Working smarter and becoming more productive is not about working harder. If you find it hard to manage your time and increase your productivity at work you are not alone. A lack of time is one of the main challenges often cited by employees when surveyed and everyone is looking for ways to improve their productivity. Here are some simple tips on how to be more productive in your workplace.
Organise your work-space
A tidy workspace can improve your productivity and performance. In contrast, a cluttered one can cause stress and overwhelm. A clear workspace will save you time trying to find what you need when you need it.
Keep your desk organized. Take five minutes each morning to clear any clutter and file documents. While working on your computer, close all windows/tabs that are not related to your task. Also, minimise distractions where possible and use aids that help your concentration such as music. Put your mobile phone out of sight or on silent and set particular times to allow yourself to check it.
2. Prioritise your tasks
Most of us have a never-ending to-do list each day in work. One way to manage your time more effectively is to prioritise three of those tasks. Take time at the start of your day to decide what the three biggest tasks are that need to be done. Treat everything else as minor task and put them to one side until the three most important ones are complete.
3. Set Time Limits
Another suggestion to increase your productivity is to time your tasks. Train your concentration by designating a time limit for each task. Examples might include:
- Prioritise your main tasks [5 minutes]
- Read through emails and mark important ones [10 minutes]
- Create a draft outline for report x [20 minutes]
Setting a timer for the tasks you have set time limits on will help your own self-discipline. When you are working within a set time limit helps your focus, self-control and overall productivity.
4. Avoid multi-tasking
Multitasking does not save you time. Contrary to popular opinion, research has shown multitasking can actually slow you down. Studies have proven that it can negatively affect your memory, increase your stress levels and cause more mistakes and inaccuracies in a given task.
What works best is to dedicate time to one task or activity and giving it all of your focus.
5. Learn to delegate
Delegating responsibilities can have a big impact on your productivity. Learning to delegate can take practice and there are a few key considerations that must be made. Firstly, you need to decide what can be delegated. This can be the difficult part and involves reviewing the material/task in detail before handing it over. You need to assess the contents to ensure it doesn’t contain sensitive or private information that was intended for your eyes only.
Next, you need to find the best person to delegate to. You want to delegate to someone who you are confident will carry out the task to the best of their abilities and who will feel comfortable approaching you if there is an issue. You need to have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
Also, you need to be honest about the task and be able to communicate the key deliverables clearly. Talk about what you expect and set clear timelines.