A never-ending list of things to do and many emails to answer is a typical situation for everyone at work. You can beat this overwhelm at the office by being more productive at work. Trust me I have been there staying late at work is not gonna help you. I am sharing with you 12 tried and tested tips that will skyrocket our productivity at work and make you, that star employee at work.
Why do you need to be productive at work?
With many responsibilities and the expectation to be proactive to take more to be promoted just make work life overwhelming. To beat the stress the only way is to be intentional about the way you spend your time at work and be more efficient.
Increasing your productivity at work will
- Reduce your stress
- Let you stay ahead of your peer
- Help you attain work-life balance
- Help you feel satisfied at the job
- Makes you work smart and not hard
- Reach new heights in your career
So, being more productive at the office is the only way you can finally find the place of peace you are looking for in your life.
P.S. If you are overwhelmed at work and looking for a quick fix. Read Steps to reset your work-life after busy times
I have been an organized person myself but productivity is something that I have learned over the period of time by reading endless productivity books and articles, and by trying to practice them at work throughout my journey to the corporate ladder. Some helped me and some were not so beneficial for me. In this post, I am sharing with you 12 things that helped me improve my productivity at work.
How to work productively
Here are 12 tips that will help you be productive at work and take you next level.
Tip 1: Be organized at work
I think organization and productivity go hand and hand. You cannot be productive at work with mess and unorganized information. Being organized at work helps you to stay focused and retrieve things easily without wasting a lot of time. It also makes it easier for you to remember things and co-relate information to provide better input at work. The key to being productive is to be organized. For more help getting organized at work read How to be organized at work.
Tip 2: Organize your work desk
Your work environment contributes to your productivity. You will be distracted and all over the place when your workspace is a mess. I find myself unable to concentrate and work efficiently if my workspace is not clean and organized. And it’s not just me but backed by science too. I use these tips to organize my work desk. By organizing your workspace you are less stressed and more efficient as all the resources are available easily making you more productive.
Tip 3: Always have a work notebook
Having a dedicated work notebook or work journal is a must to be productive at work. Having notes and information on some piece of paper is not helpful. A dedicated work notebook allows you to keep track of your work and ideas. I see many have a notebook for work but it is not used efficiently, and a few points are written here and there that don’t give much help.
A well-utilized and organized notebook can be your go-to system to plan work, note appointments, take meeting notes, and plan projects. I have tried many types of work planners and journals but have finally settled for a notebook in which I make sections and organize them to my needs and workflow. I cannot stress enough the benefits of having a notebook for work and the increase in productivity it brings. I have a detailed post on 10 ways to organize a notebook for work.
Tip 4: Make lists and Prioritize tasks
With many things to take care of at work, it is impossible for you to remember everything. Hence To-Do list is a must-have to be productive at work. Keeping a running to-do list for all the tasks that you need to do, reduces stress and helps you plan your work efficiently. Anytime I find a few extra minutes I look at the To-do list to find things I can finish in the available time.
For the most repetitive things, I make a master list to save time and be more organized. Here are 12 Master Lists you must make at work.
To be productive and make the best of your time always prioritize your work. It so happens that you either do things that you find easy to do or things that someone follows up on and may be urgent for them but not important for you. Hence prioritizing your work is necessary not only to be productive but also to work towards your goals and priority. Here is how to prioritize work tasks.
Tip 5: Delegate
To be productive is to spend your time on things that bring the most benefit to you and to be efficient. When you spend your time on mundane tasks or things that do not challenge you enough, teach something new or make use of your expertise, it is best to delegate it to someone. It can be outsourcing the work to others or delegating to your team members who are new and the work may be a learning experience for them.
Delegating helps you focus on tasks that help you grow and succeed in life. Generally, things that are not important and not urgent can be delegated to others. It is wise to get them off your list or reevaluate if it is necessary to be done.
Tip 6: Plan your day in advance
This is the most productive hack, always plan your next day the night before. I recommend at the end of the working day when you call off the day, just spend 5 minutes planning the next day. This way you can start your next day immediately by taking action and getting things done, rather than wondering where to start. It helps you be intentional with your time and focused on completing the tasks for the day. It also gives you a sense of satisfaction when you complete your tasks for the day and do not end your working day thinking about what you did today. To plan your day most productively read How to have a productive day.
Tip 7: Avoid Negative people and set boundaries
The environment around us also plays a significant role in our overall productivity. Negative people in the workplace create an atmosphere of discouragement, which reduces morale and enthusiasm. They increase your stress and distract you from things that are essential for your work and you end up wasting your energy. They create a toxic environment that makes it difficult to collaborate and work more efficiently. You cannot change the people around you but it’s best that you avoid such toxic people and set boundaries to preserve your energy and stay productive. I have a detailed post on 12 effective strategies to deal with negative coworkers make sure to read it if you face difficult people at work.
Tip 8: Eat the frog
Eat the frog is a phrase to describe dealing with the most difficult work. It is a popular idea that I came across in the book Eat That Frog!: by Brian Tracy, and I find this very helpful to boost my productivity. We often attend to the simple tasks and leave the difficult tasks for later, this just gives a pseudo sense of achievement but the critical ones are unattended. In fact, we must attend to the most difficult task first at the start of the day as our minds are fresh and we will be more motivated and benefit after dealing with the most difficult task. You will be less stressed and can take on the easier tasks later in the day.
Tip 9: Limit your time with emails
Emails are essential for communication at work, but we spend more time during our workday over emails than attending to our actual job. Unless you are someone in customer support or related work where you need to actively keep answering emails as part of your core job responsibility, you should not be spending a lot of your work time over email. You can set a particular time duration at work for checking and reverting emails that can be at the max 2 times a day.
Other times you can turn off your emails to avoid distraction. You can read my post Best tips to improve email productivity to stop wasting your time over emails. I often use emails to retrieve some information while working on tasks and projects but that too wastes a lot of time. To deal with this you should declutter and organize your emails into categories to ease the retrieval of information. You can read my post on How to declutter email quickly.
Tip 10: Schedule meetings in the second half of the day
Meetings at work are essential for collaborative teamwork but they take a lot of time and most often after meetings we start to attend to the tasks that are discussed in the meetings and other work gets delayed and sidetracked. I find it productive to schedule meetings in the second half of the day, by this, I am able to use the first half of the day to work on the important task (eat the frog) and the second half of the day can be for meetings.
Tip 11: Create templates
For the most repetitive types of work, it is wise to make templates. So that every time you need to make a report you do not start from scratch. Using templates bring consistency in work, taking off the initial mental glitch where we are staring screen thinking where to start, and avoiding wasting time. You can also have most common email replies formulated on a sticky note at the computer and just copy-paste them, with little tweaks if required. If you are someone like me who works with a lot of data to analyze you can also make excel dashboards to plug the data and get beautiful graphs and trends ready for report.
Tip 12: Refuel yourself
Productivity and our energy go hand in hand, even if you are highly motivated and use the best productivity techniques you will not be productive if you are feeling low in energy. This is something that I have learned the hard way. Towards the end of the day, we are exhausted and low energy makes us less efficient. To beat this you should have some healthy snacks handy with you that you can munch while working and maintain your energy levels. Keep yourself hydrated and take a break after a long work session to relax your mind to get rechanged and productive again.
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These were the 12 best tips to make you productive at work. All these have worked for me and I am pretty sure you will find them beneficial too, so get started by implementing these tips and take your productivity at work to the next level.
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