To be more productive at work is to get more tasks and duties done at the right time and in the right way.
Being more productive at work starts with having the intention to be productive. The yardstick of productivity at work will always vary between the time allocated for a given task and the end result one aims to achieve through it. I know that guilty feeling of leaving a report undone, an invoice not approved, or a meeting not communicated.
First things first, what does it mean to be productive at work?
In a workspace, one’s productivity will be reflected by the efficiency by which a given task is completed. So we know that for you to be productive, there is a key factor of time that determines efficiency and effectiveness that weighs the results. Therefore, to be more productive at work would simply require more efficiency and more effectiveness. More of you.
The ultimate goal of every working person is to close the day when all the planned tasks are done and ticked off the to-do list. Here are 5 simple things you can do every day to be more productive at work.
1. Plan your day
This comes in first on our list. As they say, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Let us jog through a typical working day; you reach work on time, settle in at your desk, open your laptop then what? The next thing to do is get a sticky note, jot down your key tasks of the day, find out what is urgent in line of time, and set the ball rolling.
I, for one, think writing these tasks down kickstarts your brain in the morning compared to typing them or something. Pin it on your table or board and every time you finish a task, tick it off.
If you are in an entry-level position where you are reporting to someone, it is key that you inquire from your manager or supervisor about the important tasks of the day. This is likely to score you some points. Back to business, ask your supervisor if there are pending tasks or something urgent you should work on. When you fully consider the influencing parties to your daily tasks, you are now headed to making your work day more fruitful making you more productive.
2. One task, at a time
If you find yourself failing to get more work done in the day, revisit all the tasks you wanted to do; how many they were, the time spent on each task, and the status of each one. It is very likely that you take on multiple tasks and end up completing none. You know very well that you cannot serve two masters at once, so why not do one task at a time. As we mentioned earlier in planning your day, after all the tasks are noted down in the line of priority, start with one until it’s complete.
3. Understand your energy-flow
Are you a morning or afternoon person? I understand some people do not fall in any bracket. But there is no way out here. To be more productive at work will require you to understand the hours at which you are on top of your game. If it is morning, then prioritize the important tasks for the morning. This will help you handle the tasks that need the very sober part of you, and then those you can do while in rest mode.
When you apply this tip, you will greatly improve your general performance at work.
4. Breathe for a moment
This does not mean that your work is suffocating you. Taking a minute or two to refocus your mind is actually good for you. For workplaces surrounded by great sceneries, a look at the flowers or gardens around you can actually be resting to the eyes. Personally, I always take a look at the road, look at a few cars, think of my dream car, and then get back to work. The energy of revisiting your dreams and knowing that you need to achieve them by getting some work done will do you good.
In liberal workplaces, you can listen to a song or two. Make sure your song choice will not bring back those memories of that breakup or else listening to music will be a bad resting idea.
5. Delegate tasks
If you are a supervisor or manager, do not play the hero role here. Put your team to work and delegate the tasks at hand. It is important to remember that before you delegate these tasks, know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help you give the right task to the right person.
However, if you aim to be more productive, follow up on the tasks you have delegated. Do not just throw in the towel because someone is getting the work done. To control the results you are to get, you need to supervise the process. Please do not confuse supervision with micro-management at work!
Bonus: Revisit your daily tasks
At the end of the day, let us go back to our to-do list. This will always help us to know how productive we have been during the day.
What did we complete? What is left pending and why? When all these questions are answered, today’s to-do list will be a blueprint for tomorrow's plan. Therefore, before you begin your tasks the next day, look through your list from the previous day and carry forward the pending tasks. Disclaimer! Do not make it a habit of carrying forward your tasks unless when it is necessary.
“If there are nine rabbits on the ground and you want to catch one, just focus on one.” – Jack Ma.
Also read: How to make your job more exciting