Have you found yourself drowning in endless work and don’t know how you’ll ever get caught up? Are you a very organized person but can’t seem to get much done at work? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, keep reading. You’re about to learn 4 ways to become more productive at work (along with some bonus tips at the end).
As you climb the corporate ladder at work, you typically gain more responsibility as your title changes. More responsibility requires better time management. Better time management isn’t always acquired, sometimes it needs to be taught.
The key to being more productive is holding yourself accountable for your deliverables. Find out how your time is spent, then adjust accordingly. I conduct an entire training on improving productivity for new managers. Contact me for more information.
- Create tomorrow’s “to do list” before you leave work tonight. Doing this will help you hit the ground running in the morning and give you more to get ‘er done as soon as you get your morning coffee. Planning the night before keeps you from spending 30 minutes to an hour figuring out what you’re going to do that day. When I get to the office, I like to review my list, and prioritize things based on deadlines and level of importance. I then set timed deadlines to get things completed so that I stay on track each day.
- Pick four things off your to do list every morning, that you vow to complete no matter what. This activity helps those that feel like they spend a lot of time working, but can’t get anything finished. If you’re new to creating to do lists for work, here’s a secret: everything on your to do list won’t get done tomorrow. Instead of just creating a list, grab a colorful post it note and write down 4 things that you will accomplish today. As you end your day, you will see that you DID accomplish things and you can mentally reward yourself throughout the day for checking these things off your list. TIP: As a manager, employee recognition is so important in morale building and retention efforts. One of my 4 daily accomplishments will always be connecting with an employee over the phone, via email, face-to-face, or through a hand written card).
- Follow the 2-minute work rule. The 2-minute work rule is simple: if you can respond to the email, or complete the task in 2-5 minutes, do it immediately. This includes copying a doctor’s note for one of your employees. Re-sending a report that a colleague is asking for. Sending your availability to HR to schedule interviews. Don’t add the task to your to do list tonight. Don’t put it off. Just do it.
- Revisit your to do list frequently to review what you’ve already completed throughout the day. I revisit my to do list and cross things off frequently. This may not help with immediate productivity, but this activity keeps me motivated to get more done and look at a to do list with more completed than not. Think of this tip as a mental stimulant, rather than a tangible one.
Bonus: If you find yourself wasting too much time at work – getting restless, sleepy, or bored, try the 50/10 rule. Work in bursts of an undisturbed 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break to stretch, walk around the office, and get some water. After your 10 minute refresher, get right back to it with another 50 minute stretch. I like doing this when I’m working under a tight deadline. I tend to be more focused during the 50 minutes and more relaxed after the 10 minute breather.