Productivity is vital for a prosperous business and for a successful career. It’s a common mistake to focus solely upon keeping busy, getting the small tasks done and ticking completed items off a to-do list.
Of course, getting jobs completed is important but this is what is known as ground-level productivity. To be genuinely productive and to be effective and efficient at work, it is vital to combine ground level productivity with a higher-level approach, which looks at the bigger picture as well as the minutiae.
Check out our 10 simple tips to increase productivity and working efficiently. These strategies cover all levels of productivity from having a vision at the highest level, through making plans and carrying out the smallest tasks at the ground level.
1. Have a vision.
It’s vital for any business to have a vision as to what it wants to do and what it wants to achieve. To make sure the vision is realised, it is important to let all employees know and understand why. It is not sufficient to simply give everyone individual jobs. It is crucial that everyone knows what they are working towards to be able to work effectively. At an individual level, it is necessary to have a personal vision.
2. Break down goals into steps.
To achieve any vision it is necessary to set goals and break the goals down into manageable sized tasks. By looking at the steps involved in achieving a goal, the whole thing can become less daunting, allow you to work towards the goal and experience a sense of achievement with each step.
It can be overwhelming to look at a list of jobs and not know where to start. Take time in your day to prioritise your to-do list, marking a few jobs as your most important tasks. Completing the tasks on your list that are most urgent ensures that you are working effectively and efficiently. Successful and productive people acknowledge and accept that they can’t do everything at once but knowing that the most important work is being completed provides peace of mind.
4. Keep referring back to your plan
Focus on getting the small tasks done and tick these off your list but don’t just look at these in isolation. Make sure that you keep referring back to the big picture; the overall vision. This will keep you focused on what you are achieving and will ensure that you are still moving in the right direction.
5. Minimise distractions
If your phone is ringing and your inbox is pinging with new emails, it can be almost impossible to concentrate on the task at hand. Nothing ruins your productivity like continuous distractions demanding your attention. When you have important tasks to complete, try switching your phone to voicemail and turning off notifications for mail. This will allow you to give your undivided attention to your work and almost certainly allowing you to complete it with greater efficiency.
6. Look at different ways to do things
Too often we carry out tasks from habit, following the same old procedures and routines. To maximise productively, consider alternative methods of working; look at the bigger picture to ensure you are working efficiently and effectively.
7. Think about your workday
Of course, no one advocates allowing your work to take over your home life but try and factor some time into your morning and evening to walk through your day, think about what you are going to do and how you’re going to do it and at the end of the day, consider how the day went and what could be done differently.
8. Don’t forget to factor breaks into your day
Getting work done is one thing but working yourself into the ground is not the way to productivity. Always ensure that your day has sufficient breaks to allow you to consolidate your thoughts, get sufficient rest and refuel.
9. Consider the tasks you actually want to achieve
Look at the tasks on your list and think about which tasks you are keen to do and tick off and which jobs you are dreading or putting off. Consider if there is a reason for this and if anything can be done about this. Is it possible to tweak or adjust your jobs in some way? Is it easier to break down your tasks into manageable or less daunting steps?
10. Acknowledge the work you have done and what you have learned.
Sometimes work can seem relentless, you might feel overwhelmed or that you aren’t getting anywhere. To ensure you keep your motivation and stay productive, be sure to acknowledge the work you have done. Keep track of your achievements, understand that each small task you complete is a step forward and recognise what you have learned.