Our work can be a source of pride, of achievement, of accomplishment but also one of our greatest sources of stress. According to a study by the TUC, British people spend more time at work than anyone else in Europe, with 5.3 million of us working an average of 8 hours longer than we are contracted to each week.
There is a question raised here – is it a lack of productivity that is causing our longer working hours?
Here are a few ways to increase your productivity, getting more done in less time….
Productivity Tip 1: Focus on a single task
When you focus on a single task, it’s remarkable how quickly you can get things done.
Without external distractions, all of your energy and focus is directed towards a single goal. That allows you to really deep-dive on the job at hand and you won’t waste time, effort and brain power on secondary issues and tasks.
Take on one task at a time and you’ll complete them faster and more effectively.
Productivity Tip 2: Write lists and stick to them
When time is precious, having a list of tasks keeps you on track.
It’s easy to waste time doing unproductive work, so I find that by having a list of jobs, I always have a to-hand guide on things that I could/should be doing when I get a window of free time. It keeps you focussed and gives your day structure.
Even a small bit of work towards a goal can be incredibly useful when it comes to productivity.
Productivity Tip 3: Have your tools handy
This one should be obvious, but very few people seem to manage it.
When I’m writing, I have all of my tools handy – my notepad for ideas, my books/articles I need for research. A drink, a charger in case my laptop battery dies, a couple of pens etc. I do this so I have everything I need to hand.
Each and every time you stand up, leave a place of work to get something, you lose productive time. You get out of your work flow which can be very hard to get back into. Keep your tools handy and you’ll get a lot more done.
Productivity Tip 4: Leave your phone off, on silent, airplane mode or better yet, in another room
The smart phone is a brilliant invention and a terrible distraction in one.
Access to emails, our contact lists, the internet and a whole world of apps can be brilliant for creative and productive work. The trouble is, access to social media, YouTube and the endless distractions that come with the internet in the palm of your hand can also kill productivity dead.
For deep work, keep your phone where it can’t distract you.
Productivity Tip 5: Work alone
In many ways, the office environment isn’t productive to work.
A study by the University of Calgary suggests that workers are more productive and complete tasks quicker when they work alone, rather than with company.
Office environments can be full of distractions – office politics, chatty colleagues, phone calls, requests for help etc. With that in mind, if you have a lot to do, try to do it alone. Evidence suggests it’ll be done far more quickly!
Productivity Tip 6: Outsource where you can
If someone else can do a task for you, let them.
I personally never clean my car – I take it to a car wash, head to the cafe next door and get some work done whilst they clean my car inside and out. They do a better job than I would, it costs half of what I earn in an hour and It’s a great way of doubling up productivity.
Being busy doesn’t earn you money. Being productive does.
Productivity Tip 7: Don’t procrastinate!
We’re all guilty of this one – putting off tasks until another time!
The reality is, all we do when we put tasks off is delay their completion and create a point later in the future when the stress to complete them is higher – especially if there is a deadline involved. Make a start as soon as you can and get the work done early – you’re likely to learn the task didn’t take as long as you’d expected it to anyway!
Get started early and the future you will thank you a lot!
Productive You, Less Stressed You
Your ability to get work done quickly and effectively has a direct impact on your stress levels. If you work efficiently you’ll be able to leave work on time, spend more time with loved ones and will also be able to indulge in your favourite hobbies and pastimes, giving you a better work/life balance back.
Give these a try and see how you get on!