INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY: 22 Actionable Tips & Best Practices for Workplace

INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
Photo Credit: Lifehack

Because there are only so many hours in a day, making the most of your time is essential. There are two ways to increase your productivity in the workplace or any aspect of life: working more hours or working smarter. I’m not sure about you, but I prefer the second option.

Being more productive at work isn’t rocket science, but it does necessitate being more deliberate in time management. This article will walk you through simple but effective strategies for increasing your workplace productivity. But in the meantime, let’s cover some basic concepts.

What is Productivity and Why is it Important?

In simple terms, productivity is a measure of economic or business performance that indicates how efficiently individuals, businesses, industries, and entire economies convert inputs like labor and capital into outputs like goods or services.

What Is the Importance of Productivity?

Productivity is important in a competitive market or at work because it is a measure of efficiency. Increase your productivity, and you can earn more money — or charge lower prices and steal customers from your competitors. Conversely, if your productivity falls or rises more slowly than competitors, you may be unable to operate profitably or experience sluggish growth.

What is a Productivity Goal?

Productivity can be measured in terms of units produced, customers served, or other output measures. Setting individual employee productivity goals has the long-term effect of increasing overall company productivity, allowing a company to complete more work in the same amount of time and with the same number of employees.

Using the four characteristics of an effective goal, an example of a great productivity goal for an assembly line worker could be “to increase the number of units produced per hour by 5% between each semi-annual performance review.” A great productivity goal for a data-entry clerk might be ‘increase typing speed by five words per minute each month until reaching 60 words per minute.’

What Are the 4 Essential Components of Productivity?

If and when you decide to increase productivity in your workplace whether you work from an office space or from home, here are 4 essential components to keep in mind.

#1. Your Planning Capability (Strategically)

What are your plans for tomorrow?

On the surface, that appears to be a ridiculously simple question – but it isn’t.

As humans, we frequently set unrealistic targets and goals for ourselves, sometimes without even realizing it. As a result, it is impossible to get to the bottom of a growing to-do list.

To avoid this, make a strategic plan for each day. Write down everything you want to accomplish, then narrow it down to the tasks you know you can complete and are the most important. Everything else can be postponed.

#2. Your desire to focus (on one project at a time!)

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of productivity, but it is one that you can master over time. To stay focused, you should only work on one project at a time, which goes back to the to-do list planning mentioned earlier.

You can tackle each job one at a time if you know what you need to do each day. Instead of switching between tasks, devote all of your attention and effort to one task until it is completed. Repeat that process throughout the day, every day, and you’ll make quick work of your to-do list.

#3. Making the Best Decisions

We only have a limited amount of time to play with each day, so it stands to reason that it should be used wisely. This is only possible if you make the right decisions.

What is truly important? What tasks or projects can be postponed until tomorrow, next week, or next month? Where are you most likely to make money and please your customers?

Always prioritize what matters by selecting tasks that provide the most bang for your buck within your limited time.

#4. Your Reliability

We all work at different speeds, but keeping a consistent pace is the key to remaining productive. That could be lightning fast for you. Others may find it much slower. There is no right or wrong way; it is whatever works best for each individual. So, keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you move as long as you don’t stop doing whatever you’re doing.

How Can We Increase Your Productivity?

Try incorporating these strategies to increase your productivity and work smarter at work or in any capacity!

#1. Quit Multitasking

It can be tempting to complete several tasks at once, especially if they appear minor or simple. However, it simply does not work.

"Multitasking is not humanly possible," says neuroscience professor Earl K. Miller. 

We’re delusory if we think we can easily juggle phone calls, presentations, and eating lunch. My advice is, concentrate on one task at a time, and you’ll finish it faster.

#2. Take Frequent Breaks

We may believe that working longer hours means we are getting more done, but we never work as well when we are exhausted.

Taking regular breaks has been shown in studies to improve concentration and mood.

So, take a five-minute walk around the office, or take 15 minutes to get that mid-afternoon coffee.

#3. Establish Small Goals

Looking at our goals can be overwhelming at times. Having a number of large projects on your calendar can be stressful.

However, if you divide it into smaller tasks, you will feel more in control and be much more productive. Rather than writing “finish project,” break it down into all the tasks that will be required.

This will keep you on track in your daily activities and make larger projects seem less intimidating.

#4. Complete the Most Important Tasks When You Are Most Alert

We all put off big goals because we’re not sure we’ll be able to complete them. And by the time we get to them, we’re too exhausted from the day to give them the attention they require. That’s how projects end up extending into extra days, giving the impression that productivity has vanished.

So, understanding when and how you work best is critical to completing large projects on time. But then, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule. If you are a morning person, tackle the major tasks first thing in the morning.

#5. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule”

Fill those tiny windows with actual tasks to make the most of your time at work.

Finding and completing tasks that take two minutes or less, according to entrepreneur Steve Olenski, actually saves you time. So, if it only takes two minutes, do it now.

The two-minute rule also states that any goal or habit can be started in under two minutes. Setting new goals does not imply that you will be able to complete every task in 120 seconds, but it is the first step toward achieving them!

#6. Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

The term reactive implies that you do not use or have initiative. You let others tell you what to do and make decisions at work, while you’re the ‘doer’ who gets things done.

In contrast, the term “proactive” implies that you anticipate things, find new ways to work, and come up with new ideas on your own. Nobody needs to tell you what to do because you’re always a step ahead.

To become more proactive and use your time more productively and efficiently, not to mention impress your colleagues more, remember three key points:

  • Ask yourself what is likely to happen and make plans to deal with it before it occurs.
  • Consider the big picture and take the necessary steps ahead of time.
  • Keep your energy levels high and your game on point.

Being proactive is aided by doing something you enjoy because you will genuinely want to be the best at what you do.

#7. Make the Most of Commuting

Regardless of how you get to work – whether you drive, take the bus, bike, walk, or scoot – the average American spends more than 100 hours a year commuting.

Let’s be honest: that’s a lot of hours, and they really add up. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 139 million workers commuted in 2014. It takes an average of 26 minutes to get to work each day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year.

In one year, that equates to 29.6 billion hours, 1.2 billion days or 3.4 million years spent commuting. Consider what you could accomplish with that much time. Instead, you’re stuck on a train or stuck in traffic.

Your commute, on the other hand, is unavoidable; we all have to get to work, and while it is a chore, you have the ability to turn it into a productive time during the day. We don’t mean scrolling through your Facebook News Feed; we mean getting your workday started early.

You could, for example,

  • Plan your day – we already mentioned how important this point is for your productivity, so why not do it on your way to work?
  • Respond to emails – Begin your day by responding to all of the emails that consume your time first thing in the morning. When you get to the office, you’ll be able to begin your tasks with a clean inbox…pretty cool, right?
  • Spend time fueling your career by self-learning– Listen to a relevant podcast or read the most recent news in your field. You’ll educate yourself and get your brain going as soon as possible.

#8. Reduce Distractions

To increase your productivity at work, you must eliminate all of the things that consume your time. This could be emails, phone notifications, or social media for many of us. We’ve all become so accustomed to constantly being online, phones in hand, and looking at something that we lose track of time.

It’s also very easy to be distracted by coworkers while at work. One wants to grab a coffee with you, and the other just ‘popped in’ for a chat, all while you’re trying to focus and finish your work. All of these interruptions cause a shift in work patterns and a decrease in productivity.

So, how can you avoid these distractions? For starters, learn to work smarter rather than harder, and start setting boundaries. This could include:

  • Establishing office hours to let people know when you are and are not available by
  • turning off phone notifications.
  • Set aside time to check social media and emails so you don’t do it while working on something else.
  • To get the most out of your day and minimize distractions, use tools like BlockSite’s Scheduling and Work Mode features to work and take planned breaks. They block websites that steal your attention and thus negatively affect the increase in productivity at the workplace.

By reducing distractions, you will notice how quickly your productivity will increase, and there is no better feeling than knowing at the end of a long work day that you completed everything you needed to do.

#9. Get Adequate Sleep

Did you know that 70% of Americans admit to dozing off at work? According to a survey conducted by William A. Anthony, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Boston University’s Center for Psychological Rehabilitation, Americans sleep while working simply because they need to. People aren’t getting enough sleep because of early-morning commutes, long work hours, and too many responsibilities at home.

We’re all aware that not getting enough sleep affects our performance in all aspects of our lives. However, it has an even greater impact on our productivity in the workplace because lack of sleep affects the prefrontal cortex, which helps us with tasks that require logical reasoning and complex thought and will impair us when attempting to complete such tasks.

As a result, it is critical that we all get enough sleep every night in order to maintain peak productivity. If you’re an adult between the ages of 26 and 64, that means getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

#10. Establish Self-Imposed Deadlines

While we usually associate stress with negativity, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be beneficial in terms of providing focus and assisting us in meeting our goals.

Try setting a deadline and sticking to it for open-ended tasks or projects. You might be surprised at how focused and productive you can be when you’re looking at the clock.

#11. Simply Decline Meetings

Meetings are one of the most time-consuming activities, yet we continue to book them, attend them, and, inevitably, complain about them.

According to Atlassian, the average office worker wastes more than 31 hours per month in inefficient meetings.

Before scheduling your next meeting, consider whether you can achieve the same goals or tasks through email, phone, or a Web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive).

#12. Drop the Illusion of Perfection

Entrepreneurs frequently become fixated on attempting to perfect a task; however, nothing is ever perfect. Instead of wasting time chasing this illusion, complete your task to the best of your ability and move on.

It’s better to finish the task and get it off your plate; you can always go back and adjust or improve it later.

#13. Work in 90-Minute Increments

Researchers at Florida State University discovered that elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in 90-minute increments are more productive than those who work for more than 90 minutes. They also discovered that top performers work no more than 4.5 hours per day. That sounds good to me!

#14. Make Something Nice for Yourself to Look At

Although it may appear unlikely, some research indicates that furnishing a workplace with aesthetically delightful elements, such as plants, can increase productivity by up to 15%.

Decorate your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that makes you happy.

#15. Listen to Productivity-Boosting Music

Distractions should be avoided, but music in the background can sometimes help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be heavy rock music, but a little Beethoven might help.

#16. Plan Ahead of Time How You Will Prioritize Your Tasks

You can ensure that you complete all of your most important tasks during the day by listing them in order of importance.

Blog writing, phone calls, email, and errands can all be combined into a single batch. By completing similar tasks in a single session, you will save time. Todoist, an app that can help you organize all of those things, is one option. It’s a quick and easy way for you to plan your day, set reminders, and organize all of your most important tasks in one place.

#18. Reward Yourself for Completing a Major Task

Reward yourself every now and then to stay motivated in whatever you do.

Keep track of and celebrate your small victories and milestones. So, whenever you’re discouraged about your progress, you can look back and see how far you’ve come!

#19. Always Keep a Notebook and a Pen on Hand

This way, you can jot down your ideas, to-dos, and thoughts at any time. The important thing is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind will not be reminding you of it every second.

Another thing to think about is downloading the Evernote app. Not only will this save you ink and paper, but it will also allow you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. If you’re the type of person who has a lot of ideas that you want to share, this can be useful in some situations.

#20. Create a Blog to Document Your Personal Growth and Achievements.

The blog holds you accountable for constantly working on self-improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all of your small accomplishments, you become more motivated to move forward.

#21. As Much as Possible, Outsource

Learn to delegate or outsource work if you want to accomplish more in less time. Here are a few companies that can assist you in outsourcing your daily tasks:

  • GetFriday
  • Upwork
  • Guru.com
  • ScriptLancle

#22. Consume Podcasts

While driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner, listen to educational podcasts or audiobooks.

Audio learning has the potential to extend your day by several hours. Not to mention that your cranium will be grateful.

Best 2022 Productivity Tools

In today’s fast-paced and hectic world, you may require some tools to help you maximize your time and complete tasks in a reasonable amount of time.

These tools aid in increasing our productivity because it is difficult to stay on track when we are juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. So, thankfully, there are apps and services available to assist us.

Productivity tools are tailored to various lifestyles and interests. Here are our top 5 tools and services for helping you optimize your time and effort.

Any.do:

This app combines lists, reminders, calendars, notes, and cloud syncing. It enables you to stay organized and accomplish a great deal more. Still not convinced? It’s also won awards, which shows how good it is.

Notion:

Notion is essentially everything you need in a single tool. If you’re having trouble getting through a large number of emails or simply need to get organized, Notion can help. It analyzes and prioritizes emails for you using artificial intelligence and a proprietary algorithm.

Clockify:

This tool helps you keep track of all your time and provides insights into your productivity performance. You can choose to automatically track your time or manually enter it to see how productive you’ve been. You can also generate summary and detailed reports for all of your activities, both work-related and non-work-related.

Teamviewer:

This is a piece of software that allows teams to connect remotely in order to hold online meetings, make online presentations, and collaborate on projects. One of the most significant advantages of this tool is that it supports desktop and file sharing, as well as a remote control. You can access all data on your colleague’s computer and view all relevant documents once you have been granted permission.

Evernote:

A fantastic tool for sharing information and taking quick notes while working. These notes can be audio or video files, images, web clips, or web pages, and they can be shared and accessed from any device. To make your written notes more concise, you can add “ink” notes and draw diagrams, charts, and arrows. P.S. If you need to track your time and productivity, Clockify has an Evernote integration that allows you to track time on your notes with a single click.

Increase Productivity FAQs

What are the 4 factors that increased productivity?

The following are 4 factors that increase productivity in the workplace

  • Positive attitude and involvement of management
  • Proactive employees
  • Good working conditions
  • Tools and equipment to increase productivity

What are examples of productivity?

Productivity is the ability to create, particularly at a high quality and rapid pace. Being able to complete high-quality work projects in a short period of time is an example of productivity. Productivity can be measured by how quickly a toy factory can produce toys.

What is the best measure of productivity?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per hour worked is one of the most widely used productivity measures and a basis for an increase in productivity in the workplace. This metric better captures the use of labor inputs than output per employee.

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