Brought to you by Open Colleges

How to be more productive at work: 10 quick tips

by Craig Boyle

Productivity is one of the most important aspects of your working life. If you’re at the office slacking off or find concentrating on work hard, your efficiency will plummet. This will cost both you and your company time and money.

However, it’s important not to panic – lots of people struggle to be more productive at work. As long as you’re willing to change things, you can supercharge your productivity to become a more effective worker. In our Business Skills and Productivity Learning Library, you can watch, read and listen to resources that will help you improve your productivity. For a little taster of what you may learn, here are our top tips for upping your concentration and output…

10. Make physical notes

This may seem arbitrary but improving your productivity can be as simple as taking physical notes and prioritising them in order. In a digital world, it’s easy to let tasks grow out of hand and become overwhelming. Instead, write them down and make your day more of a step-by-step process. Ticking things off the list will give you a sense of achievement that will help propel you into the next task.

9. Ditch the phone

During your working day, glancing at your phone turns from a momentary distraction into a five-minute browsing session. Limit your access by placing it in a drawer out of sight, allowing yourself time to check it every 30 minutes or 1 hour, depending on the need. If putting the phone away is impractical, you can download an app that limits distractions.

8. Don’t spend all your time in emails

Emails are a key distraction in the workplace. One minute, you’re logging in to check your emails and the next you’reburied in a slush pile of email requests and responses. Instead, set a time each day to deal with emails – perhaps two slots, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Only respond to emails that need direct replies and ignore everything else until the allotted time.

7. Manage social media smoothly

Social media is an increasingly essential part of business, but it can also be the downfall of your personal productivity if you’re constantly checking your LinkedIn page, or monitoring your business’s own social channels. Use a social media management tool like Social Studio to cut down on manual time and automate many of the day-to-day tasks associated with social media. Consider outsourcing some of your social tasks if necessary, through an online freelancing website. Finally, only use your personal LinkedIn outside of the working day.

6.  Cut down on wasteful meetings

Meetings are the easiest ways to waste time in a working day. We’ve all been in meetings that have overran, where no one is clear on the outcome and the only result is to schedule another meeting. To avoid this, type up a quick list of notes and circulate them before the meeting. Get through each point in an allotted amount of time, then double check there are clear actions. Every meeting should have clear actions where each person knows their responsibilities.

5. Use headphones

Being distracted by your colleagues is another productivity killer, but one with a very simple fix. Put headphones in and turn up the music to a comfortable level. If you’ve got headphones in, it means you’re focused and won’t be distracted by casual chatter.

4. Stay organised

Clutter overloads your senses and leads to a burnout in productivity. Just like in real life, your digital life should remain organised, with files kept in appropriate folders so you can locate and access them in an instant.

3. Don’t discount weekend work

While none of us want to work on the weekends, spending an hour or two to tick off email lists or the annoying tasks you don’t have time to fit into the week means you can cut down on clutter and enter the week focused. We don’t recommend this every week, but if tasks are becoming too much for you, a few hours on the weekend to clear your week is a small term sacrifice for a long term productivity boost.

2. Cut down on caffeine

While most of us associate caffeine and coffee with increased productivity, too much caffeine in a day can cause slumps. Swap coffee for green tea for a less concentrated caffeine effect, or  limit coffee to twice a day. Often, the taste of decaffeinated coffee can trick your brain into focus thanks to the Placebo effect.

1. Set deadlines

If you have no deadlines, setting  end dates for your tasks helps you stay on track and gives you the accountability you need to produce work efficiently. Once you’ve written all your tasks down add a mini deadline to each and try your best to stick to it. If you overrun but there’s no real deadline set by management, you’re only letting yourself down and you can use it as motivation to plan time better the next time you have a similar task.

Productivity is an ongoing process. Build your way to a more productive life by following these tips to cut down on distraction and focus on work. Remember, nobody is perfect but you’ll start to notice when you’re more productive, just by trying

Leave a Reply