Skills Productivity

What is productivity & ways to improve it?

different productivity improving ways

If there is one thing people struggle to attain as much as, if not more than, the indefinable happiness, it is how to improve productivity. If you feel like you do not have much time to do things that you want to do, maybe it is time to work with your time management skills. No one is perfect at time management, so that is alright if you think you are not an expert in it. But everyone can learn ways to increase productivity at work and achieve positive results! Let us find out tips to improve productivity.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is a concept that is generally misunderstood. One of the main reasons is that we use the word, “productivity” on a micro and macro scale. In the news, we read about employee productivity, which is generally the aggregate output of all employees.

Employee productivity evaluates the outputs of workers in any business. This can either be done quantitatively, by following the time and costs to compare that against the results, or business can approach it in a general and quantifiable way.

Workplace and employee efficiency are somewhat like breathing. You must be aware of the ways to enhance employee productivity as it plays a vital role in keeping the company thriving and alive.

ways to improve productivity

Most of us are not as productive mainly due to two reasons: We have bad habits that affect our workplace productivity and we are more reactive instead of proactive. Ways to boost productivity are simple, though not easy. We can change our bad habits and reactive patterns with good habits that will make us active and take charge of our own work. Follow these easy ways to improve productivity and your work.

Tips to Improve Productivity

Set a timer

Settling on the task takes practice and discipline. One of the best ways to increase your efficiency at work is to time each task of yours. In fact, you must assign a time limit for each task. To keep you on a task, set a timer for about 5,10 or 30 minutes for the task you are planning to complete.

Take frequent breaks

You might think it is counter intuitive, but taking short breaks between your work boosts concentration, creativity as well as memory. Working continuously for a long period of time causes stress, decision fatigue, and exhaustion. If you want to know how to increase productivity at work, then you should take frequent breaks as these refreshes and refuels your mind.

Be away from all kinds of distractions

There can be many distractions like seeing email notifications, attending phone calls, and opening multiple web browsers on the desktop. To improve concentration, it is better to stay away from your phone. It has been noted that people check their phones frequently, which distracts them and thus, hampers their entire output.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking kills productivity. Research proves that efficiency can be lessened by as much as 40% by the mental blocks produced when people switch to different tasks. There is no need of doing everything at once. Instead, it is advised to concentrate on only one assignment at a time.

Track how much time you spend on each task

One of the important tips to improve productivity is to track the time how much you spend on every task. However, some research suggests that nearly 17 percent of people can estimate the passage of time accurately. A tool named Rescue Time can help by allowing you to know how much time you spend on your daily tasks, including email, social media, apps, and word processing.

Set self-imposed deadlines

While we generally consider stress as a bad thing, a controllable level of self-imposed stress can prove to be helpful in terms of providing us with focus and assisting us to meet our objectives. For open-ended projects or tasks, try giving yourself a deadline, and then follow it. For open-ended projects or tasks, try to give yourself a deadline, and then follow it. You may be surprised to find out how productive and focused you can be when you work by watching the clock.

Say no to meetings

Meetings are one of the biggest time-sucks around, yet somehow, we continue to unthinkingly book and attend them, and complain about them. Studies have proved that an average office worker spends around 31 hours every month in unproductive meetings, Before you book your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can achieve the same tasks or goals through phone, email, or web-based meeting.

Use your commute time positively

While traveling, instead of playing games in mobile or browsing Facebook, use that time to check your email, create a to-do list, or you can do some brainstorming for the day to day activities that are assigned to you.

Switch off the notifications

No one can resist the allure of a voicemail, an email, or any text notification. During the working hours, turn off your notifications, and rather fix a time to check your messages and email. These all part of being proactive instead of being reactive.

Work in a 90-minute interval

Researchers at Florida State University have found that elite performers including chess players, athletes, and musicians who work in intervals of 90 minutes are more productive compared to those who work continuously without ant intervals. They also discovered that top-performing subjects tend to work not over 4.5 hours every day.  

Reduce interruptions

Having a colleague disturb you during the work may seem harmless, but even short interruptions can bring a change in the work pattern and lower your productivity. Reducing interruptions may signify fixing office hours, keeping your cabin closed, or working from home from time-sensitive projects. If you want to increase your productivity, avoid the temptation of putting long hours or pack more things in your already-filled work calendar. As an alternative, take a step back and thinking about the different ways using which you can work in a smart way, rather than working harder.

Have something nice to look at

It is one of the significant tips to improve productivity. It may sound unlikely to many, but research shows that outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements like, for example, plants can boost productivity by nearly 15 percent. Decorate your office space with some candles, pictures, or flowers. These things will bring a smile on your face. You can use different ideas to increase your happiness quotient at work.

Reward yourself after finishing a task

To keep yourself motivated, you must reward yourself. It is one of the vital tips to improve productivity. For this, it is important to keep track of all your small achievements and milestones and celebrate them. So, whenever you fight about your progress, you see how much success you have achieved.

Simplify your space

Before you start anything else, spare a few moments at the start of your day to arrange and de-clutter your workspace. Having a clutter-free environment assists you to think more clearly and produce exceptional results. By cleaning and organizing your workspace, you can improve your productivity and restrict the time that you spend in searching for items.

Plan your phone calls

Would not it be great to have a personal secretary so you could say, “please hold my calls”, while you are busy with something? Well, you can manage your phone calls yourself and the result is attaining huge profits in productivity.

Unless you are expecting an important call, turn off your phone when you are about to start your work so that you can be attentive to your work. Then, keep a structured time to make outgoing calls so that you spend less time to reach people and more time in productive discussions.

If you are working on something that does not need much attention from your side, then leave your phone on and take calls. This will save you from having a bunch of phone calls to come back at some point during the day. But, as soon as you feel the phone is becoming a distraction, stop using it.

Add live plants or pops of color

Color can have an important effect on your productivity and mood during your entire day. Blue can bring a calming effect and can help you to focus, whereas red may be great for work that needs attention and accuracy to detail. Plants can improve your focus. A study from Washington State University found that employees who kept plants in a windowless space said that they felt less stressed and productive.   

several ways to improve productivity

Adorn your workspace

In addition to adding some plants and color to your workspace, decorating your cubicle or desk with a few personal figurines can help you to feel relaxed, which can improve your productivity. Adding significant career mementos, like diplomas, awards, and other decorative elements that help you to feel respected and serve to inspire you.   

Always carry a notebook and pen with you

If you carry a notebook and pen with you, then you can write down your ideas, to-do’s, and thoughts anytime. The idea is to get everything out of your head on the paper. Your subconscious mind will not remind you regarding this every other second.

Have the right tools

Giving employees the right equipment and tools is important so that they can perform their duties on time. There is nothing more counterproductive than spending much time waiting for the paper to print as you have not got a fast printing tool.

High-quality, modern tools and equipment create a huge difference not only to the workforce but also to how your brand is perceived. You can save both your effort and time by using tools like MFP, which can be used as a scanner, printer, or a fax machine.

Provide support and set realistic goals

One of the common problems managers face is they do not have an idea of whether their employees are high-performing or not. Do your staff require an incentive to stay on the right track? Assist them by providing goals that can be achieved easily. Offer clear direction to the employees and supervisors to clarify their expectations. This will help to improve their productivity, as they will have clear goals and focus.

Walk around

Exercise is not only good for your body, but it has a positive effect on one’s work performance also. Physical exercises can affect both focus and mental health. How can you feel sharper and be more productive? In the morning, try to go for a run or do some exercises in the morning. Exercising is never harmful to your body.

Listen to some relaxing music

Wearing headphones does not always prove that you are an anti-social animal. While working, listen to your favorite songs. This will relax and freshen up your mind. However, be careful. While music can be a relief to you, some may find it a distraction.

Change locations

If your employer permits, for some time during the week trying to work in a different environment. Experts believe that a change of scenery can be of great help in boosting your productivity. You can go to the library or local park or look for a place that is comparatively quiet and has a lot of natural light. This can help you to think about new ideas or shed new light on older problems.

Take control of your schedule

Staying productive, calm, and clear-headed is about feeling in full control. Whether you are delegating tasks to others or fixing certain time limits for interruptions, you are taking backspace in your schedule to handle the things you have considered significant.

Avoid fatigue and burnout is important to improve your productivity and memory retention. You can do all of this by just changing the direction of your day instead of letting the direction of your day control your further actions.

Eat healthy foods

One of the important tips to improve productivity that everyone must keep in mind is to eat healthy foods. What you eat matters a lot. If you consume too much junk food, then you can end up feeling sleepy. To avoid this, have healthy and nutritious snacks. Avoid working on an empty stomach. Afternoon snacking is a golden opportunity to give your body an energy boost.

Practice meditation

One of the significant tips to improve productivity that everyone must follow is to practice meditation. Using social media, multitasking, and engaging in various other distractions can avoid you from accomplishing what you must do in a reasonable time.

Keep your focus on your current task to complete the things efficiently. One of the ways to make this simpler is to practice meditation every day. This will give you enough space and time to focus on one task, i.e. breathing and you can carry this energy with you for the rest of the day.

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