Six tips to increase your performance and productivity at work

July 5, 2017  |   Written by Magan Kalra

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ~ Paul J Meyer

You need to increase your performance and productivity at work not just because you are being paid for the job, but also for the growth of your career.

If you are working for someone else your performance and productivity will be evaluated before promoting you or before giving you a raise. If you are working for yourself, you need to perform and be extra productive because this is how you are going to grow your business.

Without increasing your performance, without focusing on how productive you are, you become easily replaceable. The moment you become replaceable, you should start worrying.

But, being productive doesn’t just mean working hard, although, working hard is an irreplaceable ingredient for success at the workplace. Being productive means contributing towards the overall growth of your organization. You can work hard at creating a memo by strenuously working on the typefaces, on the formatting, on the use of vocabulary and such, but this doesn’t mean it is going to solve any purpose unless you work for a design agency that is particularly looking for highly beautiful memos. Your work should mean something.

Given below are six tips to increase your performance and productivity at work.

1. Organize and set priorities

There can be a thousand things to do when you reach your workplace. You have to make sure that you are not spending lots of time doing casual stuff while important stuff remains unattended. Replying to emails may seem more inviting, but if you need to crunch some numbers in order to create that report that is going to get you a new project, it is more important. Checking WhatsApp messages should never take precedence over taking care of important tasks.

2. Minimize distractions around you

The man has never been more distracted in history than he is today.

Various studies have shown that it takes 25 minutes to get your attention back to the work that you were doing before getting distracted. Distractions can be lethal whether they originate from your PC/laptop, from your mobile phone or from your colleagues and fellow workers. When you have to focus make sure that there are no distractions.

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks,” said Winston Churchill.

Churchill may have said this under different circumstances and in a different context but this is also applicable to the distractions that come your way. Just because things are happening around you doesn’t mean you constantly have to respond to them.

Even if you work in an environment where eliminating distractions isn’t very easy, you will need to devise ways to eliminate them and if not completely eliminate them, then at least to minimize them.

3. Set clearly-defined deadlines

Normally we have deadlines at the workplace but sometimes these deadlines are not clearly defined unless there is an emergency. Create a schedule or a calendar of all the tasks that you need to achieve in order to increase your performance and improve your productivity.

Deadlines in themselves don’t help you much unless you make yourself accountable. So, reward yourself if you meet the deadlines and punish yourself if you don’t. Now, punishing doesn’t mean exposing yourself to mental and physical injury. You can simply deprive yourself of your favorite meal in case you don’t meet your deadline and reward yourself with your favorite meal (or even with your favorite TV show) if you meet the deadline.

4. Quit multitasking – it is overrated and misrepresented

“Multitasking is great in the kitchen when you’re trying to time the chicken to be ready at the same time as the potatoes. But do not assume it is a great way to manage a work day.” ~ Joanne Tombrakos.

The next time someone tells you that he or she multitasks, don’t get impressed. Only those people multitask who don’t manage their work well. Focus on one task at a time because this is how our brain is designed to function. Our brain is not designed for multitasking. To be frank, even computers don’t multitask; it’s just that the processors are so fast that even when they perform tasks one task at a time, we feel as if multiple tasks are being performed at the same time.

5. Identify your weaknesses and blind spots

It is often said that we shouldn’t focus on too much negativity but properly knowing yourself isn’t as harmful as it is made out to be. It is always good to know your weaknesses and blind spots. What sabotages your productivity? What are the mental and environmental roadblocks that stop you from giving your best? What are the bad habits that you developed over the years that stop you from optimizing your performance at your workplace? It’s always better to keep a log of things that cause distractions, that drain you emotionally and physically and that stop you from achieving your potential. Then start working at them one by one: deal with them, create barriers and devise a strategy to ultimately eliminate them from your life.

6. Work in intervals and take timely breaks

Researchers at the Florida State University have discovered that the top performers can focus on a particular task for 90 minutes and after that, the performance begins to diminish. These limits can vary from person to person. Some people can work really at long stretches and some people need frequent breaks of five minutes or 10 minutes. That’s alright. You are not here to break records or perform marathon streaks of work.

You will need to find this out for yourself. Every individual is unique so there is no set template that fits all. But the main point is, find out – it may take you a few weeks to know – for how long you can work uninterrupted, non-stop and when you need a break. This will help you optimize your performance and improve your productivity.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ~ Paul Meyer.

There is nothing exceptional about being able to give your best at your workplace. You just need to be focused on improving yourself. Constantly question yourself, how can you perform your best, how you can improve your productivity?

Have you been able to figure out some productivity hacks for yourself that you would like to share? Are you a big fan of developing positive habits to improve your performance? Do share your experience in the comments section.

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