Improving productivity does not have to mean working harder. If fact, many people find that the reduced stress, clearer goals and methodical processes involved in increasing productivity actually equate to working less hard than before.
So, here are some ideas for working smarter rather than harder.
1) Focus on the important stuff. The Pareto principle says 80% of the benefit comes from just 20% of the work, so take a lookat what is the important part of a task and focus on that.
2) Isolate yourself from distractions. Turn off the mobile, let colleagues know you want to be left alone for the next hour and turn off the radio.
3) Set a time limit when starting a new task. Even if the task will take many hours in total, give yourself just 1 hour to get started. You will be able to go home knowing you have succeeded in completing today’s goal rather than fretting about the enourmous task ahead. Also, when you come back to it tomorrow, the hour’s work you did today will impress you and will mean you are able to plough in much more quickly.
4) Timetable. This is the best way to increase productivity. Plan your day in terms of tasks needing completion. Write them down on a daily calendar and tick them off as you go. This is a great way to remove pressure you may put on yourself and if you have a boss who hassles you, it is a great way to keep them off your back too.
5) Reward yourself with treats. To keep yourself motivated and ensure that you get your work done you can effectively bribe yourself. Treats might be as simple as a bit of chocolate, a walk in the local park or 5 minutes listening to your favourite piece of music. Tell yourself you will get this once a particular task is complete and then when you do complete the task, enjoy the reward you have earned.
6) Do hard tasks in the morning when you are fresh and do easy tasks in the afternoon when you are less sharp.
7) Here’s a productivity tip that will actually help you to sleep more soundly. If you have ever found yourself lying in bed awake at night wondering what it was you think you have forgotten that you are supposed to do the following day, you will know how tiring and stressful it can be. So, before you leave the office at the end of a day’s work make sure you final task is to make sure tomorrow’s to do list is completed and waiting on your desk for the next day. Read through and then say goodnight and leave.