Everyone feels the continuous urge to perform better at the work. But distracted minds, procrastination, seems like the biggest hurdle to achieving the goal for us. To improve productivity at work, we search for tips that will beat these obstacles at work. But we never search for the reason behind this situation.
Why do you feel distracted and procrastinate to finish a task?
Well, there is a science behind every human behavior. Research published in the Neuron journal showed that the human brain was designed to be distracted. From ancient times we’ve developed “mind wandering” where we can easily distract our mind to reduce stress and gain unrealistic happiness.
Researchers from Brooklyn college said that the prefrontal part of our brain which processes problem-solving, planning, is connected with procrastination. People tend to pick those tasks first that seem easier and interesting and leave those tasks for later which they do not want to face.
So, how to beat procrastination and a distracted mind? Is there any way?
Luckily, there are ways to fight this behavior. The more we will work on improving our prefrontal cortex that is a part of our brain, the more we can gain more efficiency in our work life. To improve productivity you need to focus on activities that increase your brain functionality. In this article, I’ve listed Top 10 productivity tips that will help you to improve your focal point at work.
Top 10 Productivity Tips at Work
At this point, you know that it’s not just you who’s feeling less productive at work and jumping on google for hacks. There are millions of people who search for productivity hacks and millions of articles you’ll find on this topic. As of now, you are reading this article, I hope the listed ideas below will guide you to your goal.
1. Have a Growth Mindset
There are two types of mindset among humans. One is a growth mindset and the other is a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset, believe that intelligence is static. They never try to learn something new or feel the persuasion to update themselves with new challenges and knowledge. And people with a growth mindset, believe that they can learn anything and take any challenge. These are the basic ideas of these two types.
Among them, having a growth mindset can change your living. If you continue learning new things and motivate yourself from criticism to work, you’re gonna be benefitted in the long run.
A study proves that if someone changes their mindset from fixed to growth, it leads to increased motivation and achievement. If you are a person with a fixed mindset, then there is still a way to change your mindset and improve your performance at work.
- Embrace criticism and work on it.
- Learn skills and apply them to your life.
- Have an attitude to learn from anyone at any age.
- Encourage others.
- Keep researching.
2.Figure out Why Your To-Do List is Not Working
We all make to-do lists of the assigned tasks. But somedays, it feels like there is a huge workload in your shoulder and the finishing point is nowhere. If this is happening with you frequently, then you need to sit and think why this is not working for you?
Many of us terribly fail to make a realistic to-do list. It’s not just making lists on paper and working on them. To make a foolproof to-do list you need to be strategic and emphasize some points that are often neglected.
- Separate work goals based on category.Such as- Project, presentation, Reporting, daily tasks, Due.
- Schedule time frame.
- Write only those tasks that need to be done in a day.
- Make a specific, realistic point. Example- ✔️proof presentation slides. ❌ presentation.
- Use remember, or time frame to emphasize on important work. For example- ✔️Remember to call the client within an hour. ❌Call the client.
- To don’t list is important too.
Learn more: How to Manage Personal To-Do List
3. Avoid Multitasking to Manage Time
Only 2% of people can multitask successfully!
That means 98% of people are failing to multitask and actually harming their productivity. To manage the time you’re trying to do more than one work at a time. You can finish the tasks with very little time but the quality of your work may not be the same.
“Focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points’’Harvard Business Review
Moreover, Multitasking increases the rate of error. And do you remember that theory of the brain I mentioned? The prefrontal part of your brain can not help you take better decisions if you’re imposing juggled tasks. Then why you’re wasting time on this beast? Avoid multitasking, and see the progress.
4. Implement Eisenhower Matrix
At the very beginning of the day, have you ever felt clueless about tasks? If the answer is yes, you are not the only one. Many of us out there face the same issue almost every day. We can’t figure out which tasks should be done first, or on which task we should spend more time. Then, we get confused and invest huge amounts of time on less important work. This confusion reduces our time and efficiency. As work hours are fixed or limited, you need to find some productivity tips.
When we face any problem, we search for ideas that successful people used to follow. Eisenhower was one of the successful presidents of the United States of America. He invented this Eisenhower matrix to identify the most important and urgent ones among all the tasks. So, how’s this matrix work? Well, to explain it, I’ve attached a figure below—
Eisenhower matrix a.k.a urgent important matrix is divided into 4 quadrants –
Important & urgent
According to urgency tasks are needed to complete immediately. But you need to figure out which tasks are most important among them. So, how will you figure out which task is more important than the rest? If any task requires your special skill or creativity and comparatively more time then we can call it an important task. That way, you can give your full attention to the aforementioned task. Now you know which tasks are important and at the same time urgent.
Important but not urgent
Suppose, you have a presentation next week. Depending on that presentation your monthly performance bonus will fluctuate. This is something really important for you. But, you have 7 days left to prepare for it. That means the task is not urgent at this moment. Hence, you need to invest huge time and attention in this presentation. That’s why you should schedule the time frame of these 7 days. If you spend a few hours every day on the task, the quality of that presentation will be better and gradually you’ll be ready to face the big day. In this way, this second quadrant works.
Not important but urgent
The third quadrant is the most tricky part of this matrix. These are the tasks we get from any colleague, boss, or junior to accomplish for them. These are urgent but not important for you. For example- you’re mentoring a newbie. This person is making mistakes and getting more dependent on you. Surely, your responsibility is to guide him- not spoonfeed him. In such cases, you can politely say no to those tasks or delegate to others.
Not important & not urgent
The tasks such as- talking with family members over the phone, checking personal social media feed, playing video games on the official computers are unnecessary and sometimes prohibited in the workplace. List them down and try to eliminate them from your daily activity at work.
5. Food For Brainstorming
Aside from physical strength, brainstorming is essential in corporate offices. If you are someone who needs to sit in front of a computer from 9 to 5 and work efficiently every day, then you must need foods that enhance your brain functionality and eyesight. Foods containing iron, potassium, omega-3, vitamin-E are really good for the brain. You should choose your meal according to this ingredient. To get more idea about foods for the brain, you can read this article – Food for Brain Health: 6 Superfoods that You Must Eat
6. Build a Relationship with Your Team
If you are a 9-to-5 office person, you are spending about 8 to 9 hours of your day with your co-workers. In this time period, you can’t just look at the computer screen and work like a Robo. And the main fact is you’re not working for a company as an individual, neither can you run any company with your individual effort. Here, co-workers help you to get things done. The growth of the company depends on everyone’s contribution. So, building a positive relationship with your team or co-workers is beneficial for your personal growth. You may ask how’s this gonna work?
Well, If your colleagues and bosses like you as a team member, they might help you with your important project. Even if you face any problem in your workplace they can support you in this. Most importantly, employers promote those who have leadership power and influences other workers. In that case, how can you build a positive relationship with your co-workers? Any thoughts? Let me help you to find some:
- Greetings really work.
- Encouraging emails prove that you care.
- Big treat after a big achievement influences them to work better.
- Empathetic behavior to others makes a good impression.
- Raising voice for any colleague when they need it.
7. Keep your phone aside
Let’s be real— it’s not easy to stay an hour without checking the phone and you know this behavior distracts you from your work. However, you have to use the phone to attend important calls, and check emails. To avoid distractions while making the best use of your phone, you can try several things described below:
- Schedule important phone calls.
- Keep your phone silent and turn off notification.
- For replying or checking emails, use your computer.
- Set alarms or reminders on your computer.
- Encourage your family and friends to leave a message for you if it’s not urgent.
- Set a working mood where data usage will be limited.
- Use Bluetooth headphones to attend calls so that you don’t need to touch your phone.
8. Try Desk-Friendly Exercise
The author of “The anytime, anywhere exercise book” Joan price said,
“We are made to move, not to sit at a desk 12 hours a day”
You may not work at a desk for 12 hours long but, working for even an hour without moving affects the blood circulation of our body. When blood is unable to circulate to a part of the body it causes muscle stiffness and muscle ache which develops tons of mental stress.
Doctors believe that even a little amount of exercise always helps to motivate a person to work for their goals. No matter where you are, you can try freehand exercise and stretch for a few minutes. Including some freehand exercise ideas below, so that you can try these at your desk.
You can try hand stretching anywhere. You need to sit at a 90-degree position. Then you can roll your arms clockwise-anticlockwise, lift them higher, and then stretch them from left to right. Also, you can include neck rolling while doing this 4-5 min exercise. This will reduce muscle stiffness.
Close your eyes, slowly try inhaling air and slowly exhale. This exercise helps to remove tiredness and improve focus.
While sitting in your chair, extend one of your legs and try to touch your toe with fingers. Do this again with the other leg. It will take 2-3 minutes max. Your back will thank you after this stretching routine.
Bent knee stretch
To avoid leg cramps bend one of your knees, and hug it close to your chest. Then repeat this for another leg.
This is the easiest thing you can do. Take a break for 2-3 minutes and walk around. It will divert your mind from the workload.
9. Organize Your Desk
Often we can’t seem to find a specific file when we urgently need to show someone else. Awkward and frustrating, right? Piles of papers, stationeries, thousands of files in your desktop homepage, are always gonna kill your valuable time. You are a creative, productive, and efficient worker but you never know where you saved your files in the computer or in which drawer the reports are hiding. To avoid this kind of situation try to keep your table tidy.
A clean desk will motivate you to work and soothe your eyes. You can keep a small house plant on your desk to bring more color to your work life. Using different folders for daily tasks can reduce the time you used to invest in file searching. Also, you can keep a basket to throw waste so that desks never fill up with useless papers.
10. Use Proper Tools and Equipment
To increase productivity at work, 9 tips above explain what you can do for yourself. But this last tip is all about how other things can help you to be more productive. Equipment like computer, organizing table, printer, speeds up our daily work. That’s why we invest in them. Similarly, you can use software that will organize your task, manage your time, schedule your meetings, produce automated emails, etc.
Here is a list of popular software that people love to use- 6 Apps That’ll Make Work-Life Balance a Reality
Be Strategic to Improve Productivity at Work
How well you can work at a specific time and get a positive output from it, measures your productivity. That means you don’t need to work harder to be productive, you need to plan strategically and act on it. In this article, I tried to help you with tips that improve productivity at work. Figure out which you never tried and plan your goal to ultimate efficiency. Also, comment below your ideas on this topic. I would like to hear from you.