How To Increase Productivity At Work In 2021
Whether you are working from home or going into the office, chances are, you could be more productive at your job 😬
Every workplace has its share of distractions that can take valuable working time away from employees, even workplaces that double as living rooms.
The good news is that there are a lot of tools available that can help you become more efficient without spending a fortune. Being mindful of how you are spending your time can make a big difference when it comes to being more productive.
Use this list of suggestions as a guide to being more productive and efficient at work. Don’t try to overhaul every aspect of your work life all at once. Instead, start with one or two items that you can work into your day. Making small improvements can lead to increased efficiency over time.
How to Be More Productive at Work 💯
No matter how much you love your job, there are surely days when you waste more time on things like checking Facebook or checking pointless emails than you spend on productive tasks.
Having an off day here and there may not seem like a big deal, but eventually, you start to lose valuable company time and resources.
Plus, you will begin to get burned out as you rush to catch up on all of your backlogged work.
Try these tools and tips to help you become more efficient. If you’re in management, see if you can implement any of these ideas into your process to notice increasing productivity among all of your team members.
Track How You Spend Your Time ⌚️
Do you really know how much time you spend every day answering emails, taking calls, answering questions, or working on your work tasks? Spend a week tracking your time so that you can get a much better understanding of where those hours all go. Use time tracking software to differentiate between tasks. Make sure to include distractions and breaks.
If you’re a manager, ask every team member to track their time during the same week. Then, use what you learn to identify areas where you can improve. Perhaps your team is wasting time on tasks they think are important but don’t really add value to the company. Or, maybe you are interfering with their productivity when you send them messages or emails throughout the day.
Some time tracking software applications to try include:
Stop Multitasking 🤯
Once you have a better idea of how your time is being spent at work, it’s time to take steps to correct the situation. One way to do this is by putting an end to multitasking. You might think that you can easily answer emails while sitting on a call with a client, but your brain can only handle so much information at once.
Neuroscientists have found that human brains simply are not wired to multitask. You will be much more efficient and productive if you stick to accomplishing one task at a time instead of trying to conquer it all at once.
Create an Organized To-Do List ✅
Having a written-out list of all the tasks you want to accomplish for a day can help you focus on what’s really important and ignore what’s not. Start by listing the things that absolutely must get done by the end of the day. Call this your priority list. You can then list “nice to-dos,” which are things that you would like to tackle, but that can wait until another day.
Once you have your list written out, organize it by grouping like items together. This can help you work more efficiently because you will not need to be jumping from one type of task to another. Prioritize your most critical work first to make sure you have enough time to devote to it during the day.
As you work through this process, you’ll realize how easy it becomes to say “no” to anything that is not on your priority list.
Embrace Templates 🖥
If you find yourself sending out similar types of emails or messages day in and day out, consider creating and using templates. These shortcuts can save you a lot of time. Instead of writing out the same greeting and closing over and over again, you can only focus on writing each particular message’s main point.
You can also use templates for presentations, meeting agendas, training materials, and business proposals. Store them in your drive so that you can easily access a template any time you need to create a new document or piece of content.
Be Prepared to Say No 🙅🏼
While you’re creating templates, add one that politely but firmly says “no” to a request. You are likely asked to do things that you don’t have time for on a somewhat regular basis. When this happens, you may stress out over how to say no, or worse yet, say “yes” when you don’t have the bandwidth.
Instead, develop a “no” email template that you can pull when you get a request that you are unable to fulfill. You’ll save time and agony creating the perfect message that gets your point across.
Create Video Responses 🎥
If you get asked a lot of the same types of questions from employees or clients, you can create a video response that efficiently and effectively answers the question. Then, instead of finding the right words to say, you can simply share the video with your employee or client when asked.
You don’t need to be a videographer to create fun and engaging videos. Try one of these video editing programs that will let you create, share, send, and upload videos:
Get Away From Co-workers 🤐
A recent study from Udemy found that the top distraction among office workers was chatty co-workers. If you really need to focus and get things done, you might need to find a way to get away from your co-workers. If you work in an open office, talk to your manager about working from home or offsite for a portion of the day.
If co-worker distractions affect your entire team, talk to HR about creating a quiet space where you can focus and work without worrying about getting sucked into an unnecessary meeting or conversation about non-work-related topics.
If all else fails, invest in some high-quality noise-canceling headphones. In today’s office environment, wearing headphones is usually seen as a universal signal for “do not bother me.”
Here are a few brands to try:
Turn off All Notifications ⛔️
We are constantly bombarded with notifications from texts, calls, news websites, social media feeds, and in-office messaging channels. Stop getting distracted by turning off all notifications. Only check your phone when you are on a break. Better yet, turn off your phone or put it in a drawer so that you aren’t tempted to check in on it every few minutes.
If blocking all notifications is too much to handle on your own, use an app that will do it for you. Here are a few apps that you can use to turn notifications on and off across devices so you can focus on the task at hand:
Block off Designated Work Hours 📆
Once you have your notification blocker installed, it’s time to get to work. Put time in your calendar that you can devote to projects and tasks so that people don’t schedule meetings or assume you are free. Time blocking is a valuable way to get more hours out of your day and discourage others from taking up your time.
This method only works if you stick to it. Make it clear to your co-workers that your time blocked schedule is non-negotiable so they can figure out other times to schedule meetings or group projects.
Suggest Standing Meetings 👩💼
Meetings can be a huge time killer, especially when the topics discussed could have easily been handled over an email or a conversation between two people instead of the whole team. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to get a group into a room or on a call. If you are meeting in person, suggest having standing meetings in cases when the meeting should only last a short amount of time.
Forcing everyone to stand while discussing the topic at hand can discourage people from getting comfortable and wasting time and ensure that only the most essential elements get discussed. Everything else can either wait for another day or be resolved over email.
Take Breaks 🌴
It seems counterintuitive but working too long without a break can end up making you less productive instead of more productive. It’s important to set aside time in your day to take a break from looking at a screen and thinking about a task.
Avoid skipping your lunch break. You need time to get a mental break from work, and if you spend every day eating as you work, you’ll never feel like you got away. Additionally, schedule several shorter breaks throughout the day.
On your breaks, physically get up and walk away from your desk. Head outside for a quick walk, or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, walk up and down stairs to get your heart rate up a little bit. Getting some blood flowing can be just what you need to sit back down at your desk recharged and ready to go.
Ask for Help 🙋🏾♀️
If you’re genuinely drowning in work and having a hard time getting anything done, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your manager and co-workers may not realize what you have on your plate. You might be able to get more done by delegating tasks to other members of your team. You can also ask your team to help you be more productive by being mindful of distractions and unnecessary meetings.
It’s easy to get distracted and lose focus during the course of a workday. Finding ways to get more out of every hour in your day can help you boost your productivity and get more accomplished in the same amount of time. Make sure to make time for yourself so that you don’t get bogged down with work-related tasks.
Being productive does not need to mean spending every minute of the workday focusing on your job. It’s OK to take breaks, eat, get some exercise, and socialize. Just make sure you are being mindful of when and how you approach these breaks in the day.
Eliminating distractions, saying “no” to things that you don’t have time for, developing templates and videos that can replace long conversations, and working with your co-workers and team members to create a less distracting environment can all add up to more time in your day to spend working on the projects and tasks that matter most. Then, you’ll have more time to spend on things like family, exercise, seeing friends, and doing all those other things you love to do outside of the office.
This article was written by Victoria Greywing. Victoria is a content manager in Movavi Software Inc., a company creating all-in-one multimedia software. She specializes in researching complex topics and making them easy to understand in blog posts and articles.