In the currently prevailing workplace scenario, we often come to see that sometimes, employees are dissatisfied with their day’s work. Everyday hindrances, technical or otherwise, affect their motivation levels. At times, they may even doubt their abilities at succeeding at the job.
But when an employee winds up the day’s work feeling high and satisfied, it’s just like a dream come true. One of the definitions of productivity at work is successfully winding up all of the stipulated tasks for the day by the end of the day. Similarly, doing the work efficiently and creatively also matters. This induces joy when one is all set to wind up and leave the workplace for the day.
So what is it that induces productivity at work? If you believe that there is a scope for change in the way your workday goes, there are certain ways to introduce that change. There are two primary reasons why a majority of us are unable to be as productive at work as we would like to be. There are cases wherein we have undesirable habits that hamper our workplace productivity. Similarly, when one becomes reactive instead of being proactive, it influences one’s motivation towards one’s goals.
The right way to go about the issue is to do away with any undesirable habits and reactive patterns. When they are replaced with good habits, it makes one proactive and gives a tremendous boost to productivity. But one does come to realize that this initiative is difficult to act and work upon.
By following the tips mentioned below, an employee is empowered to boost his productivity to the max and presents his best foot forward
- The right time to do mentally stimulating tasks
When you come to realise that certain workplace tasks fatigue you out quicker than others, those tasks should be conducted at a time when you are mentally at the top of your game.
Certain tasks, such as doing routine chores or answering emails take a toll on one’s energy levels. One can come across numerous articles on the internet that state that these tasks are best avoided during mornings.
During the mornings, it is preferable to do the creative tasks that do not drain one’s energy levels. This works particularly well when one is a morning person.
Ideally, at the workplace, mornings are best availed of focusing on oneself and the tasks that are high on creativity. Consuming a healthy breakfast helps keep the day productive.
- Multitasking is not always productive
When people switch tasks, it tends to create mental blocks and productivity reduces by as much as 40%. This is often the case with the subjects who use multiple devices for doing their work. Some studies even show that men find it more difficult to multitask as compared to women.
There is further evidence that multitasking reduces the grey matter density in a particular area of the brain, anterior cingulate cortex. This portion of the brain is associated with decision making and empathy. It regulates emotional control as well.
Therefore, it may be preferable to stop multitasking when at your workplace. To increase productivity, it may be better to focus on one task at a time.
- Have a to-do list ready before you each day
To-do lists are priceless for boosting productivity. They help organize the day’s work better. One is sure regarding the focus areas and completion of tasks results in a feeling of satisfaction.
Similarly, upon the completion of tasks, one can check the items off his list.
Tasks such as creating checklists are best done beforehand, preferably before retiring for bed, when you go to work on the following day. Otherwise, one is likely to spend a section of the morning contemplating where he left the work and what should he do next.
Similarly, if you need to consult with your colleague over any matter on the following day, you can mention that in your list as well. This puts one in a position to headstart the day in the finest fashion.
Sometimes, when people jot down tasks, this helps finish the work when in office, because half the work is already done in their minds.
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- Be careful in defining your to-do list
Different people have a different number of items on their to-do list. Some have five while others have twenty-five.
It is a great feeling to finish working on one item, and crossing it off the list. The feeling is greater still when all items are crossed off the list. It does not matter how many items are there in total.
Creating to-do lists highlights focus areas. This has game-changing implications over work productivity. Let us consider an instance that supports this criterion. Steve Jobs once insisted that Apple should produce just four different kinds of computer, instead of the elaborate catalogue that his advisors suggested. This helps define Apple Inc.’s current market position.
Upon focusing on fewer tasks, you make sure that they are accomplished very well. This brings success to your work and your organization.
There is another nice incident from Steve Job’s career which highlights the importance of focusing on core activities. After jobs achieved success, he used to take his top 100 people for a retreat every year.
On the last day of the retreat, he would position himself before a whiteboard. Then he would ask his colleagues, what are the top 10 things that we should be doing next?
People were always eager to share suggestions. Jobs would cancel the items he would find dumb. After great difficulty, they would arrive at a set of top 10 things they should be doing. Then he would cross out the last 7 and say, we can do only 3.
So we see that being focused implies that the number of tasks that one undertakes should be limited. When one makes a to-do list, one should consider how important the tasks on the list are. Similarly, one has to consider the tasks over which one can make a significant progress over, or accomplish on the following day.
- Effective delegation of responsibilities
Unless the nail gun is good, driving nails will be a difficulty. Similarly, unless responsibilities are delegated effectively, completing tasks will be difficult. On the other hand, when the delegation of responsibilities is proper, it makes a job quicker and easier.
In the present day scenario, we find that several managers shirk the task of delegating responsibilities, because with delegation closely similar to micromanagement. Once a manager delegates responsibilities, his work increases because he is required to supervise his colleague’s work, which is micromanagement.
It is important to recognize that delegation is dissimilar from micromanagement. When one closely supervises a colleague’s work, it is micromanagement, not delegation.
On the other hand, proper delegation of work grants one more time to spend over one’s work. This will be the case of responsible delegation – the right work given to the right person. Such a person would have the skill sets to accomplish the work effectively, so one can leave it up to them. Effective delegation hence boosts work productivity.
- Do away with distractions
An important tip in being more productive is being sure about the areas wherein you would want to focus your attention to, and where you don’t. This can be explained by the means of a story.
It is easy to lay your attention over Turkeys because Turkeys are all around. They demand attention by making noises and pecking around.
But the truth is that Turkeys do not require your attention and are better off without the same. In the same way, you too will not be benefited by giving attention to Turkeys.
You should instead lay attention over Eagles. When you feed the Eagles, few other things will matter. Recognize what it means to be an Eagle, so when you see one, you recognize one.
Eagles are not necessarily as easy to find as Turkeys. So look out for Eagles and feed them.
Focus is an exceedingly important factor associated with productivity. One needs to identify, not just the areas where he needs to lay his focus (Eagles), but also the areas where he should not lay his focus (Turkeys).
In the current work scenarios, the areas that should be able to do well without attention are email and social media. Shutting down the noise from these channels is likely to make you more productive.
You will come to realize that upon shutting down phone and email notifications, your work efficiency enhances.
Even someone who is addicted to social media can be productive at the workplace. Budget your time for Facebook and Twitter, and stay logged on only for a predefined number of minutes. Do it for a change, after you achieve an important milestone in your work. You can then get back to your work, and work with full efficiency and productivity.
- Keep phone calls planned
If you had a personal secretary, you could tell her to hold your calls while you worked on something important. Numerous among us somehow do not have the luxury.
But we can nevertheless manage our phone calls for ourselves, and when this management is right, the effects on our productivity are commendable.
So unless you are expecting a call critical in nature, turn your phone off. This will offer sufficient room for you to work over a project that requires your attention.
Then one should structure one’s time in such a way that one can make outgoing calls. By organizing calling time, you’d come to realize that you are not wasting time trying to reach out to people. The processes happen quicker, and the conversations are more productive.
However, when you work over something that does not call for outright attention on your part, it is a fine idea to keep the phone on and answer the calls. This is also a method that boosts your productivity for later, and you would not have to make a short list of phone calls for later on. You’d save some additional time in the process as well.
When phone calls become distractions, it is better to steer clear of them.
- Making exercise a part of your workplace routine
Physical activity is known to enhance brain function. With the additional brainpower at disposal, one can concentrate better and makes the working hours more productive. One is more creative and learns quicker.
Another advantage of getting some exercise during work hours is that it makes one more social. One gets along easier with others. A study conducted by Leeds Metropolitan University showed that 65% of employees who used the company gym during lunch hours had improved interactions with their colleagues.
Overall, it is important to get some sort of exercise in a day, even while you don’t get it during office hours. Exercise should not be viewed as something that takes us away from our work. Physical activity should instead be seen as a part of the work itself.
In the absence of exercise, one may be faced with difficulties such as forgetting stuff frequently and processing information slower. Frustration levels also tend to be higher when one does not get sufficient exercise as a part of one’s routine, and the effects further transcend to one’s social skills. So while it is feasible, one should try and make exercise a part of one’s routine, especially at the workplace.
- Optimism makes one more productive
The people who are most productive at a workplace are the ones who are the happiest. If we consider the case of call centres, the employees who are optimistic achieve maximum sales and receive the most bonuses.
The highest levels of success are achieved by the employees who were inherently optimistic. It augured well for their success at the workplace.
Even while one is not inherently optimistic, this is definitely one of the qualities that you would want to cultivate. This works in all spheres of work, especially the ones that involve customer service and public interaction.
One builds optimism towards all aspects of life by offering social support to others. This may come in the format of doing chores for others, inviting coworkers for lunch, and organizing office activities. This boosts the productivity in personal work, and also enhances the odds of getting a promotion by as much as 40%.