The best and easiest way to ensure that you are productive at work is to love the job that you are doing. If you enjoy the work you are required to get done, then odds are that you are going to do higher quality work at an efficient pace.
On the other hand, if you do not enjoy your work, then having productive days will at least make the time go by faster. Plus, you’ll go home feeling happy with yourself after all the work you completed.
At Blueface we have fostered a culture where continuous improvement and a vision to work towards is something our team strives towards each day.
Of course, even if you are the happiest person in your job, there will still be days where you struggle to find motivation and focus. We hope that these tips will help you to be productive or to lead a productive team.
1. Set aside time each morning to plan
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
~ Francis of Assisi
The morning can be the least or the most productive part of the day depending on whether you are a morning person or not.
If you are a morning person and find yourself to be extremely productive in the mornings, set aside a block of time to make a list of the things that you need to get done that day. Planning your day will help you see how your workload is and prioritise tasks accordingly.
The most efficient way to organise a list is to start with urgent tasks to be done that day, then important tasks that need to be worked on, followed by tasks that would be ideal to finish.
To do lists help to create a mini schedule for the day which leads to having a successful routine. In order to make the most out of lists like this, take some extra time on Monday morning to set deadlines throughout the week. This will help you have an idea of how your week will go, and it will be an aid to organising your daily lists later in the week.
Setting mini-deadlines or milestones before the actual due date of a project will guide you in avoiding procrastination. This also will really help to be able to work ahead which will also free up some time later in the week
If you use public transportation and would like to take an extra step towards productivity, take advantage of the time at your disposal by making yourself a list and setting deadlines during your morning commute.
It is important that the lists make it out of your head and into a visual form. There are plenty of apps and programmes available to help you out with that:
- Todoist – if you are looking for a simple layout (similar to your email inbox) with an option to categorise your tasks, set due dates, and share your tasks with others if you need to.
- Carrot – helps those who have trouble sticking to deadlines to get things done as it turns everything into a game.
- Pocket Lists – if you want your list to be full of great features, like location reminders, list syncing, transforming photos into to-do lists, checklists, to-do lists, shopping lists, sharing functionality and more, this is the app for you.
2. Pencil in time for breaks
Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.
~ Bryant McGill
Breaks are fundamental to having the capacity to be productive from both mental and physical aspects, so it is important to write them into your schedules.
There are a few important reasons to take regular breaks. For example, if you work in a position where you have to deal with customers a lot, there are times when your patience can run low. So if you feel as though you are becoming stressed out, take a quick break. Whether that means a breath of fresh air or a cup of coffee is up to you.
Taking breaks is also important for your physical health. Today, an abundance of the population works desk jobs where they sit at a computer for the majority of the day. It has an impact on your posture, joints and weight. So make sure to take a stroll around the office, walk the stairs or do regular Deskercises.
Pomello is a great app which ensures that you take your breaks regularly. It turns Trello cards into Pomodoro tasks and sets of an alarm every 25 mins to take a break.
3. Find your personal organisational style
Organisational style falls within a spectrum from completely disorganised to a perfectionist, color-coding organisation. There is no right way to be organised, so long as you are. What works for one person, won’t work for everyone, and that is what can make things tricky at times especially if you work in a team environment.
At Blueface, we work together as a team. The best solution that we have found to combining schedules and organisation styles is through Google Calendar. This platform makes it easy to set up meetings with others, and everyone’s schedule is available on it.
That being said, no matter what your own organisational style is like, you should make use of a planner or calendar, online or offline.
If you feel like you haven’t quite found an organisational style that works for you or your team, there are plenty of resources online that can help you get an idea of where to start on your journey to organisation.
4. Cut out distractions
Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.
~ Leo Babauta
Using the list that was mentioned earlier should help to create an understanding of what needs to be focused on at one time. Writing the list may have been easy, but urgent tasks may not always be the tasks that you want to work on.
The internet is a blessing and a curse when it comes to getting work done. It makes research and working online particularly easy, but at the same time, it opens the door to loads of potential distractions especially due to how prevalent social media has become in our personal and professional lives.
One of the blessings that the internet offers to combat distractions is a plethora of websites which assist in blocking social media and distracting websites for a set period of time that you need to spend focusing.
- @GetColdTurkey is incredible. You can choose what websites to block for a certain amount of time or until you’ve reached a specific word count if you’re writing something like this. This program makes it super difficult to get around the block, which is exactly what we’re looking for, right?
- StayFocusd is a Google Chrome Add-On/App that limits the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites and blocks them once you’ve used up the allotted time.
The downside is that they are only on your computer, and it happens to be people’s mobile phones which tend to distract them the most. Studies conducted by TomiAhonen Almanac 2013 have suggested that the average person checks their phone up to 150 times a day. The best way to fight the temptation to check your phone is to keep it out of sight and on silent for periods of time that are designated to one task.
5. Stay on top of your health
Productivity levels have an inclination to decrease as the number of poor health choices increase. I am sure you have experienced how hard is it to stay focused and on task after a poor night of sleep or if you aren’t feeling well.
There is almost no end to the list of long-term benefits that come with making healthy choices. However, the impatience that comes along with waiting for long-term results of a healthy lifestyle can drive people to cave into bad habits.
On the bright side, the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle can be seen almost immediately when it comes to productivity.
For example, you probably know how much better you feel after you get a solid eight hours of sleep, and that minor change is what can make the difference between a productive or an unproductive day.
As much as we all love a hot cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning, we should limit it there. Continuing to drink caffeine throughout the day makes the eventual crash worse. However, one cup in the morning to give you a little boost is alright. Following that, you should try to only drink water for the rest of the day or give green tea a shot if you feel like you need some caffeine.
An overall healthy diet is ideal. Since we are focusing on simply feeling productive at work, the most important meals of your work day are breakfast and lunch. A hearty and healthy (but light!) breakfast will help to wake you up and get you going for the day.
For lunch and snacks throughout the day, the key is to choose foods that are high in protein and antioxidants. A heavy, large meal in the middle of day could lead to a crash, decrease in energy, or what I like to call a ‘food coma.’ Save dinners and the weekends to indulge in your favourite comfort foods.
Finally, stress is one of the main things that impacts our health. Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid stressful encounters. In that case, work to turn stress into eustress, or beneficial/positive stress. The best ways to do this is to turn it into a meaningful situation focusing on the future benefits or growth that will come from it.
When you have a stressful day and/or are finding it difficult to make the best of the situation, cardio exercise is a great way to get your mind off of it. If exercise isn’t your thing, you could give meditation or deep breathing exercises a try!
For some more tips on how to reduce your stress levels, go to webdoctor.ie
Productivity growth is the only possible way to achieve prosperity.
~ Mario Draghi
If you are looking for some more comprehensive advice on how to manage your time better and how to be productive not only at work but also in your personal life, David Allen is an expert on this subject and he has put his advice into a book called Getting Things Done.
Blueface can help you and your company to having more productive days through simplifying your communications.
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About the author: Kelci Scott interned with Blueface throughout summer 2016. Kelci worked with our sales and marketing teams to gain experience in those areas, which she studies at Kansas University. Also interested in management, Kelci carried out research, including finding out what works for Team Blueface, on how individuals and teams can be more productive. Above, you can find the 5 ways to be more productive at work, in her own words.
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