How often do you feel like your to-do list has grown longer rather than shorter by the end of a work day? Even if you are prioritizing work tasks and saying no to additional requests, not being productive while at work can inhibit you from reaching your full potential.
I get it, staying focused is hard. Whether you’re working from home surrounded by countless chores to do or your Slack channels won’t stop pinging, distractions cut into your productivity. Even with a system in place to stay productive during the work day, as more companies are enacting back-to-office plans you may need to revise this system to adjust to new work settings. Regardless of the industry you are in, everyone wants to know how to be more focused and improve productivity at work.
In this article, we provide 6 actionable tips to help you improve your productivity at work.
Tip 1: Understand Your Body
Everybody is different when it comes to an ideal work environment; some people thrive in the morning while others can get more done in the afternoon hours. By learning how and when your body works best, you can maximize the amount you can accomplish throughout your work day. Take a moment to identify your windows of high energy versus low energy during the day.
- High Energy: During your times of higher energy, focus on completing your biggest and most difficult tasks. This is the time when your mind is the most awake and you’re able to concentrate for longer.
- Low Energy: When you are low energy, this is a good time to complete small, easy, or tedious tasks. This might include answering emails and updating your calendar.
Tip 2: Make a List
Having a clear overview of what you need to complete throughout the day will no doubt allow you to improve your productivity at work. You’re no longer going to have to take pauses throughout the day to determine what you need to get done next. As suggested in Tip 1, plan to complete the more difficult tasks during your peak energy periods and the easier items for your low energy period.
Tip 3: Think Small Tasks
If items on your list are grandiose, you may never feel like you’re actually fully accomplishing anything. By breaking large tasks into several micro tasks, you’ll be able to check items off of your to-do list continuously throughout the day. This can help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and can motivate you to get more done.
Tip 4: Say NO! To Multitasking
Although many people believe that multitasking allows you to achieve more, this is far from the truth. Multitasking leads to scattered thinking as you jump from task to task, therefore cutting into your productivity. As you are never fully focused on one task, you are likely going to be less efficient at progressing through each item you are working on. Giving your full attention to one thing at a time can decrease the amount of time required to complete each task which ultimately allows you to accomplish more throughout the day.
Tip 5: Remove Distractions
One of the biggest reasons for being unproductive throughout the work day is due to distractions. There are many sources of distraction in the workplace and you need to proactively plan to limit your exposure to these distractions in order to get things done. To remove distractions and improve your productivity at work you can:
- Put your cell phone out of sight: We all know how easy it is to lose track of time while you’re texting friends or scrolling through social media. Make sure your phone is out of sight during your work day to avoid tempting yourself to pick it up.
- Let your coworkers know about your desire to increase productivity: Although chatting with your coworkers is a great way to spend your break periods, it can also be a huge distraction while you’re trying to work. Make sure to let your coworkers know to not bother you during certain work periods. To do this, you may need to close your office door, find a quiet space, or turn off notifications for Slack or other communication channels.
Tip 6: Take More Breaks
Believe it or not, being more productive at work may actually require you to work less, not more. Why? Your body needs to rest in order to function at maximum efficiency. This means that taking breaks more often can lead to higher productivity.
To take more breaks, limit distractions, and focus on one task at a time, you can implement the Pomodoro Technique. This method suggests setting a timer for a 25-30 minute period, followed by another 2-3 minute period. The first time block is for you to focus, uninterrupted, on a single task. Once the timer goes off, you will then take a 2-3 minute break. During this break, give yourself time to relax your mind and body in order to prepare for another 25-30 minute work period. To boost energy and concentration during the break you may consider:
- Moving your body: Whether it’s going up and down a flight of stairs, refilling your water glass, or getting up to stretch, moving your body can help increase your energy levels and keep your mind sharp.
- Chatting with coworkers: What better way to improve your mood than sharing conversation with your work friends? Take a few minutes to catch up on work or non-work related topics.
- Having a snack and drink: Ensure you are fueling your body and staying hydrated. Energy is essential to being productive at work.
Making small adjustments to your daily workflow can improve your productivity at work and support you in getting the most out of your working hours. Slowly integrating these 6 tips into your daily routine will help you develop sustainable habits and will lead you to a more productive and successful work day.
Laura is a Technical Recruiter at Jarvis Consulting Group. She helps bring together successful IT professionals to build effective technological teams.
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Jarvis is a leading IT consulting firm headquartered in Canada that provides total talent solutions with ongoing partnerships across North America’s top financial institutions, cutting-edge startups, and major technology companies.
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