10 Easy Tips To Be More Productive At Work
Read these tips if your New Year’s Resolutions is to become more productive and procrastinate less
I am a person who will do anything to avoid overtime at work. I have a busy social life, I workout, I want to spend time learning and writing, thus I really cannot afford to stay overtime, simply because some things were not completed between 9 and 6.
The office can be a very distracting place. That’s why I started making some changes to make sure I am least distracted and able to finish everything in time.
If you are like me, you’ll agree that it’s crucial to ensure that the tasks are completed within the working hours. Work is important, but the life outside work is equally paramount. Most frequently, we can ensure the timely completion of tasks. It requires some planning and some changes in our daily habits.
Let’s get down to the list.
- Keep the working desk tidy. Messy desks drive me crazy. I am unable to concentrate and do my work if my desk is messy. Most frequently, I’ll have documents, scrap papers and stationery lying around, which really distracts me. That’s why I invest time in keeping my desk tidy. I clean up every week and ensure it stays this way throughout the week.
- Have a clear daily or weekly to-do list. Having many things on the plate can be very overwhelming. Often, we wouldn’t know where to start, how to prioritise and how to complete it all. That’s why I plan my day while commuting to work. I come up with a to-do list and stick to it during the day. Most of the ad-hoc tasks that come during the day aren’t urgent and can wait until tomorrow. Just think about it. By writing all down, you’ll make sure that you remember what needs to be done and won’t worry that you may miss something out.
- Check my email three times a day at most. I noticed that I spend a lot of time checking and replying my emails. It’s very distracting. Before, I always had my email opened and I hit the read and reply buttons the second I received the new email. I realised that when I jump from my task to replying the email I lose concentration and it takes time to concentrate back and carry on with my task. That’s why I am checking my email three times a day: morning, after lunch and before the end of the working day.
- Use flight mode on my mobile phone. Having a smartphone nowadays is distracting. Constant notifications and the temptation to check Instagram are a real struggle. That’s why I switch my phone off for at least two hours in the afternoon. If someone needs to get in touch with me, they can call me on my landline.
- Practice breathing. I know we all breathe. We’d die if we didn’t. But actually, I learnt that we don’t really know how to breathe. I learnt this in my yoga classes. 10 slow, deep and nourishing breaths can do wonders to your body and mind and help you stay more focused. Once in a while throughout the day, I’ll take ten long breathes to feed my brain with the oxygen and help it stay focused.
- Block the first two hours in my calendar. Mornings are the most productive time for me. That’s why I started practising “no meetings in the mornings” rule. I block the first two hours in my calendar for my own work — no meetings, no conferences or con-calls allowed. It really works and I advise choosing two most productive hours in the day and block them for your own work. There still is plenty of other time to attend these meetings, right?
- Get out of the office during lunch. Always. A normal lunch break is one hour. We don’t really need 1 hour to eat. I noticed that when I’m done eating, I spend time on social media or reading something on the BBC. Instead, I started leaving the office for a quick walk — even if it’s around the building. Changing the environment and having some physical activity positively impacts the mind and helps to concentrate after lunch. It also helps with the digestion which is great as I don’t feel tired or sleepy after my meal.
- Stand up and stretch once an hour. If you’re like me and spend most of the day on your chair, it’s really important to stand up and stretch at least once an hour. You’ll notice that your body awakens and the mind becomes sharper, which helps to complete the work in a more effective way. I set my smartwatch to vibrate if I perform no physical activity for one consecutive hour. This helps me stay in aware when I need to move.
- Reduce being an office social butterfly. Coffee breaks are fun. Who doesn’t like gossiping with the colleagues! In fact, once I became cautious about it, I noticed that I spend at least 3 hours per day on socialising and coffee breaks. This excludes lunch. It’s a lot of time that’s actually wasted. It’s also very hard to get back to work after fun socialising as the brain needs time to settle down and come back to the working mood.
- Listen to music while working (when possible). I work in an open-space office. I can, most of the time, hear my colleagues chatting and sometimes it’s hard not to join the conversation. Even if I don’t join, I still participate in it silently, which is very distracting. That’s why having music on helps to avoid unnecessary distractions. Even better if you find some motivating playlist that works for you and helps you concentrate better. There are tons of them on Spotify.
Do you have any tips on how to become more productive at work? What are the measures that you’ve taken? I’d love to hear them in the comments.