Making the most of your time at work is something that most of us strive for. Let’s look at some habits that you can adopt so you’re able to leave the office knowing that you accomplished everything you aimed to do that day.
1. Eat a Frog!
Productivity experts like Brian Tracy advise that you do your most demanding task first thing in the morning (eat a frog).
Ignore emails, eat breakfast, meditate… Whatever you decide to do, ensure you have a solid morning routine which sets you up for a productive day.
2 Stop Multitasking
Our brains aren’t built for multitasking so stop doing it — it’s counterproductive and a productivity killer.
Research shows that productivity can dip as much as 40% when you switch between tasks.
You can start increasing your productivity today simply by focusing on one task at a time and giving it your all before moving onto the next task.
3. Prepare a To-do List for the Next Day
To-do lists can be a great tool for productivity.
They help you to get organised and stay focused. And, if you’re like me, you’ll also take great satisfaction in ticking a task off when it’s done.
One tip to help you get your day off to a flyer is to make your to-do list at the end of each workday or the night before.
By doing this, you won’t waste time in the morning when you’re in your peak productivity state.
Try out the Ivy Lee method below and see if it works for you.
The Ivy Lee Method
Ivy Lee was a productivity expert who achieved peak productivity each day by following these five steps.
- At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Don’t write down more than six tasks.
- Prioritise those six items in order of importance.
- When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
- Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the next day.
- Repeat this process every working day.
Here’s an example of a to-do list in Tameday.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Surprisingly, scheduling regular breaks can improve your productivity.
Studies show that if you’re working on a long task without taking a break then your performance will suffer.
A study by DeskTime found that the top 10% of productive workers worked an average of 52 minutes before taking a 17-minute break.
So, try taking short breaks and you should see an improvement in your concentration levels.
You can use the Pomodoro technique to work in 25 minutes sprints.
Here’s how it works:
The Pomodoro Technique
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes.
- Work on the task.
- Stop work when the timer rings and put a tick on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four ticks, take a short break of 3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- When you have four ticks, take a longer break of 15–30 minutes), reset your tick count to zero, then go to step 1.
5. Say No to Meetings
According to one study, the average office worker attends 62 meetings a month and around 37% of all meetings are unproductive.
So, before you organise your next meeting, ask yourself if the outcome could be achieved more efficiently through alternatives such as an online group chat or a discussion thread.
If you really must have a meeting, check out some tips on how to run an effective team meeting.
6. Work to a Deadline
When we have a deadline to work towards, we are generally more focused and productive.
In Work Less, Do More, Jan Yager argues that deadlines “actually help us by bestowing active status on a project and assigning it a tangible date to which we are committed, rather than allowing the task to fall into an open-ended morass, where it may be less likely to get finished.”
A manageable level of self-imposed stress can help you reach your goals.
7. Use The Eisenhower Box
Dwight Eisenhower divided his tasks into four different possibilities. You can use this decision matrix to help you organise your tasks.
- Urgent and important: Tasks you will do immediately.
- Important but not urgent: Tasks you will do later.
- Urgent but not important: Tasks you will delegate to someone else.
- Neither urgent or important: Tasks that you will eliminate.
8. Check Emails Intermittently
This one is from Tim Ferriss’ not-to-list and something I’ve personally implemented and benefitted from.
Turn off email notifications so you don’t get distracted each time an email comes through.
Checking your emails at set times instead of when they come through will allow you to get more done.
This can also be applied to smartphone notifications so if you’re working on an important task consider putting it in your drawer, so you’re not distracted by WhatsApp group chats etc.
9. Get Active!
Exercise is good for your body and mind so it’s no surprise that it may also boost your workplace productivity.
When you exercise, you increase blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and give you more energy.
So, go to a gym class, a swim or a stroll at lunchtime — you just might find it helps to clear your head and you’ll be more ready to tackle your next big task of the day.
10. Stop Striving for Perfection
The quest for perfection is one of the fastest routes to unhappiness. Nothing is ever perfect… It’s an illusion so stop wasting your time!
Instead of striving for perfection, focus on completing the task to the best of your ability.
One final way you can boost not just your own productivity but your whole team is by using our project management and team collaboration software.
It’s a great way to connect with colleagues and organise your tasks and projects. It’s super flexible so you can easily adopt many of the snippets of advice we’ve highlighted here for you — and the best bit — it’s free to get started (no credit card needed).