We'd all like to be more productive at work, but like anything worthwhile, improving your productivity takes effort and requires constant tweaking of your approach. Forbes.com suggests ways to hone your productivity - here are some points from the Forbes article that struck home for us:
1. Understand Your Body's Timetable
As a culture, we've arbitrarily decided that most work should happen between 9am and 5pm, with a break at noon. However, our bodies all have their own natural rhythms. Some of us can identify as "morning people", and for others, the best hours are in the lead up to heading home, or after the sun goes down. Its important to understand your own body's timetable, and make sure you plan the toughest tasks for when your energy levels are at their best, and leave the easy tasks for when you're feeling less energized and motivated.
2. Prioritize Prioritizing
Don't leave your productivity to chance. Put together a prioritized todo list so you know where to focus. There are so many great todo list tools available to help you get control of your productivity, and access your todo list on all your devices. It helps to sort your todo list into logical categories like "admin" and "project work", or by difficulty/effort so you can attack each task at the most appropriate time for your body's timetable. It also helps to create a separate list or tag for "Waiting" or "Blocked" tasks, when you have to wait for someone else to finish their task before you can start.
3. Take Breaks
Your brain wasn't made for relentless laser-focus. To stay at your most productive, you should take a break at least once an hour to give your brain time to refresh and refocus on the bigger picture. If you work on a computer all day, try to step away from your desk and socialize, or get some different scenery. If you're under fluorescent lighting all day, step outside and get some natural light. Give your eyes time to refresh too - try not to spend your breaks staring into your Facebook feed.
4. Don't Multi-Task
Have you noticed that people who say they are "great multitaskers" are often the productivity bottlenecks in your company? The human brain is great at focusing on one thing at a time. Best to understand this, and avoid trying to be super-human. Focus on one todo list item at a time, and move onto the next when its completely finished.
5. Create A Five-Minute List
Set up a list of tasks that would take you under five minutes, and power through these before you dive into the meaty stuff. Some productivity methodologies like Getting Things Done (GTD) recommend that any task that takes under five minutes should be done immediately. Such tasks can be a productive way to take a break from the bigger brain bending tasks.
This one wasn't on Forbes' list, but we think its critical...
6. Understand how you spend your time
With very little effort, you can get TimeTracker to automatically track your activities over the course of your work week. Do you know how much time you spent in meetings this week? Or how much time you spent browsing the web, versus working in your creative applications? TimeTracker can tell you all this and more.