Productivity is a concept used to describe effectiveness given by the results we get from the amount of work we put into something. Maximum productivity is the inversely proportional relationship between the amount of effort and the quality of the results. So, for optimizing work and ultimately maximizing productivity, we need to get the best results out of minimum effort.
In this article we are going to explore a few ways for optimizing the way we work in order to maximize productivity in the workplace.
1. Plan in advance
Playing things by the ear might get you through the day but it’s not a very efficient strategy in terms of optimizing work. Dealing with tasks as they come will soon get you overwhelmed and last thing you want is reaching burnout. Avoid this by planning your days in detail, making to-do lists and blocking chunks of time for important tasks.
Last-minute issues will keep arising, but the best way to deal with that is by adding some free room into your daily schedule specifically for dealing with new challenges.
2. Fight procrastination
Procrastination is the greatest enemy of productivity. Lots of people let themselves driven by a primal instinct that pushes us to avoid difficult situations that cause us a lot of stress or require a great amount of effort.
Instead of facing the situation, your primal instinct tells you to postpone it in favor of other task that will bring you immediate gratification. That’s why sometimes you might find yourself cleaning the desk or smoking a second cigarette during the break, even though the task that you need to accomplish still feels like a weight on your shoulders.
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There are different strategies you can deploy to fight procrastination, but the most important and first thing you can do is working on self awareness. Understanding your own thoughts and always being aware of the reasons behind your actions will help you control the compulsive need to avoid important tasks and replace them with little ones that bring you instant positive results. So from time to time just stop for a second and ask yourself: why am I doing what I’m just doing?
3. Avoid distractions
In today’s world, you don’t have to be a procrastinator or suffer from an attention deficit disorder in order to have your attention hijacked from even the most important work. Almost everything can be a distraction, from the snacks on the counter, the TV running behind you, the chat alert you just got on your phone, or the social media notification blinking in your minimized browser.
Just having all of these around you requires extra effort to resist the temptations. Try different strategies to avoid distractions that can cause interruptions: keep snacks and beverages at hand, set your phone on silent mode and lock it in a drawer, and even install one of the many apps that block social media on your computer for a given time.
4. Don’t wait for inspiration
For many of us working in creative fields, it can be hard to start working when feeling totally uninspired. And yet, deadlines are due and projects pile up whether you found inspiration or not.
So you have two options: just get to work or wait for the blessed moment when inspiration might strike. Since most people can’t afford to actually wait for a Muse, the only option left is to get real and start working in your current uninspired mood.
As the saying goes, craving comes as you eat. The same is true for inspiration. Once you start working, inspiration will come along. And optimizing the way you work will improve your overall productivity.
5. One step at a time
Any busy professional knows how overwhelming it can be when you have several major tasks waiting for your attention. Feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list can cause anxiety and sleep disorders that will ultimately lead to a loss of productivity.
The way to go around this is by not going around it. Just attack the tasks one by one, or even divide each of them into smaller chunks using the Pomodoro Technique. Schedule breaks to allow your brain to relax and regain focus without getting too exhausted.
6. Trust your body
Everybody has moments during the day when they feel more energized, and others when their levels of energy drop to a low. Some people are morning persons while others are night owls.
Try to accommodate your body’s natural rhythm into your work day. Schedule the hardest tasks at energy peak times, leaving the less important ones for the rest of the work day. If you are one of the people who feel like an afternoon nap would help them reinvigorate, put your head on the pillow for half an hour and then get back to work.
7. Don’t do it all yourself (delegate)
Not all tasks are created equal, and not all of them require your personal attention. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize your tasks depending on their importance. According to the matrix, you should accomplish the important and urgent tasks asap, leaving the important but not urgent for later, and delegating the urgent but less important ones.
Following these principles you will get to use your time in the most efficient way. That’s what optimizing is all about 😉
8. Rely on technology
Last but not least, do not underestimate the impact that technology can have over your productivity. Working with a team can be a very time-consuming task, with an endless potential for distractions. But this can be avoided by using a smart team communication app, like Hubgets. No more obnoxious meetings, useless CCed emails, or coworkers barging into your office to ask a question and interrupt your focus.
Handle communications at your own pace, and get rid of notifications when you are in the flow. It’s the easiest way to keep in the loop without having other people’s issues affecting your work. Smart technology enables you to keep optimizing productivity 🙂
The ball is in your court
What you need to remember at the end of the day is that you are ultimately in control of your actions. It is totally up to you to adopt the right strategies that will help you make the most of your time and efforts. Including the strategies discussed above into your daily routine will help you achieve that without a great deal of extra effort.
Do you use other strategies for optimizing your productivity? We’d like to hear about your experience in the comments section below.