Five Sanity-Saving Productivity Tips That Changed My Life This Year
“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.”
-Franz Kafka, writer
“How to do more in the limited time I have? Are there any quick productivity tips that can help?” This was the first thing on my mind when the year 2020 started. Like some of my fellow corporate managers from different industries, I had made a list of new year resolutions and improving my productivity at work featured on the top.
The one thing that was on my mind, however, was the many times I had seen my friends and family members give up on their resolutions even before starting working on it. No way I was joining them.
While I was adamant on improving my productivity, I realized that this goal will not be achieved unless I bring some crucial changes to my daily routine at work. I could only think of one thing -old ways won’t open new doors?
So how do you increase productivity at work? Many professionals think that the answer lies in practicing a plethora of activities and secrets that are quite tough to accomplish.
Well, guess what — that’s not true. I am sharing some ridiculously simple, yet effective tips that are easy to implement in no time. I attribute my improved productivity and success at work this year solely to these tips, but I won’t keep the magic mantra to myself.
I want you to benefit from these proven tips to become more efficient in what you do. So, let’s get started on the way to be more productive!
Tip#1 — Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail
I am sure you don’t want to be one of those professionals who fail to perform because of poor, or worse, no planning. Mark my words — “You won’t reach your personal and organizational goals if you don’t plan.”
Without planning and organization, you cannot expect to carry out all your activities in the most agile way possible. So make the habit of planning for what tasks are to be done when the day starts (or the night before). You can do this by creating to-do lists or creating notes.
You can prioritize your tasks and set the start and due dates to keep track of their progress.
Ever heard of “eat that frog technique?” I prefer to perform hard tasks (that demand the most effort) in the morning when I am fresh and my energy levels are high.
Similarly, I leave the most repetitive and routine tasks (that do not demand much effort) for the later half of the day. At the same time, you should not forget that you might need to change your plans and reorganize activities due to unforeseen events.
All you need is a piece of paper and pen or note-taking software, and sit down to make a list of everything you have to do before you turn on that desktop or laptop and start working in the morning.
“Switch to ProofHub and be the manager who always plans tasks smartly to get them done on time, every time!”
Tip#2 — Wasting Time Is Robbing Oneself
To be more productive at work, you simply have to eliminate time wasters. The office is a minefield of distractions. A UC Irvine study revealed that office workers are interrupted every 11 minutes, and it takes around 25 minutes for them to get back on track.
Ironically, we don’t realize that small things can turn into the biggest time wasters. Have you tried to figure out how much of your valuable time is lost checking your social media accounts, texting to friends, watercooler conversations, and non-work-related discussions in the workplace?
Whenever I noticed that I’m wasting time, I added that activity to the list of my time-wasters. I was surprised to see how few minutes spent on various time-wasters consumed big chunks of my time daily.
Some common time-wasters in the workplace are:
- Talking frequently with coworkers
- Checking social media accounts
- Surfing the internet
- Lengthy meetings
- Workplace clutter
- Noisy office space
- Multitasking — trying to do too many things at a time
- Procrastination and lack of motivation
- Email overload
When you cut out time spent on non-work related activities, you will automatically have more time to do things that really matter. At the same time, it’s in your hands to draw a fine line between work and fun at work, which should not be crossed.
Tip#3 — Try To Do Too Many Things And You’re Only Making Your Life Difficult
You might think that multitasking makes you more productive, but the reality is completely opposite. Studies have shown that most people register lower performance when trying to do too many things at a time.
Worse, try to do too many things and there are good chances you won’t be able to finish them to a high standard. If you simply focused on one task, you’d be able to perform it in less time without compromising on the quality of work.
In fact, many cases of employee burnout happen due to the fact that people juggle too many things at the same time. You can compare multitasking at work with texting while driving; both have the same effect on you though the former is less risky.
Rather than juggling tasks at once, try to create a focused daily schedule that encourages single-tasking.
Here’s how I avoided multitasking at work (and so can you):
- Be prepared to say NO
- Learn to delegate tasks
- Focus on the task in hand
- Finish one task before starting another
- Clean and organize your workspace
- Eliminate distractions
- Schedule your breaks
- Prioritize tasks
Seriously, multitasking is one skill you need to delete from your resume.
“Choose ProofHub TODAY to create, assign, and track tasks from a single location.”
Tip#4 — Use Collaboration Tools To Simplify Team Collaboration!
In this tech-savvy age, there are tools designed for almost everything you can think of. Whether you manage a small team or a bigger one, using the feature-rich project management software and team collaboration can help you achieve more in less time.
You have to choose the right tool that meets your team’s requirements. It helps when you have many features in a single tool that can be used from a single location, rather than using different tools for different purposes. Identify the areas you could optimize and choose the solution accordingly.
Here’s how adopting new technologies can help you and your team to be more productive.
- Shows you a clear agenda for the day
- Lets you create your own workflow
- Automates complex processes
- Gives ultimate control over projects and teams
- Encourages accountability at work
- Enables teams, clients, and managers to share a common platform
- Improves intra-team communication
- No per-user fee makes onboarding of additional members easier in a growing team
- Organizes files in one location
- Teams can focus on things that matter with planning tools like Kanban boards, Gantt chart, customizable workflows, and custom roles
I am sure after reading such benefits, you cannot stop but think about using one to improve your and your team’s performance at work. That’s the way to go!
5. Tip#5 — Some Meetings Are Actually Nothing More Than Productivity Killers
“A Clarizen/Harris Poll survey reveals that the average American worker spends 4.5 hours in general status meetings each week, and workers spend even longer (4.6 hours) just preparing for those meetings.”
Agreed that meetings are a necessary evil, but not all of them are meaningful or serve the organization’s purpose. Remember to use meetings like salt, which if not sprinkled carefully can destroy the flavor of the dish. In the same way, too many meetings can actually prove to be motivated killers.
At ProofHub, we eliminated some of the useless meetings by changing daily meetings to twice-a-week meetings. This gave every team member adequate time to focus on their tasks.
As a manager, I benefited from having a complete day to deal with important projects, without interrupted blocks of time. The time wasted on useless meetings is now utilized on learning new things, answering all important emails, focusing on tasks in hand, etc.
And when we scheduled twice-a-week meetings, we made sure that each meeting did not last longer than 30 minutes. Our meetings are now short, clear, and concise.
To Sum It Up
As a manager, your shoulders carry a lot of responsibility. It’s not uncommon to lose your focus, feel emotionally and physically drained, which eventually leads to a fall in your productivity. However, a smart manager quickly shrugs off the dust and finds ways to deal with the shortcomings.
This simple-to-implement and ridiculously effective productivity tips will help you to alleviate your workload, improve your focus and performance, and inspire your team to take a leaf out of your book in terms of learning, execution, and delivery.
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