You know you have a task that needs completing, but you also know that your portion isn’t needed until Friday, and today is Wednesday. So you trick yourself into thinking that, surely, there will be time to complete the task at a later date. Then Friday rolls around, and you scramble to finish, all the while cursing yourself for not having planned better and earlier. Not only do you finish the week stressed, but you’re also dreading the next week because the weekend will be over far too quickly and the pattern seems destined to repeat itself. It’s time to stop dreading and start doing.
Here are five tips for improving your productivity in the workplace.
Establish routines. Your working day starts the moment your feet touch the ground. If you start your day late, the rest of the day will be spent playing catch up. According to Dr. Alva Noe, professor of philosophy at the University of California-Berkeley, habit plays a more important role in shaping our minds than we realize. Establishing routines around the way you carry out regular tasks makes you more efficient and productive.
Make a 5-minute To-Do List. Imagine its 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. You’ve been in the office since 9 a.m., you’ve had a late lunch, and you find your mind wandering — perhaps to a beach with a nice hammock, a pina colada and a light breeze. For some reason, you now neither have the energy nor the desire to continue working. When you don’t have the energy to start a major task or you find your energy waning, Carson Tate, productivity expert and founder of Working Simply, suggests using a five-minute list. This is a to-do list of easy, low-intensity tasks that you can do in less than five minutes. One might be an Internet search. You might try printing out and sorting documents or checking email. Using the list can help you be productive even during the times you are having difficulty concentrating. By creating and executing your mini list, you’ll feel the satisfaction of accomplishment and avoid the feelings of guilt and frustration so often associated with workplace fatigue.
Learn that it’s OK to say No. The worst things you can do in the workplace are over-promise and underperform. Too often, we get caught up in wanting our colleagues to like us and our boss to praise us. This leads us to accept tasks we don’t have the time for. Avoid disappointment by graciously declining an extra task or project. It doesn’t make you appear any less competent or hard-working but will make you balanced. Steve Jobs said that what ultimately made Apple successful was choosing not which projects to pursue but which projects to ignore.
Attitude is everything. According to Happify, happy workers are 31 percent more productive than unhappy ones. It might seem obvious, but if you are happy in your life, you’re more likely to carry that positivity into the workplace and be more productive because of it. Therefore, capitalize on your personal happiness, and turn it into productivity.
Use Social Media. Everyone knows that social media is the epitome of procrastination and an enemy of the workplace. Right? Maybe not. According to a study by Microsoft, 46 percent of workers say their productivity has improved thanks to social media and social media tools. At least one-third wish their organizations’ management would embrace social media in the workplace in order to increase productivity. Of course, how you use social media is critical. Consider using social media rather than a company newsletter. Facebook pages, blogs and company websites allow employees to easily access current information on new company events, projects, policy or other helpful information.
By Madison Savoie for Progress Through Business
Here are some great infographics with ideas to improve your productivity Act Now