Do you ever look at the clock at the end of the day and wonder where the time went? If your list of accomplishments seems shorter than the time spent on it, these tips can boost your productivity at work. Bring the tips home with you, too!
1. Close Social Networks
People who work with computers can sap away time on social networks like Facebook. You may find yourself constantly opening a new tab to see if you have updates, even if you literally just looked at it. Before you know it, you're busy looking through pictures of cats, chicks or cars. Even worse, you might wind up playing Candy Crush on company time. Instead, block the site from your network or computer or set specified times, like lunch, where you allow yourself to check in. Your life won't end without Facebook.
2. Take Breaks
If you've ever found yourself zoning out because you just couldn't get into a project, taking a break might be just what you need. It seems unproductive to some, but enjoy some coffee, stretching your legs and even having a snack can energize you again, so you're ready to tackle that project with gusto! Some people also incorporate breathing exercises into their breaks to help relieve stress and tension. And remember that taking time off also increases productivity.
3. Enlist Help
Many work environments encourage individual activity, but sometimes there's just not enough you to get the job done. Asking help from your staff or mentor can show that you know when you've met your limits, and it may make a daunting task easier. The same applies at home. When everyone pitches in to clean the house, it takes less time and effort than when a single person tries to do it all.
4. Dealing with Email
Unlike Facebook, email actually has to do with your job. However, that doesn't mean you should have your browser or email client open all the time at work. Take some time every day to check your email, but don't remain chained to it. Many people log in to their email as soon as they get to their office, but this might not be the best time to check your correspondence. Instead, leave it until the afternoon or one of those moments when you need to mentally check out from your project.
Furthermore, the way that you handle emails can suck up a lot of time. If you're not using tags or folders to make it easy to find messages, do so. Periodically, go through your folders to delete emails that you don't need, which can boost the speed of your email client and search function. In short, set up your email so that it's organized and you're comfortable using it without having to be one of those people who print out their emails. Finally, reply to emails that you have answers for immediately rather than letting them sit in your inbox. That way, you won't have emails hanging over your head and bogging down your mental faculties.
5. Clean Out Clutter
Just like you clean out your email folders, your physical space should be clean. Clear clutter from your desk, organize old files and remove all that trash on a timely basis. You'll find what you need easier, and your workspace will present you as professional. Another benefit to cleaning up your space is that it will actually be clean. Keyboards, telephones and other devices that you touch on a frequent basis can harbor germs that make you sick. Give everything a good wipe down with an antibacterial product because being sick certainly doesn't help productivity.
6. Find a Routine and Stick with It
Routines aren't just for the boring or old. They're great for people who repeat similar tasks on a frequent basis. Having a routine helps you figure out how much time anything should take, and this is helpful when you're struggling with tasks that are sucking up too much time and energy. It also removes wasted time in between tasks because you always know what's up next.
7. Learn to Say "No"
Saying yes to every request might look good or it might just wind up with you stressed, exhausted and with a few too many unfinished projects on your plate. That doesn't look good for your company. Instead, say "Yes" only to what you can accomplish and in a reasonable time. If you can go above and beyond, do it, but remember that you're only human just like everyone else. Of course, you have to know your boundaries before you can set them.