How to be More Productive at Work
Work less and accomplish more by being more productive.
Updated January 29, 2009
Most of us will probably admit that we could be more productive at work. It can be easy to make excuses, be lazy and not actually do work while you’re at work. Activities such as checking email, talking to friends on the phone, surfing the web mindlessly, or some other time robbing activity, can all cut into your ability to be productive at work. Use the following list to help you to stay focused and become more productive at work.
- Do not check your email first thing in the morning. You should wait to check your email messages for at least one hour. Concentrate on getting at least one task done during your first hour of work. However, not checking you inbox first thing in the morning may not be right for everyone, so if this seems unrealistic for your work situation then you may disregard this tip.
- Turn off your cell phone, unless you absolutely have to use it for making outgoing calls. If you are going to make calls, make sure you group your calling into a cluster, so that all of your calls are made one after the other.
- Get a kitchen timer or a computer alarm clock, and set it for 60 minutes. Within this 60 minute period, you should only focus on getting work done that will help your business or company become more profitable. Do not take any breaks during this time frame, not even to go to the bathroom. You need to be completely focused on getting things done during this time frame. Start by implementing this twice during your work day, starting with one 60 minute period in the morning and one in the afternoon and see how much more productive you become.
- Work from a Todo list. The Todo list should be organized by priority and created the day before. This will allow you to arrive at work and know exactly what you need to focus on at the start of your day. One of the side benefits of keeping priority list is that you will have a sense of accomplishment when completing a task and then crossing them off your list.
- Keep a time log of what you spend your time doing. In other words, track the time spent on any and all activities throughout the work day. This would include, email, web surfing, phone calls, bathroom breaks, chatting, lunch or whatever else you might do during the work day. Record the time you started and stopped each activity. The objective is to find out the percentage of time you spend on each activity during the work day, or work week. By having an awareness of the time spent on all your activities, you can then begin to eliminate the time wasting activities from your day so that you can be more productive throughout the day.
- If you find that you’re getting stressed out, can’t think clearly or just can't get any creative juices flowing, stop what you’re doing and take a break from the task. Go for a walk and get the circulation going in your body so that more blood can flow to your brain, which will allow you to think more clearly.
- Exercise everyday for at least 20 minutes (don't make excuses). At a minimum, this should entail walking, stretching and breathing deeply. If you are a morning person try fitting in your workout before work (put your exercise clothes on right after getting up in the morning). For those who are not high energy morning people, try fitting in your workout during your lunch hour or right after work. This can really help energize the second half of your day. Try to avoid working out within three hours of going to sleep, as this may make it harder for you to fall asleep.
- Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and lunch that is high in protein. You need fuel to keep your energy levels up. Working on an empty stomach is no fun!
- Make sure you get a good night sleep so that you aren't exhausted at work. For most people this will mean getting around 7 to 8 hours of sleep, in order to get REM sleep and fully rest your mind.
- Stay organized, stay motivated and think positive.
It’s hard to break bad work habits, but by doing so you will begin to be much more productive throughout your work day. Not only will your sense of accomplishment increase, but you may also find yourself working less and accomplishing more.