As remote working becomes the norm, or we think about coming back to the office, or generally facing the future, it’s a good idea to have a think about how you can improve your performance to ensure you give yourself a great standing in your team. It can also contribute to future promotions and further professional development down the line!
How to be more productive working in the office or from home
1. Get rid of distractions
This can be one of the hardest things to do, particularly working from home as it can be easy to be side-tracked by chores, pets, or the fact that your TV is now in your workspace!
If you know you need to concentrate on a task, try to clean up any clutter around your desk, put your phone on silent and turn off your email notifications. Keep open only the tabs you need to work on the task at hand and let people know that you’ll be available another time.
2. Break down your goals
If you have large, overwhelming projects it can seem almost impossible to know where to begin. Spend some time breaking larger goals down into more easily managed chunks. What would you be able to accomplish in a day or week? And how many of those units do you need to be able to complete the task?
Smaller goals are more easily attainable and easier to incorporate into your existing schedule. Before you know it, you will have made progress on that longer goal!
3. Make them SMART
SMART goals can help you beat procrastination and stay on track. Take some time to review your goals and make sure they are:
4. Set a morning routine
Your morning routine should set your intentions for the day. If you begin positively and productively, you’re more likely to continue throughout the whole day. Try to be consistent. Wake up at the same time, begin your commute and once you arrive, whether at your home workstation or at your office, set aside a moment to ask yourself what your intentions are for the rest of your workday.
What do you intend to accomplish? What requires the most focus? What tools do I need to achieve my goals?
5. Make a plan for tomorrow
Remember your school planner? You always knew where you needed to be at any time of the day. By creating a schedule ahead of time you’ll be able to attack the tasks that will help you progress most effectively.
Block some time out either at the beginning or end of the day to plan. Note down the jobs that are already scheduled such as meetings, appointments and presentations then work out how you can best use the rest of the time. This way you’ll never wonder what you need to do next or have dead time.
6. Divide tasks into urgent/non-urgent
If you tend to do a lot of busy work during the day but find that nothing really ever gets done, then this tip might help you. List your tasks and decide if they fall into one of four categories:
- Important and Urgent
- Important and Non-urgent
- Not Important and Urgent
- Not Important and Non-Urgent
Important tasks have outcomes that lead to long term achievement. Urgent tasks demand your immediate attention and have immediate consequences.
By focussing on tasks when they are Important but not Urgent (the second group) you prevent yourself from focussing on urgent tasks that are not important (i.e. busywork), get to important jobs before they become urgent and avoid procrastinating.
7. Batch similar task together to avoid multitasking
We are all familiar with the idea of meal prepping, where you spend time on one day preparing all your meals for the week ahead. Batching tasks together follows the same principle. It works because you are in the right frame of mind to get similar tasks done.
Batching can also help you avoid multitasking in a way that slows you down and distracts you. For example, by scheduling half an hour where you only answer your emails, voicemails or messages you avoid stopping halfway through a task to answer an email.
8. Use the two-minute rule
A favourite of busy mums with unruly teenagers, the two-minute rule can be helpful at work too. Simply put, if a job takes two minutes or less to complete then do it now. You’ve only lost two minutes and a small job is cleared away.
If the task will take longer than two minutes, then add it to your schedule to complete later.
9. Start with a big win
If you begin the day with a big win you’ll feel happier and more productive for the rest of the day. There are two ways you could achieve this.
➢ Start with the toughest task. Once you’re done everything else will be a breeze.
➢ Build momentum by clearing the quickest, easiest task(s) first.
This one comes down to personal preference. Which one sounds best to you?
10. Let go of perfectionism!
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. It can lead to praise, “You have a great work ethic and attention to detail!” But it can also stop you from getting things done at all. By striving to make things ‘perfect’ you put off getting started, focusing on small unimportant details, and taking longer to achieve results.
Acknowledge that perfection isn’t always possible and try to assess realistic standards for each task. For example, if that presentation isn’t client facing does it need to be highly polished or can it be ‘good enough’?
Can you use technology to improve your efficiency in the workplace? Yes!
If some of these tips feel difficult to implement on your own, don’t worry. There are lots of different ways technology can help you.
- Apps – there are plenty of apps available to help you increase your productivity. To do list apps help you organise tasks and send you reminders, note apps can help you keep track of things that come up throughout the day and timers can help you follow popular methods such as Pomodoro.
- Web blockers – use web blockers to stop you accessing distracting web pages outright or use them to set time limits for social media, news sites, etc. This can be particularly helpful if your work computer is also your home computer.
- Email templates – if you find yourself sending lots of similar emails you can use your email providers’ setting to create handy templates saving you precious time.
- Productivity trackers – use spreadsheets to help organise your schedule and categorise tasks. You can build your own but there are a number of templates available to download.
- Productive music or background noise – there are several websites and playlists available for both music and background noise, similar to white noise, that can help you focus.
How can we help?
You have worked hard to get where you are, and we know unless you have a recruitment specialist who cares as much about your career as you do, it is tough to unearth the ultimate position.
When you discover a trusted recruitment partner committed to your career needs, a limitless world of opportunity awaits.
Find your next role with Formula today