May 15, 2022
You’ve probably heard the expression “work smarter not harder”. This witty phrase is supposed to remind us that, especially in office environments, the success of the work we do is not necessarily based on how much time we put in. Instead, success is determined by how well we use this time. By learning to work smarter, we can improve productivity in the workplace.
So how do we do that?
Let’s break productivity down into three categories: Organization, Focus, and Motivation.
Fixing your organizational habits is a great first step in improving your overall productivity. After all, it’s hard to get anything done if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, there are lots of tools to help you get organized. Everyone works differently, as such, there are tools that exist for all different styles of work.
Are you a list keeper? Consider using a tool like Trello for yourself and your team. Moving your lists online into a single trackable location means you’re less likely to drop a task because you lost the piece of paper the list was written on. If you’re a note taker, keeping an app like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote running in the background can allow you to quickly jot down your thoughts without worrying about losing the sticky note later. Using a project and process management tool like Monday as a team can make collaboration and process management quick and easy.
Whatever style of work you prefer, using a website or app to help keep track of your task can help you visualize what you need to accomplish. And if the old pen and paper still works for you, don’t break something that isn’t broken.
The biggest trick to improving your ability to focus is to remove distractions. Whether this means in-person distractions like talkative co-workers, or virtual distractions online, the fewer things pulling your attention away from your work, the better. If your team is struggling to meet deadlines or has a hard time focusing on work, make focus time a standard part of their daily routine. By blocking off time to focus solely on work, workplace productivity can increase exponentially.
While some studies by the University of California indicate that occasionally checking social media may boost productivity, it’s easy to get sucked into the Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok void. Consider trying a tool on your phone that allows you to block your own access to certain websites and apps for set amounts of time. Lock yourself out of social media for an hour, and then give yourself a mental pallet cleanse by checking your feed. You can do this on an iPhone by going to Settings > Screen Time, then turn on screen time if you haven’t already. Then tap App Limits, then Add Limit. Select one or more app categories.
Studies also show that taking steps to take care of yourself can improve your focus. Making sure you stand up and walk away from your desk a couple of times a day, drink some water, and eat small, healthy snacks can help you keep yourself on task.
Getting motivated can be one of the hardest parts of increasing your productivity. Even the most dedicated and determined person will have days where outside factors zap their motivation. Consider setting up a reward system for yourself, where you give yourself some minor reward for completing a task. These rewards can be anything from some time on social media, to a short walk, to a small piece of chocolate. Whatever works for you, find a way to push yourself through the low-motivation periods.
Another great way to increase motivation is some friendly competition. Check out our team building activities to get your team motivated and having fun. Having a break from the office and allowing for some casual conversation between coworkers can allow for a much-needed mental break. When employees feel motivated, they are more eager to do great work.