously through. After a while, our brains become numb and work autonomously; we become unable to treat the task as significant.
Taking short breaks throughout long working days helps you to maintain a steady level of performance and allows us to return to the job at hand with renewed energy and a sense of purpose. While working on projects without regular breaks can lead to a steady decline in performance and productivity.
Emails are one of the greatest time sucks around, regularly monitoring your email and becoming absorbed into the endless void of other peoples demands. Somehow we continue to unquestioningly keep one eye on our email and waste valuable time for other more productive tasks. Unless you are expecting a high priority email, checking your account two to four times a day, should be sufficient. The extra time should then be spent working on your most important tasks, as previously mentioned. Doing this will make you relaxed and more productive.
Above all, if you feel you need to improve your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in extended hours or pack more into your busy day. Just step away and think about the top tips we have outlined here, to get you working smarter, not harder. But more importantly – extra productive in work. If you work in the HR Department of a company, these are also useful tips to share with your employees.