It’s an issue on everyone’s mind: how do you boost productivity to drive better results?
Lack of productivity results in losses for companies estimated at around 7 trillion dollars (source: Gallup). That’s A LOT of money…
Either because of poor management, lack of training, ineffective organizational structures, disengagement,… productivity is a complex issue for the companies.
But lack of productivity doesn’t just affect the company – it affects you, the employee. Nobody is going to promote you if, from the outside, it seems like you’re not putting in the effort, right?
Not always is that you don’t want to put in the work and stay on track of all your tasks. Sometimes, we get into a state of overwhelming and nothing seems to work out… Or, sometimes (too often, maybe) we forget to take a step back and rethink what and how we are doing, as we, many times, lower our productivity without realizing because of the ways we approach the tasks…
But don’t worry. These 5 hacks can help you fix that:
1. Stop Multitasking
Hitting two birds with one stone just isn’t always possible. But we tend to believe we are showing better skills and positioning ourselves as essential members of the team if we do more than one task at the same time. After all, it gets the job done faster, right?
Not always. Research shows it doesn’t. If you take on two (or more!) tasks at once, you risk underperforming in both them, and then you’ll need to spend more time fixing mistakes. Quality often matters more than quantities, so keep that in mind the next time you want to carry too big of a load at once.
2. Set Small, Achievable Goals
I’m not talking about “I want to have a leadership position in 5 years” kind of goal. Let’s talk about daily and weekly performance goals. The problem with handling a task is that we tend to see it as a whole, instead of breaking it down into the logical steps we need to go through.
If you view any task as steps and set each step as a goal, it will be a lot easier to get the job done. You can even establish how much time each step will roughly take, and improve your time management skills in the process.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Personal needs usually get postponed until you’re off the clock, but should they? Sure, you can’t very well leave work midday to run errands, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore all your needs entirely.
Particularly your need to take regular breaks. Science says that overworking yourself will negatively impact your performance. Your brain is like a muscle and uses a lot of energy when doing a task. Because of this, the brain needs regular breaks to rest and return to work at full steam. You need to help your brain to high perform!
Even if you have that huge deadline coming up, take 5 minutes once every 1 hour for yourself: stretch, move your legs, eat a snack, rest your eyes. Also, your lunch break should be the time you eat your lunch, so don’t stay seated at your desk and continue to work in between bites.
4. Automate Whenever Possible
We can lose a lot of time on tasks that can be simply automated, or at least partially-automated. For example, do you have to routinely send out a specific type of email? And do you write it every time?
Why not create a template that can be easily edited as needed, to save those extra 10-15 minutes?
Any type of recurring activity can mostly be automated these days, such as paying bills, sending internal company newsletters, or setting reminders for the meetings. With a bit of research, you can find the right tool to help.
Stress can affect you in ways you don’t understand. Even more frustratingly, you may not be completely aware you are stressed, but the signs are there:
- Not being able to sleep
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble finishing tasks
- Getting easily distracted
Sometimes, stress can be born at work, other times it may be some personal issue that’s causing it. Either way, it has a big impact on your work performance, so it’s a good idea to try and de-stress.
How? Well, that depends, but your first step would be to identify what’s making you stressed, and addressing that with what works best for you. You can try:
- Tacking up a hobby
- Practicing a sport
We all want to be productive, stay focused on our tasks and show just how valuable we are to a company. And while it may be difficult to stay highly productive all the time, nobody can truly say theirs does not need some extra support.