1. Organize your workplace
The goal of de-cluttering your desk is not to throw away everything and being left with an empty desk. You also don’t have to go as far as using a specific method to organize your workplace, such as the 5S method. It’s about bringing structure and order into your desk. The aim is to have a system which helps you find what you need quickly. It will also help you save time – time that you can use to work productively instead.
2. Take frequent breaks
This might sound counterintuitive as a lot of people see breaks as the time you’re not being productive. While it’s right that you’re not doing anything productive during breaks, it’s exactly the purpose of a break, you’re not supposed to be productive. But this doesn’t mean that breaks aren’t conducive to enhancing productivity. Productivity and efficiency is not about the quantity of the work, it’s about the quality of it. You can only deliver great work if your mind and body get enough rest. Being tired is not just harmful to your productivity, but also impedes your creativity.
3. Track your time
You might take some time to get used to tracking your work time for every tasks and activity. You might not even realize how much time you spend on certain tasks. But tracking time can help you identify time wasting tasks which you can eliminate from your schedule and focus on the important tasks instead. Keep a ‘time diary’ in which you record the time you spend on tasks. A digital tool can help you do this automatically. But if you are easily distracted by your smartphone and computer you can also track and record your time manually, e.g. with a kitchen timer and paper.
4. Set interim goals
It is better to set several interim goals or milestones that you can work towards. Regularly meeting a goal will give you a sense of achievement. This feeling in turn will motivate you to work even harder to reach the next milestone which brings you closer to reach your overall objective. Remember to really celebrate each milestone and maybe even reward yourself for a job well done.
5. Don’t strive for perfection
First of all, there is no such thing as perfection because everything can be improved. Being diligent and striving to deliver high-quality work that is error-free is very commendable. However, perfection often leads us to focus an unreasonable time on tasks that we could have finished much quicker. Instead of striving for perfection, learn to accept that ‘good enough’ really is good enough most of the time.
6. Clear your schedule for a day
The office is full of distractions and interruptions: meetings, co-workers dropping in, telephone calls and, and, and. This leaves you very little time to work productively on your projects and tasks. Did you know that during an 8 hour day, the average worker is only productive for around 3 hours? This is due to wasting time on “unproductive activities”, such as checking social media, but also due to constant interruptions. If you want to increase your productivity, regularly keep your schedule clear for a whole day. Do not accept any meeting invitations and close your office door, and mark your calendar and phone as “busy”. You will quickly see how much you can get done, because without distractions and interruptions you can get into the flow, a state of complete concentration.