We all know that increasing productivity in business has many rewards such as happy managers, happy clients, and of course the financial benefits too.
However achieving a high level of productivity in business can be tricky and that deadline that once seemed so far off is now staring right at you on your dashboard.
What are the best ways to increase productivity in your workflow? Well we've compiled some tips that might help you regain that elusive quality called 'productivity'.
1. Create the Perfect Environment
What greets you when you open the office door and go to your desk? Is it a messy pool of paperwork and coffee cups? Or is the room that you work in cold, dark and silent except for the irritating sound of tapping from your co-workers keyboards bouncing off every wall?
It's important to feel comfortable when you go to work, sit down and open up your task list for the day. If you feel good and relaxed when you work, you'll work better and be more creative. The same goes for your co-workers and employees too. So take steps to create a positive, warm, happy and relaxed environment to work in.
Practical pointers: Try to get lighting that's not too intense or bright. Try putting on music for the whole office and let employees choose the playlist. Get chairs that are comfortable with good posture, because having a bad back at work certainly won't help productivity. Have a drinks machine in the office or even better put in a candy vending machine. Generally make sure that when you (or your employees) sit down and start work, it feels good.
2. Take More Breaks
Frequent short bursts of good quality work are better than one long block of work. Studies show that in the case of musical performance, intense and deliberate practice is better than drawn out and unfocused practice. This same approach applies to work too, and if you're taking lots of good quality breaks then you'll find the quality of your work will improve too.
Practical pointers: Try to plan in your breaks, for example if you start work at 9AM then plan your breaks for 10AM, 12AM, 3PM, 5PM. Try to get away from your desk and go to a different part of the office, for example the kitchen area. Try to engage in conversation that's not about work to take your mind away for a short time. Go outside and get some fresh air, perhaps even have a short walk.
3. Find the Best Time of Day
You might not be a 9-5 person. In fact if you're a freelancer you might find that you work best in the evenings or night times. Whenever your most productive time of the day is then try to fit your day around that. Obviously this doesn't work so well if you have to be in the office at certain times of the day, but perhaps plans your task list around your most productive time of the day instead.
Practical pointers: If you find that you are most productive at 11AM for example, make sure that you plan your breaks and other work around that time. For example, your less important admin first thing, then a break, then a solid chunk of two hours from 11AM until 1PM. Try keeping time logs of everything you do and perhaps rate how productive each session of work was from one to ten. At the end of the day look back and you'll see when your most productive time of the day was.
4. A Good Diet
Although it's tempting to go out to the cafe for lunch and get that delicious burger, it will wreck your productivity for the afternoon. What you eat throughout the day will affect how you feel and how alert you are, and therefore will have a big effect on your productivity. Perhaps even seek a nutritionist for the best advice as to what to take to work with you.
Practical pointers: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Take a bottle of water to work with you each day or get a water cooler fitted in the office. If you are tempted to snack make sure you snack on healthy foods such as nuts and raisins. Avoid fatty snacks like chips and cookies. Eat a good healthy breakfast before you leave home so your first few hours are ultra productive. They do say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
5. One Task at a Time
Try to break your task list down in to small actionable items that you can approach one at at time. Looking at the whole list of tasks you've got to complete before your deadline will make you panic as you won't be able to digest everything altogether. It's much better to take one task, address what you need to do, perform the task, complete it, then move on to the next task after a short break.
Practical pointers: Take a task from your list and prioritize it by dragging it to the top of the list. Hide the other tasks or mark them as inactive so you don't focus on those.
6. Work With Others
It's fun to work with others to achieve a common goal. You'll find yourself spurring one another on and motivating each other. You'll probably find you get more done when you work in a small team than when you work on your own (this may not always be the case for you though). If you work remotely then having video conferencing often will help motivate everyone and bring productivity to the team.
Practical pointers: Try to position your desks around those who are working on the same project. Schedule a regular video conference with your remote workers and encourage one another with positive results from the previous day's work. Communicate as often as possible using the online comments feed or via email keeping everyone informed on what's happening on the project.
7. Reward Yourself!
How about it?! You've worked hard all day and ticked everything off your task list. What's next on your list of things to do? Why not reward yourself with a favorite drink or take your team to your favorite diner after work to celebrate. You might also want to consider rewarding yourself (or your team) in other ways such as with a financial bonus or even a gold star on the whiteboard!
There are lots of ways you can reward yourself and you'll know the best way. Whatever you do make sure you do it regularly after you achieve your goals and you'll find that the next time a deadline comes up you'll be looking forward to the reward at the end of it.
Practical pointers: Umm... Chocolate?
We hope you find these tips useful. If you have any other tips please share!