Productivity at the workplace is an evaluation of the efficiency of the task-force of an organisation. It measures the output that an employee can deliver in a stipulated time frame. An efficient productivity is primarily a result of intelligent planning and dedicated efforts to reach the set goals. Usually a relative term, the overall success of an organisation depends on the productivity of its employees and plays a pivotal role in augmenting the growth prospect of a business.
Many employees find themselves seeking answers on “How can I increase productivity at work?” Feeling a sense of accomplishment towards the end of the day can be a challenging task. Companies have increasingly learned the importance of productivity at work. While improvement of productivity is a continual process, we present to you some effective tips that can help in increasing your productivity:
Following Pareto Principle
Various popular economists and entrepreneurs suggest the application of Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80/20 rule to help employees to increase productivity at the workplace. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of results are achieved by completing 20% of the tasks, while the remaining 80% of tasks only contribute to 20% of the results. Thus, in accordance with this rule, we should aim to prioritise our tasks in such a way that we focus on those tasks that can help us in achieving results, and then allocate the remaining time in completing the tasks that are less important. If done exactly in the same manner then we can easily increase productivity by 5 times. But as we are humans and human errors should always be considered, then also we can easily increase productivity by 3 times after all the errors at the workplace.
Start your Day Earlier than Usual
Because most companies have an urban setup, traffic is an inevitable issue. One of the effective ways to rescue yourself from the early morning fiasco is to start your day earlier than usual. By doing so, not only do you beat the traffic but it also keeps your mind sorted to plan your day ahead. Getting stuck in the traffic simply adds to your frustration and sets negative vibes for you throughout the day and hence reduce productivity. Additionally, staying a bit after office hours gives the same impact.
It is widely known that Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day as early as 3:45 a.m. A report published in the Wall Street Journal suggests that the most productive time of the day is 4 a.m. This fact is substantiated by the theory that starting the day at 4 a.m. involves minimum distractions before dawn and also one does not get disturbed by emails and texts at this time. If you start our day as early as 4 a.m., you are able to complete 70-80% of your work by 11 a.m. Social Media activities are also at its minimum, giving you more time to focus on your activities throughout the day.
Being an early bird at work gives you a bit of an extra time to settle down and plan things in your head. You are able to save a few extra hours that helps in increasing productivity. It makes you stand out from your counterparts and bring positive changes in your daily work routine.
Planning Your Day the Night Before
Planning is the key to an effective level of productivity. Simply putting in a few minutes every night to plan your next days’ schedule at work helps you to remain focused and achieve your goals in an efficient manner. Penning down the list of tasks to be accomplished during the next day, or the week ahead helps in saving your time at work, since the initial planning has already taken place.
Creating a to-do list at night also helps in prioritising the tasks in hand. It is advisable to pick the most important task from the list followed by subsequent tasks. This helps to comprehend the chances of finishing those activities in the time allocated and in giving you a head start on your day in the morning. Breaking complex tasks into smaller parts is also effective and avoids the last minute hassle of completing a big task. An efficient planning of around 10-15 minutes a night prior can save as much as 2-3 hours of your day since you do not have to spend time before each task. Additionally, setting a timer for each task in your diary prevents you from deviating from the main tasks or putting in extra hours to a particular activity. Ultimately, deadlines for all activities are adhered to, resulting in greater productivity. For better results, never assign a lot of work to yourself instead give realistic work to self. Even Mark Zuckerberg also never assign more work to self to keep his productivity high.
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Including Breaks between Work
Staying sedentary at work for more than 8-10 hours drains you out of energy. It also helps in obesity due to the decrease in the levels of physical activities. Taking short breaks between work has proved to boost productivity. Even a break as short as five minutes increases focus and clarity for the pending tasks. It is amazing how such a minuscule ritual can have such a powerful impact on your work. It can be anything like heading out for a few minutes of walk after lunch or grabbing a cup of coffee and you will find the levels of stress to lower down and enhance your work creativity.
An effective theory of taking breaks between work has been introduced by sleep researchers William Dement and Nathan Kleitman who formulated the 90-minute pattern that relates to the fact that working straight in 90 minutes interval works with our bodies’ instinctive rhythm and enhances our productivity.
Although break hours between work helps in clearing your head for the hours spent before lunch and plan a fresh schedule for the tasks remaining, however, the duration and requirement of breaks can vary from individual to individual. For some individuals like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, not taking breaks at all is the right thing to do and goes well with their productivity. So, it is important to understand your behavioural pattern and to use that as a measure of picking out short breaks patterns that work best for you. After all, productivity is not a measure of the number of hours spent at work. Rather, it is about the level of quality attained at the end of the day.
Most of us have a tendency to accomplish as many tasks as possible at the workplace. So much so, that we even indulge in multitasking in an attempt to finish all tasks simultaneously. We consider multitasking as an important skill for increasing productivity and efficiency at work front.
However, psychologists and professional experts have indicated that attempting to finish several tasks at one time can lead to wastage of time and efforts, and productivity is hampered by 40%. In order to finish all tasks successfully, we would end up trying hands on every task and compromise on the quality of work, due to diverted efforts. Hence, it is suggested that we should rather inculcate a habit of committing to a single task and on accomplishing it, move on to the next project. Applying the 80/20 rule can be useful here to increase productivity so that we focus on the most important tasks and then attempt on finishing the least important ones.
Keep Distractions at Bay
In this fast-paced era where Social Media rules our online presence, it is quite inevitable to succumb to these distractions even at the workplace. Online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Shutterfly, Foursquare, Instagram and many more tend to consume a major chunk of our time that could have been used in completing important tasks. Even an intermittent tendency for most of us to check our emails hampers our productivity in the long run. These distractions are so enormous that many companies have even started to monitor their employees and restricted access to some of the sites in order to prevent wastage of time at work.
To increase productivity keep yourself away from being distracted, it is advisable to take small steps each day towards a composed work environment. If there is a door nearby, try to keep it closed most of the time. Uninstalling Facebook and Twitter app temporarily from your smartphones is also a useful tactic and helps you stay focused on your work and achieve better results within the assigned time slot. Minimise uncalled conversations with your colleagues when you are in the middle of an important activity and keep them on hold till your break hours. Know your boundaries at work and try to stick to them as much as possible. The better you are at minimising these distractions, the more productive you will find yourself at the end of the day.
Ensure a Tidy Workplace at all Times
An unorganised and shabby desk is a true reflection of your clumsy mind. The more cluttered desk you have, the more time you would be spending in searching for files and papers around, thereby effective your ability to finish your tasks in time.
Spend a few minutes every morning to sort all the papers and files around your desk so that there is enough room for your laptop or desktops. Allocate a separate storage area for all sorts of eatables to avoid any smell from emancipating. Ensure to have only two or three important things that are most needed around your workstation and keep the rest safely in a locker, if possible to make things appear organised. Take help from several apps to categorise your emails electronically in your inbox. This would help you in looking out for the relevant emails with ease and effectively increase productivity.
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