Because how often do you finish a work day satisfied you’ve given it your all?
With so many distractions with mobile phones, checking social media and chats with colleagues, it can be all too easy to meander around difficult tasks. Procrastination can often lead to stagnation and apathy towards the job. Thankfully, there are many ways of regaining control and instilling motivation. These 24 productivity methods will help boost your working day.
Create a pleasant work environment
Look around your surroundings. If you’re swamped in paperwork, cables, and blank walls, you might want to consider a change. Uninspiring decor doesn’t nurture creativity. Make your space a place you want to spend time in by tidying up, clearing away unnecessary items and adding some pot plants and pictures.
Set self-imposed deadlines
Deadlines don’t get the best press, but when they’re realistic, they can be a great boost to productivity. If you have to finish a report by lunchtime, set a timer and see how much better you focus completing the task in hand, and avoid checking emails, chatting to your colleagues, scanning Twitter and so on.
When other people know your workload, it acts as a motivator to get stuff done on time. Make sure regular meetings and catchups are held so you can schedule end dates to projects. When you’re accountable, you’re more likely to stick to deadlines.
Do a to-do list
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book but writing down the list of the things you need to do really works. By seeing the number of tasks, you can list them in order of priority. You can also assign realistic times for each job.
In a similar vein, planning your day the evening before can help you start a new day with a clear idea of what is required of you. Doing the list in advance will make you feel a lot more organized when you step foot in the office the next morning.
…And then plan your week
Once you’ve got a grip on day-to-day tasks, start planning your week. You don’t need to have a detailed view, but an outline of projects beginning and ending, appointments and meetings can give you a better insight into the flow of each working day.
What might sound counterintuitive has been proven to aid productivity. The brain needs regular time out from intense concentration, so if you schedule a break – even if it’s to make a cup of tea – every 45 minutes or so, you’re refreshing your mind so that you can maintain a constant level of performance.
Use a task management system
For to-do lists and delegation, a task management system is an excellent way of outlining what needs to be done and completion dates. You can also communicate with colleagues on your progress via these platforms.
Stand up meetings
Meetings are one of the biggest time killers in the office. Some are necessary, but others drag on, meander off point and chew up most of your afternoon leaving you with no time to finish the project you were working on. One of the best ways to counter this is to have stand up meetings. Standing up gives the meet a sense of urgency.
Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction
Often we get caught up in the detail to realize the bigger picture. While some projects require perfectionism, many others can be completed with a less polished approach. If it’s writing a webpage or creating a production plan, do it to the best of your ability in the time allowed. You can always come back to it at a later point and improve on it.
When the heat is on, it’s a good idea to turn off notifications on social media, email and your intranet. Cutting down on the amount of noise coming through on your computer allows you to give your sole attention to the matter at hand. The less distraction, the better your productivity.
Got the right kit?
Making sure you have the right equipment to work on is critical to getting your job done. If your computer is slowing you down, or your chair is giving you backache, if the headset is faulty or the office is too warm, you should address it with management. To give 100%, you need to able to work in a comfortable environment with functioning equipment.
Look after yourself
It goes without saying that a restful evening and a good night’s sleep will go along way in boosting your productivity the following day. But you should also review your diet and exercise routine and see if you can make improvements that will enhance your concentration and stamina levels.
Take your lunch
Thinking that skipping lunch can help you mow through all your jobs for the day? Wrong! When your day is full, your body and mind will benefit from leaving the office and enjoying a meal, even if it’s for half an hour. You can return to the office refreshed and ready to face the tasks ahead.
Are you happy at work? Tackle any issues head-on, whether it’s with a colleague, a process or anything else that could be holding you back from having a positive experience in the office.
Communicate with colleagues
Using forums on your company intranet can help you ask for help, ideas, and advice from colleagues who have more experience in the field.
Whether it’s a walk at lunch or creating a running team after work, exercise is an excellent way of aiding productivity.
Make use of the software available
There’s a raft of software available which allows you to cut corners. Whether it’s spellchecking, invoicing, reporting, design or whatever else you need help with, research what is on the market that can make aspects of your working life a lot easier. Workflow and Forms on Interact is an example of how simple everyday processes like booking holidays or submitting expenses can be carried out in a time-efficient manner.
Eat the Frog
As Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” If you have a particularly unpleasant task to do, make sure it’s the first job you do that day. The rest of your day will feel a breeze in comparison.
Schedule meetings for the afternoon
Mornings are most people’s most productive hours. During the afternoon, we tend to tail off. This is why if you’re going to have a meeting, it’s essential to have them in the afternoon when you’ve gone through all the priority tasks in the morning.
Ever realized how you’ve spent ten minutes daydreaming and then spend the next ten minutes annoyed at yourself for wasting time? Don’t. Just move on and understand that it’s a human trait that you’re working to minimize.
Don’t be overwhelmed
If you’ve been put in charge of a large project, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. To combat this, break up the project into small parts and tackle each part bit by bit.
Review your day
Before you leave, or even on your commute home, take a few minutes to think of everything you’ve achieved that day. See how you can incorporate anything you have missed into your next day’s tasks.
Check your changes
The chances are that you probably won’t transform your habits overnight, and that’s normal. But what helps is if you’re aware of the changes you are making. Seeing the small differences build up gives you the benefit of seeing the improvements you are making. Try working in one tip a week and see how your productivity builds.