By: Len Adams, CPC, CTS
You spend only a certain amount of time in the office. It would be a bad idea if your concentration is spiraling, not being able to focus on one task. You would end up missing deadlines or rushing to meet them.
Are there times when you find yourself mindlessly clicking away on your office computer browser? Alright, so you start every day with a To-Do list, but you soon find yourself becoming distracted on tasks that are the least of your priorities, or just, simply, procrastinating. Keep in mind that you are only in the office for a certain period of time during the day, so it is important to make the most out of it.
Being productive at work isn’t exactly hard; you just need to know how to increase your output. That is, you either work hard and redouble your efforts or you work smart. The latter is preferable especially in time constraints and that means, it is required that you learn how to manage your timetable.
So how do you get your focus on and get some work done? Here is the list of five easy ways to improve your productivity at work:
1. Set Your Schedules
You might say ‘Isn’t this the same as a To-Do List? You know those things don’t work for me.’ Do not assume that setting your schedules and your to-do list are the same. While the to-do list enumerates what you have to do for the day, it does not always mean that you can effectively manage your time.
Think of it as a time table on what are the tasks you should be doing by the hour. The problem with To-Do Lists is that they can be counterproductive: these lists enumerate what you have to do, but not give you the appropriate time. You cannot focus one task at hand, but instead your focus would shift to the rest of the projects you have to finish.
The human brain is a muscle and it can only really focus for 25 minutes. You may notice as time progresses, your attention and focus shifts elsewhere, like for example, the rest of the projects and what can you to finish them within the day. A time table keeps track of what you should achieve or what you are able to finish within a designated time. Finished or not, proceed to the next task. This will help you increase your productivity level and get the results that you need.
Also make sure to establish a contingency plan. There are factors such as your personal life can get in the way of your schedules.
2. Have A Routine
After you have established a schedule, it is time to establish a routine. For example, what time will you answer all your emails? What time would you be doing these sheets? What time should you take a break?
Routines may sound bland, but they can actually make you more productive. You have set your concentration and your focus on a designated field or topic. Even checking your emails, which category do you check first, sets your brain to kick start the concentration it needs. Routines actually help you condition for your day.
3. Stretch and Take a Break
Think you can get more work done by sitting on that chair until the end of your shift? Think again.
According to Dr. James Levine, sitting for a prolonged period of time can actually increase cholesterol levels and excess waistline fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and also the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Simply put: sitting for long periods of time is harmful. Spending a few hours in the gym during the weekend is not enough to deter these health risks. In a study conducted by Stockholm University doing exercise at work helps increase in productivity levels. Learn how to manage your energy and stress levels. Try taking a break after every hour to get up and stretch. One of such workplace exercise is, instead of sitting down during meetings, walk laps with your colleagues. It helps circulation and improve stamina after a long day sitting down.
4. Do Not Procrastinate
You have set a schedule and a routine for each of your task, but that does not mean that you will have that “I’ll do it tomorrow instead’ attitude. That is no longer time management; that is called procrastinating.
You only stay in the workplace for a certain period of time so learn how much work you can do it that shift. Making time and learning how to manage your tasks, helps you increase your productivity levels, and helps you minimize your distractions. Discipline yourself to not put off tasks to the next day. Learn to do them now efficiently.
5. Do Not Stop Learning and Improving
Being productive is a learning process. It is not just about making time tables or routines, but it builds your character on how to discipline yourself to overcome any obstacle. Improving your productivity and your schedules may not remain the same; it is about overcoming challenges and hardships, avoiding bad habits, and finding ways to achieve your goals efficiently. Always keep your mind open, accept challenges, appreciate your success and even your failures.
Improving your productivity at work is not at all hard to learn. Always remember to work hard and to work smart.