Today’s business world moves quickly and the word “busy” is becoming a badge of honor. However, there is nothing glamorous or honorable about being busy. Busy does not correlate with one’s ability to be productive. For example, jumping from one task to another without clear direction and a never-ending list of to do’s is busy, not productive. We’ve put together the following tips that we use to increase productivity at work, which should help contribute to your achievements goals.
Staying productive in a fast growing business not only requires taking time off for yourself, but it requires one to stay organized, having the ability to prioritize tasks and identifying the appropriate items to respond to in your inbox, while removing the rest of the unproductive emails. Productive people learn to minimize to-do lists and make use of tools that keep their business lives orderly. It is also about avoiding the number of distractions that plague each work day. Here are four tips to help increase productivity at work:
Make it a daily goal to get your email inbox down to zero each day. A great first step is to cluster and organize emails into categories, i.e. accounts payable, projects, clients. For each email you open, do something with it - Reply, File, Archive, or Delete. Avoid using your email as an action list. Rather, when an email requires action that cannot be completed right away, file the email and add the task to your daily or weekly plan. Do not hesitate to archive or delete emails that are no longer needed.
Online tools can help to keep your email cluster free! Do you have a large number of subscriptions? Use tools, such as Unroll.me, to get a list of your subscriptions, easily unsubscribe, and compile the ones you want to keep a daily or weekly email. If you find yourself constantly saving email articles to “read later,” Pocket is a great tool for you to store article there rather than your inbox.
While there is great enjoyment in checking off tasks on a to-do list, research shows that it is more effective to schedule tasks on a calendar. Make the most of your online calendar by scheduling the following reminders: due dates, repeated tasks, follow ups, break times. Synchronize your calendar among all of your devices to stay organized on the do. Color code your calendar to easily visualize how your time is being spent and what adjustments need to be made. Sharing calendars amongst team members will create better lines of communication when scheduling meetings and check-ins.
For Google calendar users, there are several unique ways to organize tasks, notifications, and individual calendars. For more information on how to use Google Calendar productively, review this article by Productivityist.
For Outlook users, there are several tips and tricks on how to organize your work using the Outlook software. WikiHow suggests setting the calendar as a default view to remind you of the daily tasks when you start work at the office each day.
Productive people have fewer tasks on their to-do list or calendars. Take a look at your current to-do list and see how it can be cut in half. Understand the difference between important and urgent tasks. For example, urgent work is something that requires attention within the next few hours or will result in negative consequences. Urgent tasks should take precedence over your schedule. Then, order the rest of the tasks according to value and estimated effort.
Block time each morning to work on your tasks. Most people are better at completing tasks before lunch, which leaves time in the afternoon for innovation and creative brainstorming.
As a manager and/or a senior level executive you need to learn how to delegate duties and tasks. Get to know the team that works not just directly for you, but in all the different departments of the company. Understand individual skills as well as key teams’ cooperative abilities to deal with challenges and execute on tasks. Even more important is to know who your fellow managers are and how they can contribute to the over the success of the company. Everyone has something they excel at, including you. A productive manager knows how to use those skills and experience to get the best work done in the shortest amount of time. By assigning tasks and duties to the right people, outcomes are stronger, and people are more satisfied with doing what they are good at.
The best way to stay productive is to stay motivated about your goals. According to Simon Sinek, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.” To stay motivated, stay focused on why you are working hard to accomplish each task. What is the bigger picture? This constant focus keeps successful business owners motivated to continue productive habits.
Lastly, remember to allow time to recharge. Productive people value their time spent away from the office, avoid checking email throughout the night and take breaks throughout the workday. Spend time with your family, read a fun book or go for a walk on a regular basis. Enjoy life and work will be enjoyable.
Productivity is the implementation of basic habits. Make a commitment to organizing email, prioritizing and scheduling tasks and staying focused on your “why”. We hope this helps you increase your workplace productivity, do you have any other tips to increase your productivity at work?