A warm welcome to the how to be more productive at work section of the web site. Everyone loves a productive individual and that goes especially true for managers and customers.
Being more productive usually gets noticed. It can lead to bigger and better roles, more responsibility, more recognition and it can even lead to more pay in some situations. So it’s generally a good thing to be more productive at work.
But how exactly do you become more productive at work?
Below is a list of ideas and techniques for you to consider. Please take a look and let me know via the comments section if any of them work for you. Also please let me know your ideas for how to be more productive at work and I will try and incorporate them into this page. Now for the list…
How to be more productive at work…
- Thin slice – Thin slicing is a technique predominantly used to overcome procrastination. The basic idea is to take a task that you’ve been putting off starting and write down the most basic and simple task that you can think of that may advance you forward with the task in some small way. So for example if you have to create a PowerPoint presentation for your latest product launch or budget update, etc. Your thin slice task might be to simply open PowerPoint and write the title of your presentation on the front page. After completing this simple task usually you will find it will lead you to more productive efforts, but if not – no sweat – simply sit back and think of another small simple task that will progress you a little bit further forward.
(Photo Credit: Robert Tewart)
- Block off your time – This technique simply involves making more time for yourself to be more productive. How many times do you take a look at your calendar and think how am I going to get anything done. I’m sure you know the situation, your calendar is full of back to back meetings. You have a massive to-do list. One or two of your tasks have fast approaching deadlines. And you simply don’t know when you’re going to be able to complete them. With this technique you make time for yourself by blocking off your calendar at the start of the week. Simply use your calendar to book meetings with yourself. Use this time to work on your high priority tasks. Make sure you don’t book off all of your time though! You still need some time where you can be available for meetings with your peers, subordinates and other key stakeholders.
- Know where you spend your time – If you want to get more productive then a good place to start is to gain an understanding of just how productive you currently are. To do this you need to get a better understanding of how you spend your time. Start keeping a detailed diary or log of your working day. Split your working day into either 30 minute or 15 minute segments. Record what you did against each segment. Next record the value level of that activity. Was the value high, medium, low or none? Evaluate based on how far the task enabled you to complete your job goals or how far you feel it added actual value to your organisation. Next analyse your activity log. How much time did you spend doing low value activities? Is it what you expected? Where can you improve? Are there any tasks that you can eliminate or delegate? Are you switching between tasks often? Can you minimize this switching? Can you reduce the time spent on personal activities?
- Plan – Plan – Put a realistic plan together. To do lists can often be daunting. Choose one or two tasks that either have a high priority or that you really want to get out of the way. Then put pen to paper or get your planning software started up and put a realistic plan together. Make sure it’s achievable in the time frame that you’ve set yourself.
(Photo Credit: Teresa Robinson)
- Delegate – You can’t do everything yourself so if you’re lucky enough to have a team delegate some of your work. Don’t make the mistake of delegating all the stuff that you simply don’t want to do. Look for tasks that will challenge your subordinates and help them grow in their careers. Also, remember that once you have delegated a task you need to trust the assigned individual to crack on with it. Try not to interfere. Let that person make decisions and choose the best course of action. Have an open door policy. Make it clear that you’re available for advice and then only offer advice when asked.
- Eliminate distractions – You’re unlikely to get much done if you’re constantly getting distracted. So eliminate those distractions. Close your browser and email client. Some people only check / send emails at certain times in the day. Block off your calendar and if you can. Set your office phone to go directly through to voicemail. If you work in a noisy environment and can work with music then invest in some noise cancelling headphones and work while listening to your favourite tracks.
Have a break – It’s very difficult for anyone to concentrate for longer than 45 minutes at a time. So bear this in mind and take frequent breaks. At the very least you might want to force yourself to do nothing for two minutes!
(Photo Credit: birgerking)