The easiest way to become a more successful person is to work on your productivity.
The most valuable employees aren’t just the ones who work the fastest or the most; they’re the people who know how to make the most of their schedule so that they’re working smarter.
Get your productivity habits right, and you won’t spend each day rushing through to-do lists and struggling to hit deadlines. Instead, you’ll know which projects you need to focus on first, which you need to delegate, and which you can ignore entirely.
So, how do you become more productive? Simple solutions like turning off the notifications on your phone and eliminating unwanted distractions are helpful. However, you’ll also need to make some more radical changes to your habits too. Use these strategies to take your productivity to the next level.
Get a Head Start
The people who accomplish the most are often those who know how to plan. Most business leaders and financial specialists have a career plan, a personal plan, and even schedules for their day-to-day work. Follow in their footsteps by getting a head start on each day.
Before you finish up work for the day, take a few minutes to look over your commitments for the day ahead. Are there any specific appointments that you need to do some research for? Which tasks do you want to focus on first? The busier you are, the better off you’ll be by planning in advance.
Looking through your day will also allow you to schedule your most critical tasks at the times when you know you’re the most productive. For some people, it will be key to handle the most daunting challenges first thing in the morning. For others, the best results will come after lunch.
Pinpoint the times in your schedule when you’re likely to feel drained or uninspired, and set those times aside for answering emails or finishing repetitive tasks.
Challenge Your Routine Every Day
Every time you feel frustrated with your processes at work, it’s a chance for you to explore a better way. There are constant opportunities in the professional world for us to make improvements to our strategies and develop ourselves. However, we often tune these moments out, because we tell ourselves that we need to follow a specific routine.
However, you shouldn’t be afraid to make small changes to your processes if they can make you more productive. Today’s employers are looking for staff that can make their own decisions and drive innovations. If you believe that you can do more by taking a different approach, talk to your manager.
For instance, maybe you can use batch processing tactics to organise chunks of your work. For example, you might return phone calls at 11:45 to avoid getting drawn into long conversations (people will be eager to get to lunch). Or maybe you can answer emails rather than attending the afternoon meeting.
Put Your Career Vision First
Sometimes, achieving optimal productivity begins with getting your mindset right. How serious are you about your success, and how many changes are you willing to make to pursue your goals? It helps to have a vision of what you want to accomplish in your career to guide and motivate you here. If you can see where you’d like to be 5 or 10 years from now, you’ll understand how each move and compromise takes you closer to that target.
You may decide that you need to make some radical changes. For instance:
- Can you get up at 6 am, or 5 am instead of 7 am to prepare for the day in advance? Putting mind over mattress may mean that you get more done – as long as it doesn’t mean giving up on crucial sleep.
- Getting rid of energy vampires: If there are people in your life that consistently make you feel drained and overwhelmed, do what you can to avoid them. This will preserve your enthusiasm.
- Don’t do so many meetings: Speak to your boss about cutting down on unnecessary meetings if you think that they’re just harming your productivity.
Take Care of Yourself
A lot of professionals assume that the only way to be more productive at work is to commit to their career 110%. Although it’s true that you need to be dedicated, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to look after yourself. Healthy people are more productive. Caring for your mind and body puts you in a position where you can deliver your best every day. Remember to:
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast. The right food will give your brain a boost of energy – crucial for keeping you focused as you head to work.
- Exercise more: Anything from regular walks around the office to mid-day exercise breaks can boost productivity. Exercise makes you happier and gets your blood pumping, which can clear some of the cobwebs out of your mind.
- Drink plenty of water: When you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel more tired, and less able to concentrate.
What’s more, remember that working 90-hour weeks won’t necessarily fast-track your success. Some studies suggest that our productivity levels naturally drop when we go beyond a 40-hour work week because we feel overly tired.
Transform your To-Do List
Finally, if you want to make the most out of your work days, then you need to make sure that you’re focusing on the correct tasks. Productive people regularly set to-do lists, but to get more done, you might need to transform those lists by getting rid of unnecessary jobs. According to Walter Isaacson, the Author of Steve Jobs, Apple’s success was built on the projects people chose to ignore.
Sit down with your to–do list at the beginning of each day (or the night before), and ask yourself:
- Which tasks can you delegate to someone else?
- How many commitments do you have that don’t need to be kept?
- What can you say no to?
Rejecting tasks that aren’t right for you or your skillset isn’t a bad thing. Just make sure that you practice saying no. Something like “Thanks for thinking of me, but no thank you,” will usually go down well.
About Job Fitts
Job Fitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from; HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline.