You know what they say, time is money — so make every minute of your workday count. But you also know that’s easier said than done. Last-minute requests, changes in schedules or meetings and other unexpected workday occurrences don’t always make it easy to be as productive and efficient as you want to be.
There are also days when you’re overloaded and overwhelmed, wishing you were on an island somewhere instead of at your desk, having a hard time staying focused. But rewiring your brain in these instances to stay on track and get your work completed in a timely manner can be good for your health, and your job.
These tips to boost productivity at work can help you stay efficient and get the job done right.
1. Track Your Time On Tasks
Be aware of how much time you spend on different tasks, including email and meetings. Tools like Toggl and RescueTime can help you determine how many minutes (or hours) you devote to each daily task, so you know what areas are taking up the most time and in some cases, more time than they should.
2. Take Breaks
Giving your brain a break throughout the day is good for creativity and clarity. You may feel like you’re hitting a wall on a task, and after taking a break, you can come back to it with a clear mind and a new perspective. Taking breaks increases motivation, and can help you be at your peak performance when you return to completing work.
3. Limit Meetings
Meetings are a great way to come to decisions and move projects forward. But sometimes not everyone who was called to a meeting needs to be there, resulting in lost time they could have spent working instead. Atlassian's awesome graphic shows an average of 31 hours per month are lost to meetings about topics that could have been covered in an email, phone call or quick chat. Look at your calendar and check in with other team members to see if you really need to be at a meeting or if you can catch a recap later and get back to what really needs to be done.
We don’t mean a full-blown aerobic session during work hours, but there are some subtle ways to get your blood moving throughout the day, which in turn energizes your brain. Instead of messaging a colleague, get up and walk over to their desk to talk to them in person. On your lunch break, walk to the local cafe instead of driving. Do a few jumping jacks in the break room. Look for ways to incorporate movement into your regular daily habits and you will start to notice a gradual boost in productivity.
5. Block Off Time for Certain Tasks
It’s a good idea to only devote certain times of the day for some of your regular daily tasks, so it doesn’t take over your day and derail your schedule. Answering emails and voicemails are two activities you should limit to checking once in the morning and once in the afternoon so you can spend the rest of your time focused on other projects.
6. Minimize Interruptions
While this is not always easy to do, a few tricks can help you avoid being interrupted when you’re in the middle of a task. If you’ve got a tight deadline to meet and need absolute silence, see if you can work from home until the task is completed. Go into the office a few minutes early to get a head start on your tasks, or go into an empty conference room and close the door if you don’t have your own office. If you do have an office, keeping your door closed to focus will help keep office chatter at bay.
Being more productive will not only have a positive impact on your daily work activity, it will positively impact your mood. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment, so try these tips to restructure your workday and increase your productivity levels. For more tips on workplace wellness and other health and wellness insights, subscribe to our Healthy Living blog.