Fact: There are simply too few hours in a day to really want to get things done. Your to-do list is constantly growing; you never leave work on the dot as you’d like, and why oh why doesn’t your calendar clear up from deadlines despite you constantly clearing your work?
Our advice? Time to take a good look at how productive you are at work. If you find yourself staying later at work while your colleagues are already out of the door, perhaps there’s something that needs to be done with your level of productivity. Ultimately, it’s about being more productive so that you take less time to do your work and be better at juggling your many tasks at hand. Doubtful that’s even possible? Sure it is - if you follow these five tips on what it takes to increase your productivity.
TIP 1: Assess Your To-Dos
Take a good look at your to-do list and highlight what absolutely needs to be done today. Now create another list – the To Do Later This Week list. Put everything else that can wait for later into that list and get back to it when you’ve done what’s important first. Some tasks may become more important later in the week so you’ll want to reassess your to-do list daily.
TIP 2: Think Time Blocks
The Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Think of it this way – if you wait till the last minute to do something, it will only take a minute to do it. Or if you tell yourself that you only have 15 minutes to complete a task, yes – 15 minutes is all you’ll give yourself. ?So when it comes to work productivity, apply the law and give yourself a set amount of time to complete a task. That report that’s due tomorrow? Tell yourself you will devote an hour to work on it. Now, focus on the task for exactly an hour – in other words, don’t get distracted!
TIP 3: Speaking of Focus
Two things that go together – efficiency and focus. Store your phone away, log out of social media, snooze on online chats and idle emails. We promise you’ll get your work done in time (or even ahead of schedule) and you’ll have the rest of the day catching up on what you’ve missed.
TIP 4: Give Multitasking a Miss
Wait – are we telling you not to be super-duper efficient by doing two things at once? You got that right. When you multitask, your attention and time spent are divided by the number of things you are doing at the same time. Which equates to you actually taking longer to complete one task if you were to actually just focus on that.
Studies have shown that productivity takes a dip when you multitask. Not to mention how it also reduces creativity, causes a higher ratio of mistakes, and makes it harder to remember the important details. Do this instead: Work on one activity at a time and nothing else. Once that’s done, move on to another activity. You’ll notice how much more you complete by the end of the day.
TIP 5: Learn to Say No
Unfortunately, we often say yes when we really should be saying no to extra work. This in turns puts a huge strain in your time and productivity. We’re not just talking about work. If you’re extremely busy, perhaps saying yes to a long lunch may not seem like a great idea.
Keep in mind that saying no isn’t rude – just be honest and tell the other party that you are way up to there with your own work and you’ll be happy to help – once you’ve completed your own task.
TAKE A BREAK!
Am I not supposed to sit put and be focused on what I’m doing to get the job done? Yes, but research also shows that taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve your concentration, especially when working on a long task. So go ahead, take a quick five minutes (nothing more!) to clear your mind.