How much of your workday is spent productively? Getting the most out of your working day isn’t always straight forward but there are plenty of quick ways to improve your productivity. We’ve collected some of our favourite tips and pieces of advice to help boost your office productivity with a few easy steps.
Don’t juggle, commit!
While it’s a common belief that the ability to multi-task is an important skill, when it comes to the office the opposite may actually be the case. Psychologists have found that when attempts to carry out several tasks at once are more likely to result in lost time and productivity. The best advice is to commit to a single task before moving on to your next project and not try juggling multiple tasks.
The importance of planning can’t be overstated. Before your day starts, try getting to your desk 10 minutes early and write out your day’s To-Do list before it begins, it’ll help keep you focused and on track. Don’t make it too long and set your three most important tasks down at the top.
The 2 Minute Rule
While having a daily To-Do list is a great idea, we all know how many little tasks arrive in the course of a day so what about those? Put them on the bottom of the list? Ignore them? Well, it’s recommended to implement the 2 Minute Rule; if you see a task or action that can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it immediately. Completing the task straight away – aside from the satisfaction of having done so – will take less time than having to go back to it later.
Track and Limit Time Spent on Tasks
Be it ‘2 Minute Rule’ actions or longer tasks, research suggests only around 17% of people can accurately estimate the passage of time. There are plenty of apps and online tools that’ll help you work out exactly how much time you’re spending on your daily tasks and, once you do, you’ll be able to better plan and schedule your tasks.
Take a Break
Yes, it may sound counter-intuitive given the points above but research shows that scheduling in regular breaks into your day can help improve concentration, with short breaks during long tasks helping you maintain a constant level of performance whereas tackling long tasks without them will result in a steady decline in output.
How often do you check your email? Every 10 minutes? What if you’re waiting for someone important to reply? Every couple of minutes with the odd click of “Refresh”?
Even if you’re a quick responder, the chances of someone getting back to you right away are very slim and all that checking of the inbox is doing is detracting from time spent on other tasks.
Try allotting 2-3 time periods in your day for checking email. It’s very rare that an email needs an immediate answer and you’ll be able to pay attention to the other tasks in hand instead.
Organise Your email
During one of those time periods allocated to email checking you can also increase your sanity and easy of using your inbox by keeping it organised – especially if you get a lot of messages each day. Make use of the folders and filters to keep it organised and it’ll help your productivity like having a tidy desk. If you can achieve Inbox Zero you may just reach a level of office zen.
An easy and efficient way to keep yourself happily involved in your tasks throughout the day is to shift your focus between tedious and repetitive tasks and those that are more engaging. When planning your day, give each category a time frame and alternate between the two task types for best results.
Keeping hydrated is important for an array of health reasons as well as productivity by helping us to perform better mentally and physically. But it can be hard to remember to stay hydrated. Fill a personal water bottle and keep it with you – this will prevent you from having to get up repeatedly to get more water while ensuring you stay hydrated during the day.