Cramming for exams, staying up all night to finish an assignment, handing in projects last minute – the tactics that may have worked to get things done in University might not be so effective in the workplace.
And although technological innovations and apps can help us be organised and efficient – they can also be a big distraction in the workplace and impact our productivity.
Here are some productivity tips to help achieve peak performance in the workplace.
1. Write your to-do list in the evening
At the end of every day, write your to-do list for the following day. It’s much easier to know what you haven’t finished or still need to do at the end of the day rather than figuring it out the next morning.
As a new employee you may be handed a stack of things to do, research, read or produce. Instead of creating a huge to-do list – schedule each piece of work or reading you are given into a time-slot in your calendar. Then during that time switch off everything and don’t allow yourself to get distracted until it’s complete.
3. Step back
Today’s workforce needs creativity, ideas, insight and problem solving. It needs people who use their minds rather than search for every answer on Google. Research shows that we are more likely to come up with great ideas or solutions when we remove ourselves from the daily grind. So take a walk, meditate, go for a run or run a bath. It’s during this disconnected time that you will come up with the best ideas and breakthrough solutions.
4. Follow the two-minute rule
Do any task that can be finished in two minutes immediately. It’s a simple yet effective productivity tool because it doesn’t allow your to-do list to pile up with small insignificant tasks. It makes you feel calmer because you’re not being weighed down by the accumulation of lots of tiny tasks that could have been dealt with quickly.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Sometimes “good” is good enough. If you’re waiting to perfect an idea, business plan or project before delivering it, you will often lose valuable feedback time that will allow you to improve your work or move on to the next thing.
6. Do the most important work first
The most important work often requires the most effort. For example, strategic planning, starting a new project or working on something new often requires more brain power. Therefore, people tend to procrastinate, push it into the “later” basket and jump to the easier every-day tasks first. Unless it takes less than two minutes – leave the smaller jobs until later in the day. By tackling your most important task of the day first – the rest of your day will get easier and you will feel you have made progress, even if your afternoon isn’t super productive.
7. Action meetings straight away
Your work day can often be filled with meetings – some important and some not so important. A great productivity tip is to take the 15 minutes straight after the meeting to complete your next actionable step from the meeting instead of piling it on to the “to do” basket.
Top performers know that a healthy body is a healthy mind. Instead of sitting for hours and hours staring at a screen to try and finish something – they know that a short 15 or 30-minute burst of exercise will help trigger essential endorphins to help them focus and deliver.
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