pro· duc· tive – adjective – achieving or producing a significant amount or result.
Staying productive can be a task in its own right. We all have so much to do! Before you know it, it’s many tomorrows later and the work still isn’t done. That’s not good for either your stress level or your productivity.
Do the dreaded task first.
Mark Twain once said, “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” He meant if you just eat the frog, the rest of the day you can feel at ease knowing you took care of the worst thing for that day early. In an article written by Dirk Zeller, he lists the ways to conquer those dreaded tasks. His recommendation? Start with the tough job, poke little holes in the task, and finish it one piece at a time.
Turn off distractions if possible.
These days, distractions are everywhere. Internet, cell phones, work phones, emails, etc. The list is endless. But you can try to silence the distractions (if possible) so you can focus solely on work, this will dramatically increase your productivity. Cyrus Foroughi conducted a study that directly related productivity to work quality. It showed that the more you’re distracted when trying to be productive the worse your work will be.
Group similar tasks together.
With grouping tasks, you will break down your tasks in small groups so you can do things within certain times, as discussed in a fantastic article by Joel Falconer. Allow yourself break periods between, but this will increase your productivity. The Pomodoro Technique is a good way to get started and learn batch processes efficiently.
One of the best ways to increase productivity is to just say no to those tasks that can pull you away from what you’re doing. Some of our day to day tasks is helping out others, whether it be around the office or just with small, minute tasks. We all want to help our coworkers, but we can’t let it prevent us from getting our work done.
Make a list of things you need to complete in the order of importance.
This one has helped me tremendously. When I first get in in the morning, I spend a few minutes making a list of things I need to do, but I order them from most important to least important. It helps my brain recognize what actually needs to be done today vs. what can wait until tomorrow. Another way to do this is the 1-3-5 list, which has you order things in a list of 1 big task for the day, 3 medium tasks for the day, 5 small tasks for the day. It helps you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at seeing all the things you’ve gotten done through the day.
Invest in a standing desk!
Here at ILSA, we have employees who do have standing desks. This helps people take a break from sitting all day and gives them the ability to stretch their legs when they please. This helps with people not having to get up and walk away from their desk, which in turn stops them from breaking concentration for the break. Texas A&M did a study showing that those who had the option to sit or stand were 46% more productive. Standing desks might be a bit pricy for some, but when it comes down to the increased productivity it is definitely worth it.
Productivity is important because it helps everyone feel accomplished when they leave from work for the day. It allows you to feel more organized and in control of what goes on during your day. And it will definitely help you advance in your career! After all, if you aren’t productive, you risk being replaced with someone who is.