Are you struggling to stay productive in the office? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to concentrate on the task in front of them and get things done. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get more done, become more efficient, and make the most of your time in the office.
In this blog post, we will explore some productivity tips and ideas that can help you in getting things done.
Take a break to increase your productivity
It may seem counterintuitive, but finding the opportunity to take breaks can help supercharge your productivity. When you take a few minutes to step away from your work, recharge your energy and clear your head, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to continue with whatever task is on your plate.
Set some goals
One of the best ways to keep your productivity levels up is to set yourself some goals. Having a specific target in mind will help you stay focused. It helps to have them written down somewhere to hand so you can review where you are during the day and what still needs to be done.
Just make sure that they are SMART and that you have recorded them so you can keep track of your progress!
What is SMART?
SMART is a mnemonic that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, “write a presentation” doesn’t fulfill all of these criteria but “Complete the first draft of my presentation by 1pm” does.
By following the principles of SMART goals, you set yourself an objective, a deadline, and accountability. Three things that are vital for any project!
Measure your progress as the day goes on
For all of us, a high workload can feel overwhelming and it sometimes feels like we’re getting nowhere. It’s at moments like these it’s easy to lose motivation or focus and for our productivity to drop.
If you have a goal in mind and a way to measure your progress, you’ll be able to not only plan how to complete your task but also to take motivation on how much you’ve gotten through already.
Develop a routine
Developing a daily routine can also help maximize your productivity in and out of the office. By having set times for breaks, work, and meals, you’ll be able to make the most of your day and get more done. If you make sure that you are consistent in your standards and way of working, good habits will soon develop which will become easier to maintain as time goes on.
Fuel yourself right for the working day
To be honest, how often do you skip breakfast because you’re in a rush in the morning? You’d be amazed how much of an impact on your energy skipping breakfast has during the working day.
If you’ve eaten at 7pm the night before, skip breakfast and then grab a spot of lunch at noon then you’ve gone seventeen hours without food. No wonder your focus and productivity are not at your normal level!
Furthermore, studies have found that you are far more likely to buy junk food if you’re shopping when hungry. It pays in many ways to prep ahead!
Even if you have to prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before, you’ll set yourself up to be more productive. We highly recommend this delicious recipe for overnight oats that can also be made vegan, or if you want to find alternatives to your local takeaway for lunch, then why not check out these tasty, low fat ‘Fakeaway’ recipes?
Water isn’t just for the office plants
Keeping a bottle of water on your desk will help you in being productive and full of beans during the working day. Even a small amount of dehydration will lead to a drop in focus, memory, and energy and make us less productive.
Having a refillable water bottle to hand will help you stay hydrated and keep your brain function up.
Plan for tomorrow, today
We’ve all done it, right? We head into work bang on time, sit down, figure out what we need to do in that day and by the time our to-do list is completed, it’s nearly lunchtime and half the day has gone, never to be seen again.
It’s prudent to take ten minutes at the end of the working day to reflect on where we are and focus on what we want to achieve tomorrow.
If you create a habit of this, not only will you be able to enjoy your evening a whole lot more but you’ll find much more time the following morning when you come in and are ready to hit the ground running.
‘Grasp the nettle’ and get the tough tasks done early in the day
As much as you want to post reels on Instagram of what you’ve been up to, if there is something more pressing that needs to be done beforehand then it will likely be more productive to spend your time in the morning ‘grasping the nettle’ and getting it out of the way.
This helps to get it out of your head and allows you to focus on the rest of your day with less anxiety.
Limit your meetings
Meetings can be a huge time sink, so it’s important to limit them as much as possible. If you do need to have a meeting, make sure that it is necessary, the time you spend on it is appropriate and that all attendees are prepared. Sharing minutes in advance will help keep attendees from drifting off topic too.
When working on a project with others, consider if you can hold the meeting on Teams or Zoom rather than in person (or even a hybrid of in-person and online).
If people are having to travel to a meeting that doesn’t require attendance, then you are potentially making them less effective at their job too.
Encourage urgency in meetings
Setting the tone of your meeting is vital to getting the most out of the time you have but also getting results. Nobody is going to stay focused by the end of a three-hour Friday afternoon meeting, in fact if they’re still awake then it’s a minor miracle!
Share your agenda, encourage discussion and inclusion in your meeting but if you sense that the meeting is getting sidetracked, nip it in the bud. Keep your energy high, sound excited and others will likely follow!
Follow these steps and you’ll get more out of your meetings in much less time!
Focus on one task at a time
Multitasking is often touted as a way to get more done, but in reality, it can make you less efficient. When you try to do too many tasks at once, you end up doing all of them poorly. It’s better to focus on each individual task or project and give it your full attention.
You should look to prioritise your most important and time-critical tasks at the start of the day in order to get the most out of your morning.
How to avoid toxic multitasking and focus on your day
Simple as it is, prioritising is the key. US President Dwight Eisenhower developed a system for planning your day so you can focus on one task at a time.
Known as the Eisenhower matrix, it provides a structure for you to divide your daily tasks into one of four categories; Urgent and important, urgent but not important, not urgent but important and finally, not urgent and not important.
How to deal with each quadrant
Once you’ve split your tasks into these four quadrants, you can deal with them in one of four ways:
- Urgent & Important: Deal with immediately.
- Urgent & Not Important: Delegate out if you can
- Not Urgent but Important: Schedule a time to deal with
- Not Urgent & Not Important: Don’t waste time on it!
This will not only help you create an organic structure for your day that ensures that you get the most important tasks completed, but it may open your eyes as to how much of your daily routine is less important than you thought.
Create a list of distractions and schedule time to deal with them
Do you ever find that you’ve started something, remembered that you need to schedule an appointment with the dentist and in the time it’s taken to make the phone call forgotten to complete the initial task?
It may well be more worthwhile to scribble down any of these thoughts on a scrap of paper, pay attention to what is in front of you and then deal with the distraction during a quick break.
The Pomodoro Technique
If you’re like us, any help in avoiding distractions is very welcome indeed. The Pomodoro technique is where you separate your time into 25-minute chunks of working before taking a five-minute break. It stops one task taking up too much of your energy and focus and promotes efficient working.
It’s encouraged to have a timer on your desk to measure these 25-minute bursts of work to help create a sense of urgency.
Your five-minute break can be used to deal with personal matters, grab a cup of coffee, or just to stretch your legs.
This will help you focus and make as much progress as possible. You should find that you increase your productivity in doing so and also have more energy throughout the day by scheduling regular intervals to take breaks and recharge your batteries.
Not only will you find you become more prolific, but you may find yourself spending less time browsing social media on your phone instead of getting on with the job in front of you!
Set up your workspace right
We all need the inspiration to get the creative juices flowing. It’s vital to get your office space right for you and your guests to get your productivity at its peak. Minimise distractions, put up some motivational posters or photos that inspire you, get some plants and other ornaments to make your space unique to you.
If you need a temporary change of surroundings, have somewhere else to grab your laptop and enjoy a brief change. We highly recommend a coffee and biscuit in one of our business lounges for a quick refresh!
Simple things like making sure that there is enough space to move around the office easily can help make you more productive. If you share your office space with others, it’s worth considering how much space each person will need.
Clean workspace, clean mind
Needless clutter is the enemy of being productive at work. Not just in the office or on your desk, but do you really need all fifteen tabs open on your web browser? Why spend all that time and energy trying to find the one you need when you can just have what you need in front of you?
You may be amazed to find out how much time you spend searching for what you need in amongst all the things you didn’t tidy up before!
Keep a reminder of what motivates you on your desk
What keeps you getting up in the morning to do it all over again? Family? The dream car you’ve always wanted? Traveling the world?
A small reminder of what motivates you and what makes you happy is the perfect pick me up when the going gets tough. Having a photo to hand might just be what it takes to get you back on track and get your second wind!
Another way to become more productive is to delegate tasks. If you have team members, make use of them! Delegate tasks that are not essential to your role or that you know somebody else can handle. This will free up your time so that you spend your time on the important things in your day.
Websites such as Trello are brilliant (and free!) ways to help delegate a task or tasks even when working remotely or in a satellite office. If you need to take a task off of your desk and move it to someone else’s, you can do so with just a couple of clicks of a mouse.
We love how you can not only make sure that you are managing your own productivity but that of others as well.
A good leader will not only delegate but empower others to learn and develop. Use delegation to not only help you but to motivate and encourage those around you.
Take some time for yourself (and not always on social media!)
Lastly, it’s important to remember to accept that you’re only human. There will be days where you’re not as productive as you’d like to be or you find yourself spending most of your day in meetings. It’s important to cut yourself some slack and take some time for yourself when this happens. Relax, recharge, and come back ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Schedule some much-needed ‘you’ time in advance
You would schedule a meeting into your calendar, so why would you not schedule some time to relax? If you find that as much as you try you keep working longer than is anticipated then maybe you need to start scheduling doing nothing in your calendar. Be strict about it!
There’s no embarrassment in taking some time to read a book, have a coffee and a bite to eat or just to do nothing and unwind!
Grab some fresh air
You may not notice it, but by not taking breaks you will notice lower productivity, less creativity and your brain will take in less information. It will also take a lot more time to tick all the tasks off your to-do list as you tire through the day.
Even five minutes to walk around the block and grab some fresh air can be enough to revive you and recharge your batteries. You’ll find that a change of scenery will be much more revitalising than browsing social media posts from the same people you’ve been working with all day.
The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports not only found that half an hour of walking during the working day increased relaxation and enthusiasm in the workplace, but increased the ability to deal with a high workload. It’s not a skive to pop out on your lunch break, it’s scientifically proven to make you more productive as well!
Consider meditation if you’re struggling
If your stress levels are going through the roof, there’s no way you’ll be at your best. We all have tell-tale signs that we’re struggling in the day and it’s important to pick on these and do something about it.
Studies have shown that by incorporating just five minutes of meditation into your day you can decrease stress, improve concentration and focus and boost your creativity. All of these things will help you get more done in your day.
Close your eyes, focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind the best you can. Even a few minutes of mindfulness can make you feel refreshed and a lot more ready to tackle the remainder of the day.
By following this advice, you’ll be well on your way to maximising your productivity at work. Just remember to take it one step at a time and not to try and do too much all at once. With some effort and dedication, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done!
Whether you use the Eisenhower Matrix, the Pomodoro technique or simply get your morning prepared the night before, we hope that you are able to make positive changes to the way you work that will in turn make you more productive, are able to focus more on the task at hand and have an extra burst of creativity during the working day. Remember to take a break and be kind to yourself!
What tips do you think you’ll find most useful from this blog? Let us know!