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How to boost your productivity at work

How to boost your productivity at work

Last week we looked at the top distractions that affect workplace productivity, given that many people are paid lots of money for apparently doing very little work. If you’re a small business owner then it stands to reason that you need to ensure that your business is as productive as it feasibly can be. Part of this comes down to motivating and rewarding your employees, which we’ll discuss next time, and part of it is about how you encourage your employees and yourself to stay focused at work.

FocusBeing focused is not as easy as it sounds. During the industrial revolution, hundreds of people would be employed in factories and required to stand at benches, or sit on stools for 8-10 hours doing the same job over and over again. On production lines today you still see this happening. However it is perfectly natural for people to be concentrating on their work and then start thinking about something else. With most people they will soon return to the present and start doing what they are supposed to be doing, but for others of course, day dreaming can go on for a lot longer. It’s a fact though that all of us get distracted or feel uninspired at some point during the working day.

How to boost your productivity

So just how do you boost productivity and get the most out of your business? Working smarter not harder is always the best answer, as this way you can get more done – more quickly – which will allow you to have spare time in the evening and at the weekends.

Yum! Get stuck into your day.

Yum! Get stuck into your day.

Don’t skip breakfast

I bet you weren’t expecting that. Didn’t your Mum always tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well she wasn’t wrong. Boost your productivity at work by eating a healthy breakfast that includes items that release energy slowly. Things such as oats, wholemeal toast, porridge, eggs, fruit and yogurt. An unhealthy breakfast will leave you feeling irritable, tired and agitated. You’ll be more easily distracted.

To do - make a to do list!

To do – make a to do list!

Make to-do lists

This sounds boringly mundane but it really works. To-do lists will help to boost your productivity at work if you make your list realistic. If you simply write ‘conquer the world’ on your list, you’ll be on to a loser, however write ‘fix the coffee machine’ and greatness will soon follow. You can always give yourself a reward for every job you complete, but possibly not a cigarette break every time you manage to stuff an envelope. Write a mix of big jobs and small jobs on your list and you’ll be surprised at how motivated you’ll feel once you start ticking them off.

Make deadlines

Creating deadlines in a great way to boost your productivity at work. Hand in hand with your to-do list you’ll whizz through your small jobs effortlessly. Knowing that you have a deadline for a job will ensure that you spend less time procrastinating or doing things you shouldn’t be doing. We know … we can see you.

No multi tasking

No multi tasking

Don’t multi-task

You may think that multi-tasking would boost your productivity at work but actually it can slow you down because you get distracted if you’re trying to do more than one thing at once, and you may forget to do something entirely. Concentrate on one task at a time and tackle that before you start anything else.

Ration how often you access your email and social media

You know that email and Facebook are huge productivity killers. If you have your email open you’ll be checking them every two minutes so shut it down. You will definitely boost your productivity at work if you just answer your email two or three times a day at set times – say first thing, last thing and just before lunch. Similarly you should limit the amount of social media use going on. Of course social media is a big part of your business, but even so, make set times for dealing with it and turn the apps off when you’re supposed to be doing soothing else.

If social media is a problem there are a couple of anti-distraction tools you can use that are helpful. Freedom is a simple productivity application that locks you out of the internet for up to eight hours. SelfControl, blocks access to incoming and/or outgoing mail servers and websites for a predetermined period of time. Think, blanks out everything on your screen and allows you to focus on what you’re actually working on. Google them for more details.

Take a break - regardless of the weather!

Take a break – regardless of the weather!

Take breaks

This may seem like a strange way to boost productivity at work but in actual fact you do not perform well when you are tired. The law allows you a certain number of breaks, and even if you work in a culture that does not encourage breaks, or which prefers you to take them at your desk, you should have a complete break away from the environment. Do not be tempted to surf the net while you are drinking your morning coffee or afternoon tea, or munching on your lunchtime sandwich. Far better – nip outside and get some fresh air. Fresh air will revitalise you and you’ll feel more awake and ready to deal with the next part of your day. And remember – daylight is a stress buster.

Cut out background noise

If you find your place of work is too noisy for whatever reason, there’s a chance that you’ll boost your productivity at work by cancelling that noise out if you can. It may be road noise in which case ambient music might help, or it could be your colleagues, in which case you might find that noise cancelling headphones are the only solution. Try Sleep Sound, for free relaxing sounds like the ocean or a crackling fire. Or if you’re the boss of your own business, you get to have the radio on or your own music, don’t you?

Tidy desk, tidy mind

Before you leave work every evening tidy your desk up. De-clutter and get organised because that way you can start every day with a completely clean slate and you’ll boost your productivity.

Get plenty of sleep.

Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep well

You need to get some decent sleep every night. Most people need between 7 to 9 hours – so if you can get that, brilliant. Practice good sleep hygiene – clean, cool bedroom, with as few electronic devices as possible and no TV in bed. Chill out before you lie down, don’t over stimulate yourself (oo-er missis) and you’ll sleep better and set yourself up for a fabulously productive day.

If you struggle to sleep – keep a torch by the bed and write your niggles and worries down in an notebook and deal with them the next day.

Over to you

What do you find will most boost your productivity at work? Are you a lost cause? Comment below or drop by our Facebook page and chat to us there! 🙂

2 Responses to “The attraction of distraction: how to boost your productivity at work”

Steve WillsonJune 6th, 2015 at 11:25 am

Hello Karl, just checking out your blog and i was quite impressed with the productivity at work article, It was well written and i like your choice of images, Take care Steve..

Karl BaxterJune 6th, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Hi Steve, thanks for the comment and positive feedback 🙂 I take a lot of time to source images that work well with my posts, its great someone has taken the time to comment.

Kind Regards
Karl.

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