Productivity Tips to Optimize Your Work Life
Productivity is all about efficiency, doing more, faster and with less. And with increasing demands from today’s anytime, anywhere workplace, it is has never been more important.
Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day. A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion, and even termination.
There are thousands of productivity apps and tools on the market promising to help you increase your performance, but sometimes all it takes to improve your focus is a few quick changes to your work habits and your environment. Want to get more accomplished at the office?
There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. There are two ways increase your output – either put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter. Being more productive at work isn’t rocket science, but it does require being more deliberate about how you manage your time.
Working from home can be the ultimate personal productivity litmus test. Many people feel they would lack the self-discipline and focus required to be highly productive if they work from home.
Working from home is awesome … right up until the cat throws up on your computer. And your neighbor — who you can only assume is building a time machine — starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery across the street. For many modern professionals, working from home every once in a while is a luxury that our respective companies afford us. But which environment actually allows us to be more productive: the home office or the office office?
Time: managing your time is critical to improving productivity. The biggest time suck is unexpected (and usually unimportant) tasks. Solitude can be your most powerful thinking tool. Go through email and social media updates that have piled up overnight and triage the backlog. Knock out quick responses and referrals, so other people can start working on tasks. Schedule the bigger tasks. And delete the stuff that is informational or not important.
If you are someone who has trouble staying productive at work, here are some tips to help you change that:
Take regular breaks; Put your work first; Try to be happy and optimistic.
Before you do anything else, take a few moments at the start of each day to organize and de-clutter your workspace. Having a clutter-free environment helps you think more clearly and produce better results.
Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).
Run routines. Massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.
Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks. You may think you’re pretty good at gauging how much time you’re spending on various tasks. Set self-imposed deadlines. While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals.
Quit multitasking. While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.
Buy a great chair. Working from home implicitly means you’re a knowledge worker. That means you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. So no matter what else you do, invest in a good computer, a good phone…and the most comfortable and ergonomically-correct chair you can find. If you aren’t comfortable you can’t stay focused and you can’t stay productive.
Adopt a productivity system. Maybe one of the things you like best about working from home is the lack of enforced structure. That’s great–but unless you create your own structure, you’ll fritter away much of your day bouncing from task to task and mistaking things that seem urgent for things that are truly important.
Commit to doing more. Work when you’re at your most productive. Save calls for the afternoon. Use technology to stay connected. Interact with other humans. Go outside and find a human to interact with – ordering your coffee, running an errand, whatever. It keeps you sane
Create a nighttime routine. Every day, the first thing you do is the most important thing you will do: It sets the tone for the rest of the day. Prepare for it the night before. Make a list. Make a few notes. Review information. Prime yourself to hit the ground at an all-out sprint the next day. A body in super-fast motion tends to stay in super-fast motion.
Be proactive, not reactive. Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished.
Turn off notifications. Work in 90-minute intervals. Minimize interruptions. Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.
Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done. Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.
Turn off email notifications. Instead of reading every email as it lands in your inbox, try turning off your notifications and checking messages only at set intervals. Why? Constant email alerts popping up on your phone or desktop can really break your focus.