Today’s employers expect more from their staffs. That can be frustrating when you’re already working so hard—and can lead to anger and resentment. Before you start looking for another job, maybe you can boost your productivity. Consider these six tips:
1—Do your most important tasks first thing in the morning. Chances are when you first get to the office, you’re feeling pretty energetic. Don’t waste that energy by checking social media or answering emails first thing. Instead, focus on your most important task/s of the day (figure out what those are the night before). If you’re trying to impress your boss, getting to work before everyone else shows you’re willing to give it your all.
2—Group similar tasks. If you’re constantly switching back and forth between dissimilar tasks, like writing proposals and making phone calls, you’ll use up needless energy shifting gears. When possible, try to group similar test together. For example, if you have a bunch of proposals due, try to knock them out all at once.
3—Don’t overschedule yourself. So many of us book every second of every day with meetings, calls and projects. If a client is running late or a call goes long, the rest of our schedule is thrown off. Always leave a few hours of wiggle room in your day. This ensures that small delays don’t snowball into big problems, and also gives you time to respond to the inevitable emergencies.
4—Understand your personal energy rhythms. Some of us are night owls, while others are morning people. Do you always slump after lunch? Are you most creative at midnight? Understanding when you work best can help you schedule your day so you maximize your peak performance times. Of course, it’s not always possible to do this, however try to set your schedule to accommodate your “best” times.
5—Take a break! Our natural inclination is to keep working, working, working, thinking we’ll get more done the more we work, and we’ll please our bosses. Eventually however, you reach a point of diminishing returns, where you’re working extra hard for minimal results. Learn to identify when you need a break — and take one (yeah, I know it’s hard). The Pomodoro method is one system many people use to force themselves to take breaks.
Or you can look at pictures of puppies and kittens online. Really! A study from Hiroshima University in Japan showed after looking at “cute” pictures of baby animals, workers were better able to focus and perform detail-oriented tasks.
6—Read more about it. I’m always looking for productivity tips. If you are too, I found a lot of useful information in The Productivity Project. The author spent a year testing various theories to see which ones really improved his productivity. It’s a great read for anyone who wants to get more done in less time.
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