It’s a fact. Time is valuable! When a majority of the hours you have each week are spent working, it’s important to know how to make the most of every minute. Don’t let the ease of routine make way for habits that end up doing more harm than good to productivity levels. Every so often, mix things up to empower efficiency and ensure your workplace well-being is positioning you for success. Take a closer look at these five strategies for taking charge of productivity here and now.
Get to the bottom of how time is spent.
Keep a running log of how much time is spent each day doing certain tasks. A few days of tracking may lead to some profound discoveries. Based on what you learn, changes can be made to consolidate tasks, minimize distractions, and refocus efforts. If certain tasks are taking up too much time, look for ways to increase efficiency in those specific areas. On the contrary, if you’re not spending enough time on tasks that need to be prioritized, it will be clear that adjustments need to be made elsewhere in your routine. Whether or not the findings indicate big-time changes need to be made, it’s valuable to take inventory of what is taking up time so that you can maintain an active role in managing day-to-day responsibilities that may seem insignificant, like checking email.
Plan your day to support fluctuating energy levels.
Motivation and energy levels are likely to ebb and flow throughout the day. Get to know your personal patterns so that tasks can be tackled at times when energy is high and that will promote efficiency. Is the first hour of the workday the time you are most focused? Perhaps that is not the best time to comb through emails, but rather a better time to complete tasks that require laser focus. Is your brain typically fried as the workday nears an end? Maybe that should be the go-to time to take on simple and quick tasks, like organizing email folders or sorting through old files.
Make taking a break an art form.
Productivity can take a dive when regular breaks are not taken. Find a balance between focusing on responsibilities at hand while knowing when to step back and give your mind and body a break. This will support more consistent focus and efficiency when you are in “work mode." Equally important, make sure breaks are truly beneficial. Sure, scrolling social media for a few minutes can be an easy way to tune out for a bit. But, is it truly giving your brain and body the break it needs to refocus quickly? Probably not. Instead, opt to go for a short walk, drink a full bottle of water, write out a grocery list, or do a simple brain puzzle. Whatever the choice, let it enable you to take a breather so you can revisit tasks with clear intention and streamlined focus.
Be proactive, not reactive.
Depending on the job and the day, this may be easier said than done. Regardless, striving to operate proactively will ultimately boost efficiency. Oftentimes, when more time is spent putting out fires than accomplishing goals, a toll is taken on your mindset and well-being. Successfully implementing the first three strategies mentioned will allow for more opportunities to operate in this fashion. It will take time to make the shift, but the effort will be well worth it.
Take ownership of your workspace.
Set up your workspace to support your mood and to be comfortable for your body. Limit distractions but fill the space with items that promote happiness like photos, small trinkets, or appealing organizational items. Arguably more importantly, make sure your seating arrangement promotes a healthy posture. An old chair or oddly placed computer monitor can lead to aches and pains that turn into significant distractions. Elect ergonomic options that will support productivity and your overall physical well-being. Ensure lighting is also optimal and suited to your preferences so that it doesn’t become a sneaky distraction as well.
When it comes to improving work performance, the secret is often to work smarter - not harder. Instead of diving deeper into work and continuing to fill a jam-packed calendar, take a step back and evaluate ways to readjust habits so that you can power ahead with intentional focus and refined productivity.
Want to explore other ways you can drive business success? Check out our blog post on growing your small business.