- Guest Post
- Work Advice
How To Be More Productive At Work By Quest Professional Principal, Claire Granados
Do you have days at work when you feel you’ve not really got anything done? Do you start the day with a plan, but soon find yourself becoming distracted and procrastinating? Here are my key tips for regaining control of your time so you can get the most out of your working day.
1. Focus on the most important tasks first
Take a few minutes at the beginning of your day to identify up to three tasks that you need to complete by close of play. Deciding what are the most important goals and challenging yourself to get these done and dusted, will give you renewed focus to make sure you stay on track.
2. Keep a distraction list
Distractions are the worst enemy of productivity. Emails, social media and other unending temptations make it hard to maintain efficient work habits. To help with this, try keeping a list to hand while you’re working. Whenever a distracting thought or idea pops into your head, write it down on the list and then get back to work. You can come back to your list at a later time and gives those thoughts and ideas your full attention.
3. Divide bigger tasks into smaller pieces
Give procrastination the boot by breaking large, daunting tasks into a smaller list of to-dos. This will help you get started and also to get things done faster as you don’t need to think about where to start.
4. Take breaks
Even a short break of a few minutes can help to recharge and refresh your mind so you are able to be more efficient and come up with new ideas. It’s always better to schedule a break and make it structured and deliberate, rather than labelling distractions such as email or social media as a break.
5. Eliminate inefficient communication
Email is the worst culprit when it comes to an unproductive day. If you have your inbox constantly open and respond to every email as it comes in, you are your own worst enemy! Try minimising or turning off your emails, checking them only at specified points in the day and for limited lengths of time. Another way to improve in this area is to ensure your emails are effectively and precisely written. This may mean that you spend a little longer writing them, but if your message is clear, you will ultimately save time by not having to responding to numerous queries about it.
6. Find repeatable shortcuts
You will probably have a number of routine tasks at work which you have to repeat over and over again. Finding faster ways to clear these things from your to-do list will do wonders for your productivity. Learning how to use keyboard shortcuts is a great way to speed things up, as is increasing your touch-typing speed. Creating standard operating procedures for common tasks is a brilliant way to come up with a series of checklists which you can easily follow to help you motor through the day.
7. Manage your energy
You need to be awake and alert to use your time at work productively. Having time to complete tasks is not the only important thing, you also need enough energy to be able to see them through. Tackling challenging tasks earlier in the day is one way of approaching this. You are less likely to be tired and you will feel more motivated to complete the work.
8. Get better at saying no
Saying no is hard and it’s not something that we are usually trained to do in the workplace. However, if you always agree to everything, it’s easy to end up overcommitted, stressed and not able to get anything done at all. Having less to do means being able to spend your time focusing on the important things you have to do and being much more productive overall.
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