Staying productive can be a challenge. Every time the work day ends odds are you feel unsatisfied with what you’ve accomplished.
In your quest for improved productivity it is inevitable you’ll encounter factors that may weaken or extinguish your motivation and dampen productivity. We can help combat these problems with a combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts.
Here are seven tips to help you improve your productivity in the office.
1. Streamline your space
Before you do anything else, take a few moments at the start of each day to organise and de-clutter your work space. Having a clutter-free environment helps you to think more clearly and produce better results. By clearing and organising your space, you will not only increase your productivity but you will also limit time spent searching for items.
2. Create an agenda
It’s important to have a morning routine that sets you up for success. Opening emails right away can mean you’ll start your workday putting out fires, which can leave you feeling frantic all afternoon.
Instead, delay opening your emails for half an hour each morning and use the time to make a ‘Next Action’ list. When you write down a list of actions you are more likely to get things done as you are clearer on what you actually have to do. For example, ‘prepare for supplier meeting’ (to do item) versus ‘run report 9 for supplier meeting (action item).
To get the most out of each day, pack important items into the morning and leave basic tasks for the post-lunch slump.
3. Get your most dreaded task out of the way
Mark Twain famously said that if it’s your job to eat a frog, you should eat that frog first thing in the morning and if it’s your job to eat two frogs, then eat the big one first! Think of your most dreaded task as that frog and get it over with first thing.
Before you leave for the evening choose your “frog” and write it down somewhere you will see it in the morning. Getting things done is a habit and if you start each day accomplishing something important you’ll achieve much more.
4. Design a personalised filing system
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to developing a filing system, provided it matches the way you work and is easily maintained. You can file by any method that suits you.
Use the same method for electronic document filing as you do for paper. It’s important to regularly sort, file and purge electronic and hard copy documents to keep clutter from piling up. Keep the most recent document at the front of the file for ready access and make sure to check your company’s records-retention policy to ensure you’re not throwing out vital records.
5. Take regular breaks
While it may sound counter intuitive, taking scheduled breaks can help improve concentration. The average attention span is typically 25 - 45 minutes, depending on the person and the time of day. So, instead of finding yourself staring at the screen feeling jaded, every half an hour take a five-minute break to re-boot. Even a couple of minutes away from the screen will help stop your attention from waning and keep you fresh through the day.
6. Take control of email
For many of us, email is like a wild beast that takes over our office life. Take control of your email by limiting the time you spend checking and replying to emails. Try checking your email a maximum of three times a day. Once in the morning, once just after lunch and once late afternoon. You’ll notice how much quicker you reply when you do it in bursts.
7. Eat healthy foods
The food we eat is extremely important in boosting our brainpower and impacting how productive we are at work. Imagine you consume a chocolate bar versus a piece of fruit, which do you think is going to give you the energy necessary to finish strong through the afternoon? Junk food can contribute to decreased productivity and energy slumps, which is why it is best avoided.
Productivity is one of the most important considerations of modern life. The more productive we are, the more we achieve, and the more successful we are likely to be.
You can stay productive during work hours if you plan out your day and really think about what you’re doing at work. It doesn’t take much forethought to have a good workday, and the time you put into planning can pay off big time.
COS is the largest Australian owned and operated national office products company. It is a B2B supplier of products used in every room of the modern office, offering thousands of items from categories including technology, kitchen and cleaning, furniture, print and promotional items, and office supplies. www.cos.net.au/
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