5 Tips to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

By on 04/27/2016

Being productive at work should be our goal every day. We go in the office thinking “Today, I am going to get everything on my to-do list done, I will not be distracted!” But by the time lunch time rolls around, you’re lucky if one task was knocked off the list. How frustrating! Good intentions are just good intentions without a plan. Here are 5 tips to increase productivity at work:

1. Identify your productivity’s biggest enemy.

Salary.com conducted a survey that revealed a whopping 89% of people waste time at work. So where is this wasted time going? Facebook “liking” and browsing is one of the biggest contributors to low productivity in the workplace.

Internet browsing in general can be a huge time-suck. With almost everything instantly at your fingertips, from social media to online shopping to a simple Google search, it’s easy to get lost in the world of distractions known as the Internet.

Ask yourself what fights against your productivity. Once identified, make a conscious effort to fight back. When you feel your brain needing a break, don’t resort to browsing; get up and take a walk. What is meant to be a 2-minute break on Facebook can easily turn into 30 minutes of wasted time.

2. Don’t procrastinate

Getting the most difficult, most important task out of the way first thing in the morning will help eliminate procrastination. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that the most difficult thing to do has already been done can rejuvenate you for the day ahead.

Eat the frog! There’s an old saying that says, “If the first thing you do when you wake up each morning is to eat a live frog, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!” Author Brian Tracy of the bestseller book “Eat That Frog!” says that your frog should be the most difficult task on your to-do list. Letting the frog sit there all day while you do any and everything else just to avoid the frog will drain your energy and before you know it, that “most difficult” task that was more than likely the most important, has gone uncompleted.


3. Manage your inbox

Your work email has the potential to be one of the biggest distractions in your day when not managed well. Email is the most often used method of communication in the workplace.
It’s the way clients, coworkers and bosses communicate with you, so checking it to make sure nothing is missed is critical. However, proper management can reduce the chances of falling into the email whirlpool:

  • Designating a time to check your email and restricting the time you spend on it can do wonders for your daily productivity. Whether it’s every hour on the hour or once in the morning, once after lunch and once before the end of business day, this will help you gain control over the time you spend in your inbox
  • Organizing your inbox and creating rules for the people you communicate with the most will eliminate overcrowding while also putting into use of prioritization.
  • Completing what’s asked of you immediately if it’s something that can be done within the time you allocated for checking your email. It’s easy to try to jump on every request asked of you and lose hours doing things that were requested via email and nothing that was needed to be done for the day. If it can’t be done quickly, schedule it for a later time.

4. Don’t limit yourself to communicating via email

Some tasks can be better understood, planned out and executed by picking up the phone and conversing. Communication via email can become very frustrating and can be a strain on productivity, especially when there is miscommunication, or slow response time comes into play. Many people prefer phone contact rather than email mainly because it gets rid of delay and avoids “information overload”. Emails can be long-winded and full of unnecessary information. Talking to someone gives you the ability to ask the questions you need answered at the time you need them answered.

In an office environment, taking a short walk to your co-worker’s desk rather than emailing can also be a huge time saver. As long as you don’t start chit-chatting about your weekend or how big the kids have gotten, you can get a lot accomplished by face-to-face interaction.

Which leads me to my last tip:

5. Social butterflies never land long enough to be productive

Having good relationships with your co-workers is important. You spend more time with them during the week than you do with your own family. Catching up with your co-workers is perfectly fine. Banter about the sports game that weekend or sharing vacation plans is expected. But when you spend 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there chatting, you can accumulate hours of unproductive time without ever realizing where it went.

The key is to know when to cut it off and regain focus. Getting engulfed in good conversation is easy so you have to “on-purpose” stop the conversation and get back to work.

Implementing these tips can surely help you with the endeavor of increasing your productivity. Put these tips into action immediately, when you get that raise or promotion, you’ll be happy you did!

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One response to “5 Tips to Increase Productivity in the Workplace”

  1. Joe says:

    Great post, how about chat too? We use chat all the time and it could be good, but I can also be distracting.

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