I constantly strive to be more productive and utilize my time more efficiently. There are only so many hours in the day but my responsibilities keep growing! Below are 7 ways I have found to be more productive at work. I can’t say I do every one of these every day. But when I do, my stress level goes way down and I get more done.
On Monday morning, create a “to do” list for weekly tasks. You should prioritize by when each is due and don’t avoid a task just because it’s difficult! Nothing feels better when I finish and can cross it off my list! If you need extra guidance, review it with your manager for her insight. Your manager may have changes to make to your list and can help monitor your progress.
2. Block Off Your Calendar
Endless meetings can result in a hectic day without feeling like I am actually getting anything done. If possible, block off at least two hours a day on your calendar to complete items on your “to do” list. If someone sends you a meeting invite during this time, politely decline and suggest another time that is outside of this block. Another big thing here is do not get sucked into your emails! If you’re spending the entire block reading and responding to emails then you’re most likely not actually completing the tasks on your “to do” list.
3. Stay Organized
I can’t tell you how many times I have wasted precious minutes searching for a specific email on my computer. I break out into a cold sweat when an auditor is requesting something asap and I can’t find it! The best thing I have learned is to create folders within your inbox with concise titles (“Payroll”) to know exactly where an email is saved. If you’re like me and want to break it down even further, create subfolders with a specific time frame (“Q1 2016”) or project name. I love knowing exactly where everything is saved on my computer!
4. Ask For Help
Sometimes I like to think I can do it all myself and quickly realize that isn’t always the case! Look at what you’re doing, is this something a coworker or intern can help with? It may take a few minutes to explain the task but the overall time someone else’s help will save you in the end is crucial! If a coworker is unavailable and you’re still feeling overwhelmed, speak to your manager. It never hurts to ask about priorities and there may be specific items that can be put on the back burner until your schedule lightens up.
5. Stretch Your Legs
Sitting at my desk all day is exhausting! Luckily, the Company where I work is super cool and my desk can be altered for standing!! But even so, I need to get outside and you should too! Last week I think I only went outside 3 out of the 5 workdays. Oops. It is easy to lose track of time trying to squeeze everything in but taking a walk around the block during lunch time or even walking to Starbucks can be a great break for your mind. If it’s raining or snowing, try taking a few laps around the office, go up and down the stairs, or hang out in the kitchen for a few minutes while making some tea. Breaking up the day can help clear your mind and help you be more productive when you return.
6. Change Your Surroundings
If you’re like me and get easily distracted, then changing your surroundings can be a big boost to productivity. Is there an empty office or conference room you can work in for a few hours? What about grabbing your laptop and sitting in your Company’s cafe to focus on a specific task? If you can’t find a new spot to work, can you pop in your headphones to block out the hustle and bustle of office life? Moving always gives me a new perspective on my work if I am struggling to finish a task. If you’re really having difficulty focusing, discuss options to move to a new seat if there are openings.
7. Empty Your Inbox
Before leaving the office on Friday afternoon, don’t forget to empty your inbox. Drag and drop completed emails into the folders you created, delete anything not needed, and flag any email still open. You can also take a few minutes to follow up with anyone you contacted during the week that hasn’t responded. Head home for the weekend knowing exactly where you stand on open items and feel confident no emails slipped through the cracks.
What ways do you stay productive? Do you work in an office or remotely?
Thanks so much for reading and I hope these help!