How many of you feel like there are too many things to do all the time and there never seems to be enough time, especially at work? I do!
I work in an office environment. I have a daily routine and have an ideal plan for how my day will start and end. Of course, plans always change and unexpected tasks or assignments come up. In these situations, my outlined plan is thrown out of the window. I find myself trying to multitask way too many tasks all at once and not enough time to do it all. At the end of the day, I either stay a little later to complete it or try to start my day earlier to finish it off. These situations drain me mentally and sometimes effects my personal life.
Of course, in certain situations such as meetings or starting a new position you may tag on some extra hours of work. But how often do you ask yourself whether you are making your work hours productive? Are you just cramming all your work and mindlessly working hoping to get as much done as possible? Is this really the expectation of your job? Some would say, yes, because it could be part of the nature of your career. If not, why are you in this situation? Even so, do you ask yourself, “Could I make the day more productive and effective?”
By asking myself these questions, I consciously change some of my habits to help me be more productive at work. From my personal experiences, I came up with six things that support me, and I hope that it can help you make your workday more productive.
Prioritize Your Checklist
My routine starts off with putting my stuff away and getting a fresh cup of hot coffee or tea. Then the first thing I pull out is my to-do list. I review my list and pull out another piece of paper to select my top three to four tasks that I need to focus on and set the original list aside. By not looking at the original list, it helps minimize distractions from other work that are not the top priority, and I feel less overwhelmed. I have two criteria when selecting the tasks: the deadline and the amount of time it takes. My point is by having a realistic checklist, it will help you be more productive with actually getting your work done that is most important. There is a saying that “by doing less, means more.”
Time Bound Your Task
It is crucial to have a estimated time to complete your task, and you should follow through. For example, at work, I need to enter visitors log sheets into an excel document, and I know it will take me 15 minutes. I time myself for 15 minutes from the time I start. This way I will only focus on one task at and make sure it gets done. If you don't do that, then you will be wasting valuable time that you can use to complete other unfinished work. My point is that it is to manage your time effectively.
Put Away Your Phone
I quite often leave my phone on my desk, and it could be quite distracting. My phone is usually on silent, but when messages or the notification's light turns on, I’m staring at it like a hawk. Next thing you know, I am checking my messages or checking out social media events. This affects the productivity of my work by disrupting my concentration and waste precious work minutes. I now put my phone away in a drawer. Unless you require your phone for work, put away the phone or limit yourself on phone use.
Keep Your Desk Organize
Some of you may know what I meant by that: loose papers, stationaries, cups, sticky notes, and random stuff. I find that working at a mess-free desk helps me stay better focused on my tasks. I often organize my office by throwing away unnecessary items and filing away documents that are not needed. I am lucky I have a big desk and plenty of storage space, but for those who don’t, invest in office supplies to help you keep organized. A bright and clutter free desk environment has many benefits such as reducing distractions, keeping you organize and feeling more confident. Which means improvement in your productivity level.
Give Yourself Breaks
At my workplace, most of my colleagues work while having lunch. I understand that there are many things to do and there are limited hours: however, I find this makes the person even more unproductive because there isn’t time to re-energize. I think it is essential to take your lunch break to recharge and feel refreshed. Also, it is good to take mini breaks, just step away from the desk. You stare at the screen all day concentrated on work, and it could put a toll on your health. Hence why lots of studies, 5 Science-Backed Ways Taking a Break Boosts Our Productivity, tell you to get your butt off the seat and go for your walks. By taking breaks, it helps you be more productive at work because breaks give you the opportunity to reenergize and retackle the task at hand.
Drink Plenty of Water
How many cups of water do you drink a day at work? Let's be honest, most of us who are working at the desk don’t often leave their seat. If that’s the case, you’re probably not hydrating as often as you should. Try setting yourself a goal to drink a 4 - 8 cups of work during work hours. You could just set the alarm or task reminders to help remind you to hydrate. Drinking plenty of water enables you to stay energize and be alert.
I hope these five tips could help you improve your productivity level at work. If not, I am glad I have brought awareness about maximizing productivity level at work to you. Take a few minutes to review those questions above, and I am sure you will find ways to help you.