Take a look back at your week at work – how productive were you? A recent study has shown that a third of employees are disengaged in the workplace, which is a dangerously large number. Improving your productivity is easy if you tweak a few small aspects of your daily life – check out my top 10 ways to improve productivity below.
1) Make lists:
It may seem simple, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload or are dealing with a large project, it’s always useful to write it all down. This not only helps you remember everything, but it also helps in setting realistic targets and splitting your workload up. Make daily action lists and weekly lists – and on Friday look back on your completed lists with satisfaction!
2) Plan each day the night before:
This goes hand-in-hand with point one – make your action list for each day before you leave the office the night before. Not only are you in the correct mind-set, but it also will make sure you don’t forget any of the details that you may not remember the next day. This also saves time the next morning as you can get straight into work without having to recall everything you need to tie up from the day before.
Staying focused may seem like an obvious point; but it’s probably one of the top ways to stay productive. If you have a task to complete – then complete it, without doing anything else. Leave distractions at the door! You may be used to checking your emails or logging into your Twitter every five minutes, but set yourself a goal of completing a task before doing anything else.
4) Get your blood pumping:
There is a proven correlation between physical exercise and productivity, so if you’re looking to improve your productivity, get your blood pumping! Regular exercise improves alertness, raises energy levels, improves mental health and even improves your health, long-term. So whether it’s a gym class or a walk in the park, aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week and your productivity levels are bound to improve.
5) Get to work early:
Getting to work early is great for a few reasons. First of all your commute will be easier – you’ll beat the mad rush of commuters which means you can appreciate the journey without being face-to-armpit with other workers. It also gives you an uninterrupted time to focus and gather your thoughts before your colleagues arrive.
Collaboration is key for high quality work. If you’re jotting ideas, sometimes just asking for an opinion can really get you thinking. And don’t be afraid to ask people for their opinions – from interns to managers, everyone has ideas and you may just find what you’re looking for.
7) Set personal time limits:
Setting yourself personal time limits is so important when it comes to productivity. We’ve all been in the situation of putting tasks off just because they don’t have a specific deadline; or they may be mundane or uninteresting. If you set yourself a personal time limit, it means you will get tasks completed instead of dwindling around them.
8) Maximize your downtime:
A key habit of productive workers is that they have a sensible work/rest ratio. So instead of checking your emails on your commute to work, read a book or listen to music. When you get home, truly relax and leave your work where it’s supposed to be; at work! Embrace your downtime and make sure you use the time to really relax. If you are a truly productive person during the day, you should be able to leave the office without having to think about all the things you need to do tomorrow.
Allow some time each week to declutter- both your desk and your desktop. There’s nothing more distracting than a messy desk, so only keep things that are necessary and put the rest away in draws or storage. The same can be said for digital clutter. Make sure your files are all in order and keeping emails organised is important. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to reply to an important email just because you’re inbox is a mess. Allow half an hour a week to sort/label/delete your emails and files when appropriate.
10) Allow time for reflection:
Personal reflection is an important aspect of professional life. By looking back week-by-week, you’ll be able to pinpoint highly productive days and also the more disengaged days. From here, you can tweak your routine in order to improve your productivity. Doing this weekly means you will be continuously improving and becoming a more productive person, which is never a bad thing!
Have you got any other tips for increasing productivity? Let me know in the comments below!