Being more productive at work can have fantastic results. Promotions, recognition, or just simply getting more done at work to to be able to work less hours at home can all be benefits enjoyed when production is increased at work. Whether a person is an employee, or owns their own business, their level of productivity is directly related to their level of success in most situations. Here are a few tips to help you become more productive while working whether you are a high-paid forensic accountantor a student trying to complete your associates degree.
Prioritize – Make A To Do List
It’s easy to forget about things or to get caught up doing busy work or unimportant things in an office setting. This can easily be avoided by having a living to do list. This is a list that is recreated or modified every morning when the day begins. As things get done, they are crossed off. Making a list like this, with items prioritized, will help you stay on track at work and avoid attempts to multitask or just simply chase down low-value work. While it may feel like a waste of time to make such a list, this will probably be the best five minutes spent each day.
Get In A Rhythm
If there are daily tasks that need to be accomplished, it helps to get good at accomplishing them in the same pattern every day. They say 10,000 hours makes you an expert at something, and this holds true in this example. Repetition breeds efficiency which in turn breeds productivity. It’s that simple. If the process is followed, and refined, day after day, it will eventually become a very streamlined, efficient, and quick task.
Estimate Time To Accomplish Tasks
If there are 20 things on the to do list, and 10 of them can be done in 2 minutes each, spend 20 minutes and get them off of the list. If there is an item that is important, but will take all day, it may be best to wait and do it later when focus can be solely placed on that task. Even if something is the most important it doesn’t automatically put it on the top of the list; many factors go into the prioritization. Sometimes accomplishing 10 smaller, less important tasks can become more important than one big one when looking at the optimal use for that time block. Remember: productivity is taking maximum advantage of time. That is the key.
This is an often over-looked step in the quest to be more productive. The brain can only function for so long without needing a break. The Pomodoro Technique advises 20 minutes of intense concentration and work followed by 5 minutes of rest. These short, frequent rests are ideal, however it may be difficult if employed in an office setting. Spacing out for a minute or two and not thinking about anything, or about something enjoyable, can help get your brain back into ‘the zone.’
As I alluded to earlier, multitasking is not making good use of time. 99.9% of the time it is very inefficient and actually hurts the overall goal if productivity. Sticking to one task at at time and focusing 100% on that task is the best way to get things done. An exception may be if there is natural down-time in a task. Say, for example, your internet is really slow and running a certain report takes 3 minutes. It doesn’t make sense to sit there and do nothing for 3 minutes (unless it’s your space out/break time) so perhaps accomplishing another small task or part of another task makes sense in this situation. Proceed with caution; multitasking is a huge time suck in most cases.
Whether you are doing legal research or are the President of the United States, being productive is important. Productivity is viewed differently in different cultures, however in the United States productivity is king. Companies do all sorts of studies and spend millions of dollars each year on ways to shave seconds off of tasks and become more productive.
Management courses, leadership training, and any other newest-and-best crash course being offered is designed to do one thing: squeeze more work out of less people. That’s the name of the game, and the people that learn to maximize production are generally the ones who win that game.