By Bill Wirtz
Work is a demanding process of juggling a large set of responsibilities, including managing coworkers, client expectations, meeting deadlines, and completing tasks with the adequate care needed to satisfy superiors. During the pandemic and beyond, whether it’s in a home office or a cubicle, professionals of all types are asking how they can improve their productivity. Here are X tips on how to improve your productivity at work!
1. Avoid multitasking
Doing several things at the same time? Not a good strategy if you want to get ahead. Science proves it: switching from one task to another requires extra time to make the mental effort. Researchers at Stanford found that people who were bombarded with multiple streams of electronic information had more difficulty concentrating than those who were working on one task at a time.
2. Take breaks
Did you know that 20 minutes of nap or break can increase productivity by 35% and concentration by 50% according to studies conducted by NASA? A 10-minute break every 2 hours is highly recommended to stay focused. You can use this time to have a coffee with your colleagues in your lunch room or go out for a breath of fresh air to clear your head and keep you motivated.
3. Clear the mind
In the knowledge economy, time is not everything. The best ideas often come to us when we least expect them. A short walk, for example, can give you a sense of perspective. And if you don’t mind the lotus position, meditation is known to have a beneficial effect on concentration.
4. Fidgeting or chewing gum is better than caffeine
While some may think that having yet another espresso will solve their productivity problem, it is proven that fidgeting or chewing sugar-free gum will actually improve your focus all while relaxing you. According to studies, gum is associated with higher alertness regardless of whether performance tasks were completed and altered sustained attention.
5. Learn to say no
To be productive, we need to say no often. Knowing how to say no allows us to avoid committing ourselves to side projects. It frees us from time-consuming tasks and makes it much less likely that we will lose focus. Saying no is about blocking out all those unnecessary nuisances to create a productive space in which we can focus on what matters most.
6. Avoid unhealthy habits
You may be familiar with the phrase “For your health, avoid eating between meals”. The principle also applies at work! Avoid snacking between breakfast and lunch, for example. Eating good meals is more than enough to keep you going all day. If you really can’t hold back, again, opt for fruit instead of cake. Sugary snacks will only weigh on your conscience, not improve your productivity.
Fear of wasting time or losing control of your projects, lack of confidence or communication. There are many obstacles to delegation. However, knowing how to offload certain tasks makes you an agile, responsive manager who knows how to put his or her ego aside by accepting help.
However, it is important to delegate for the right reasons. The desire to get rid of a boring task or urgency should not be a motivating factor. On the other hand, if it is done effectively, delegation allows for better time management.
Bill Wirtz is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Consumer Choice Center.