Many business owners, managers, and employees feel as if the daily grind reduces their productivity and happiness. This can happen even if an employee or executive loves his or her job. There is something about the everyday wear and tear, tasks left undone, and little “busy work” type activities that can grind one down.
If there are parts of your job that feel like a time suck or moments in the day when you don’t feel able to function at your best, this article is for you.
How to Increase Daily Productivity
You shouldn’t feel as if you are part of a rat race or daily grind. Instead, work should be fulfilling. Every person knows the feeling of a job well done. It’s satisfying and can buoy the mood. So, why don’t you have that feeling at the end of every single workday? With these techniques, you can!
Here are five simple strategies you can use to both increase your productivity at work, and give you a feeling of satisfaction at the end of your day:
1. Allow yourself to focus. Many of us multitask with the idea that it makes us work more rapidly and get more done. Sometimes this is true. If you are doing a very simple task on which you don’t need to concentrate at all while also having a light conversation, multitasking may get both actions done at once.
However, when you need to do a deep dive into something like evaluating your company’s statistics, creating a bid for a client, or writing an article, you need time to concentrate. Studies show that, when we are distracted from a task, it takes about 23 minutes to regain our focus. That is 23 minutes wasted every day for each distraction. Many of us get interrupted or distracted at least once every hour – so that’s over 3 hours of lost time every day. No wonder we aren’t getting everything done in our workday that we feel we should!
When you have tasks which require your full attention, set up a signal or system which will inform your coworkers or staff that you cannot be disturbed. Turn off your phone, close out of messaging systems, shut down your email, log out of distracting websites and simply focus.
If you have meetings or other action items which must be attended to, it may help you to set an alarm that signals the end of your deep dive session. This small distraction can help you wrap up without completely losing concentration, and then gives you time to switch your attention to your next action item.
2. Plan ahead. Many business owners and employees who tell us they are not “list makers” are surprised with how effective a list can be. The problem is that many write “to do” lists that go on and on and on, becoming a depressing rundown of every single niggly thing to do for the next year.
Instead of creating a neverending list that goes on like some ancient scroll, simply make a plan for your next day. This can be done by rapidly looking over the last day or last couple of days and seeing what was left undone, what questions you might have, and discovering if your week so far has been productive. If it hasn’t, consider what you can do to make it a better week.
Planning ahead can consist of a task list, but it also may start out with making things happen that help you, personally, get more productive. This can include logging your appointments into your calendar, not making further appointments for the week, blocking out times in which to concentrate fully on work, or reassigning tasks that are actually busywork.
Writing down a plan for the next day gives you a way forward and is an excellent antidote to the feeling of being stuck in the rat race.
3. Complete tasks entirely once you’ve begun them. There’s a great quote from John Highsmith which says “The best way to get a project done faster is to start sooner.” This seems pretty obvious, but when you look at your stack of “to-dos,” you may begin to see the point. Often, we know a project is in the works, but we set it aside to be done later. Then, that job sits in the back of our minds until we finally begin.
When we have undone or incomplete tasks sitting around, it feels as if much of our work is not complete. Instead of allowing a nagging feeling in the back of your mind to ruin your level of satisfaction, complete as many half-done or not done undertakings as you can. The ideal would be wrapping up these functions as soon as they come across your desk.
Completing tasks gives you that feeling of job satisfaction you’ve been missing while making you much more productive throughout your day.
4. Get out of the office. A rushed workday can make one feel exhausted if you spend all day sitting in your chair, focusing on input. Be sure to take time out of your day at lunch or during your break times to head outside. Take a walk through the streets or a park near your office, turn off your phone for a few minutes, and just observe what’s going on around you. A change of pace, disconnecting from technology, and a change in your environment can help you feel refreshed and ready to continue your work day.
5. Setup time requirements – and a reward for wrapping a project within the assigned time. Challenging yourself and setting up time requirements for your tasks can help you get more done in less time. If each step of a project will take a half an hour, try to get them done in twenty-five minutes. Once you’ve reached your goal, have a small reward waiting for you at the end.
This strategy works on a few levels:
a. You are turning daily work into a challenge or game. This can put you in a better problem-solving mindset and make work fun. Gamification has become a big market these days, and there is good reason for it. Statistics show that making something into a game increases motivation and boosts engagement.
b. By setting a time limit, you are creating a need to concentrate on your project fully. This is an excellent strategy to help you focus and avoid distracting yourself.
c. Not only do you gain a feeling of accomplishment when you complete a task, but you also have a small reward waiting for you. This can add to your motivation as you get focused on the project.
We help executives find ways to inspire, empower, and motivate their staff to complete projects and achieve business goals. Contact Business Success Consulting Group today for a free assessment of your leadership skills and to get more information on how you can create a more productive and enjoyable work environment for your employees.