Career Advice

3 Simple Ways To Be More Productive

ways to be more productive, man with a tie

There are a number of actions you can take to help increase your productivity at work relatively painlessly.  Read on to learn a few great tips that you can implement this week!

3 Simple Ways To Be More Productive

 

Change your Physical Environment

That is, make sure you’re comfortable!  You can do this in a few simple steps.  First, how’s the temperature in your work space?  Too hot?  Too cold?  You’d be amazed how much the temperature can affect your productivity levels.  If there’s a westward-facing window, for example, the temperature can rise by 10-15 degrees, on average.  If you know you are your colleagues will be bestowed with some substantial sun, make an effort to close the blinds or curtains in anticipation of the afternoon onslaught.  Be sure to take advantage of natural light, as dependence on fluorescent lighting isn’t healthy or pleasant for most people.  Also, be mindful of colors in the office, and make an attempt to add some calming and serene colors like green and blue, rather than strong, loud colors like red and orange.

 

Prioritize Your Schedule

This means getting it down on paper—and I mean all of it, not just the big things.  Try making a calendar schedule for the day, the week, and the month.  That way, you’ll focus only on the tasks that really need to be accomplished and put away by the end of the day, today—rather than tomorrow.  Think in terms of what UAB’s Collat School of Business calls the 80/20 rule: reserve 80 percent of your energy to the tasks that must be accomplished by the end of the day, today; and save the other 20 percent for busy work, like replying to emails and making return phone calls.  

The creation of a sort of hierarchy of tasks allows for a sort of hyper-focus that ordinary workdays may not naturally allow for, since we instinctively tend to try to multitask.  However, studies have shown that multitaskers are less efficient than those focusing on only one task at a time.  This is because “Different tasks call for different states of mind, called mindsets.”  Therefore, if you do as much as you can using one mindset, your brain won’t be put in the position of attempting to juggle more than one task, thus lessening the efficiency in completing each one.  Other disadvantages to multitasking include decreased short term memory and possible weight gain, so beware!

 

Don’t Avoid the Tough Stuff

This is because you’re more likely to at your best first thing in the morning, as opposed to mid-afternoon, for example.  Secondly, once you’ve accomplished the most difficult tasks that you have on your list, the rest of your day is probably going to seem more manageable than it did before you tackled that monster of a chore.  Also, accomplishing your most challenging chore before anything else will allow you to remember your day “as going from bad to good.  As a result, you’ll feel happier because your brain likes it when experiences improve as time goes on.”  The sooner it’s over with, the sooner you can feel the proverbial weight lifted from your back and go on to conquer the rest of your day—which will suddenly seem much easier and more fun!

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We all want to feel good about our jobs and ourselves.  Often, the two are inextricably linked.  Even if our long-term goals include a new position or career—either soon or further into the future—being efficient and excellent at our current positions can lend us a much-needed boost of positivity that can give us the confidence to reach for our dreams!  So don’t be afraid to take charge of your life and get organized in such a way that will allow you to perform at your best—this week, this month, and this year!

Photo credit: Daniel Zedda via flickr

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. felistas

    January 26, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Awesome post! Thank you that they are simple and straight forward. Making a list of the things i want to do and prioritizing them helps me not only to get the important things done but also i accomplish more. Prioritizing my work energizes and motivates me at the end of the day.

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