9 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work
Are you not getting everything you need to get done in your workday? Sometimes there feels like there is not enough time in the day to do all that we have to do. You can either more hours in the amount of time you work or you can work smarter. Being more productive requires deliberate management of your time.
It can be hard to know where to start to get your time organized. Here are some strategies to increase your productivity and work smarter.
Track Your Time
You might think that you’re good at knowing how much time you are spending on each task you do. However, according to research only 17 percent of people are able to estimate the passage of time. Time management apps like Rescue Time can be used to let you know how much time you are spending on daily activities including your time on social media and answering emails.
Schedule Regular Breaks
You might not want to lose your flow or concentration while working on a long project and this might cause you to not take a break. It is important to note that your work will suffer if you burn out.
Studies have shown that taking regular breaks during a workday boosts your mood and helps your concentration. During a long task, this can help you maintain a constant level of performance, instead of declining over the time you work because you have taken any breaks. Schedule time to take walk around the office or grabbing a midday coffee.
Stress is usually considered a bad thing but a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually help us focus and meet our goals. When you’re working on open-ended tasks of projects try giving yourself a deadline and then stick to it. You might find that having a reason to watch the clock makes you more productive and focused.
Say No To Meetings
One of the biggest time-wasters in a workday are meeting. Yet somehow, we keep booking them. The average office worker spends over 31 hours each month unproductive meetings. Next time you book a meeting ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone or web-based meeting. Try alternative methods of communication to save everyone time.
We tend to think the ability to multitask is important to productivity and efficient but the opposite is actually true. It is proven that attempting to do several tasks at once can instead result is lost time and productivity. We’re fooling ourselves when we think we can handle a few tasks at once. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving onto the next one. Focusing on one task at a time will end up helping you finish your list faster.
Set Small Goals
Looking at the big picture can be daunting.
Break down your big projects in your calendar into smaller tasks. This will make you feel more in control and help you be more proactive. Keep track of your day-to-day on these small tasks throughout you’re day and you will make your bigger projects seem much less overwhelming.
People spend a lot of commuting to and from work. This can be a tempting time to play some Candy Crush, browse Facebook or sneak in a nap. However, you could be much more productive in this bonus time you have on your hands. Why not use your commute time to answer some emails, create your daily list of tasks or do some brainstorming?
Use The “Two Minute Rule”
Increase your productivity by using small windows of time to do actual tasks.
According to entrepreneur and influential content strategist Steve Olenski, implementing the “two-minute rule” will make the most of small windows of time you have to work. The idea is if you see a task or action you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Completing this task right away actually takes less than having to get back to it later.
Turn Off Notifications
In an attempt to be proactive and not reactive, schedule a time to check your email, voicemails and texts. Turn off your notifications while you are concentrating on tasks at hand. During work, hours have scheduled times to handle notifications.
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How Do You Improve Team Productivity?
As a manager, you’re always looking for ways to increase your team’s productivity. You need to give empower your employees to plan, prioritize and streamline their work. This will help your company because goals will be met quicker, less time will be wasted on menial and pointless tasks and problems will be solved efficiently.
So, here are some simple strategies to boost your team’s productivity.
Plan and Set Goals
The success of your project relies so much on the actionable goals you set and the plan you have created to achieve those goals.
Make sure you are setting your team up for success by setting the right goals and accurately measuring your team’s efficiency.
Start out by qualifying and quantifying your tasks. To qualify, identify the essential tasks that are crucial to the success of the project and assign those tasks to the team member who has the skills to complete them. To quantify, turn your goals into targets – whether that is a sales figure to meet or the lines of code you complete in a day.
These targets are now deliverables that your team can work towards that can be assigned tangible deadlines. This way you will always have a clear idea of how far you are from completing a task.
Communicate Responsibilities Clearly
Set your team members up for success by being clear about their role in reaching a goal. Have a one-on-one meeting with each team member to communicate their priorities and your expectation of their role. Be specific in what you ask of them and give them two or three areas you want them to focus on.
Also, be explicit about how much time you expect them to devote to a task. Be straightforward if you need them to switch focus because of an unexpected event or meeting.
There is no need to micromanage though, simply describe the outcome you are trying to achieve and then get out of their way and allow them to determine the best path there. Telling someone how to do every step of their job will create a bottleneck in your business.
Introduce Communication Tools
Using modern tools to share files and communicate, can save your company a lot of time. A lot of companies use inefficient forms of communication to share files and engage in internal communication, causing documents to easily get lost.
When your team is working on a big project make sure you are using a platform that lets you communicate and update your team instantly. This real-time chat allows you to solve problems and brainstorm instantly and helps you to avoid time-wasting meetings.
The average employee is interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds and takes them about 23 minutes to get back on track. The same survey also reports that 49% of tasks are interrupted on a regular basis in a private office and climbs to 63% in an open-plan office.
One of the biggest hurdles of productivity is workplace interruptions. A great way to overcome this is by giving your employees a quiet and distraction-free environment to work in.
Everyone works harder and better when they know they are working for something a little extra than their normal pay. Offering incentives will show your team that they will be appreciated for completing a job or achieving a goal. This drive in your team will help them increase their productivity.