When it comes to work, most of want to be productive – whether that means getting more done in a quicker period or just getting more done in general. We are all motivated by different things, whether it be money or prestige. However there are some ways to boost your productivity that work for everyone. Here are just a few…
Take regular breaks
Many of us think that by working for longer concentrated periods, we can get more done. However, psychological research has shown our performance gets progressively worse after long periods of work. Taking a five minute break every half hour where possible could be a way of keeping you constantly performing at your best.
Get a good night’s sleep
Without enough sleep, everything is affected from our concentration to our physical capability to our ability to record memories. A good night’s sleep leaves us energised for the day and ready to take on the work ahead. Our sleeping pattern can also have an effect on our productivity, with many psychologists supporting the phrase ‘early to bed, early to rise’. If you take a look at the sleep cycle of many of the world’s billionaires, you realise that this rings true.
Sitting behind a desk all day isn’t good for our productivity. Being active gets the blood flowing faster around our body, supplying the brain with a fresh source of oxygen (literally giving us a clear mind!). Fitting exercise into your day can be especially beneficial. However, if your work doesn’t permit this, simply working out before going into the office could suffice.
Be wary of drugs (even caffeine!)
Drugs won’t make you perform better. There is no positive link between entrepreneurs and substance abuse. Yes, certain drugs may give you a mild boost of confidence or alertness, but the comedown is likely to reverse these effects. Even an innocent drug such as caffeine should be taken in moderation. A coffee during the 3pm slump may help to temporarily energise you. However, drinking coffee throughout the day will make you overly alert and unable to focus effectively on one thing.
Set tangible goals
Everyone needs goals to give their work a purpose. These don’t just include end goals but also weekly goals and even daily goals. Always having something to work towards can prevent life becoming a routine. Try to get something new out of every working day and compete against the records you set for yourself. Make sure that each goal is realistically achievable so that you want to work towards it. Similarly, make sure that you do not move the goal posts – once the goal is set in stone you must stick by it.
If you have a private office and people are constantly coming in and disturbing you, it may be time to end your open door policy, at least for certain periods of the day when you need to concentrate. Also consider other distractions that could throw you out of your rhythm. If you’re constantly getting notifications from Facebook on your phone during working hours, turn these notifications off in the settings so that you’re not tempted to peruse on social media. If certain periods of the day are busy for phonecalls, consider structuring your workload around these times so that you’re not constantly having to take a break to answer the phone.
Work smarter, not harder
Perhaps the golden rule of improving productivity is to work smart, not hard. If you think there’s a quicker way of doing something, providing that it doesn’t affect the quality, why not try it out? Sometimes taking time out of your day to research new methods can be worthwhile. It can be easy to get caught into a routine and not realise that there could be a quicker way of doing things.
A few ways of working smarter could include delegating a task to someone better suited, using technology to make a process less time-consuming, educating yourself in a new skill that allows you to do something faster or doing something as a group to get it completed faster. Creativity is key to any business – even if you haven’t got any ideas yourself, brainstorming with colleagues or clients may provide you with a faster solution. Your brain/body will thank you later when it isn’t exhausted from doing something the long way.