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 one 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 productivity. After all, it’s hard to get anything done if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, there’s lots of tools to help you get organized. Everyone works differently, as such there’s 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 loosing the sticky note later. Using a project and process management tool like Azendoo 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.
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.
While some studies conducted by the University of California indicate that occasionally checking social media may actually boost productivity, it’s easy too get sucked into the Facebook void. Consider trying a tool like SelfControl, which allows you to block your own access to certain websites 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.
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, health 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 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. The BOND Productivity Challenge allows you and your coworkers to compete for a prize of your choosing, while also boosting your general office performance. This challenge can also help enforce good organization and focusing patterns, and help you change your habits for the better.
What tools do you use to stay increase workplace productivity?