If you were to search the internet to learn how to become more productive in the workplace, countless articles would appear in seconds. And if you searched for productivity apps, the same thing would happen. In the age of information at your fingertips, it is very easy to suffer from information overload. To eliminate productivity killers, without becoming overwhelmed by the onslaught of information, there are some simple steps you can take, and the best thing is, these are the strategies that the most successful and highly accomplished people use.
Plan and organize your day: A common productivity and time management tip is to plan your day the night before or first thing in the morning. But creating a to-do list is not enough. To become more successful and highly productive, you have to take it one step further. By scheduling your activities, you are attaching a time to when you will complete tasks, so you are likely to complete them. And it is also a good idea to work on your most important tasks first. It is not a good idea to work on your easiest tasks first because they are not necessarily the most important ones.
Have uninterrupted blocks of time to work: According to the New York Times, “Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, found that a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption.” In a Fast Company article, the writer, Kermit Pattison, writes about the results of a study on switching tasks, “We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here's the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” Other studies report that it takes up to 45 minutes to regain your focus after an interruption. Any professional who expects to become successful and more productive, have to schedule blocks of time where he or she can focus solely on work. Uninterrupted blocks of time include turning off your phones and email.
Stop multitasking: This tip is related to the one above. Many people believe that they can get more work done by working on more than one task at a time. However, research studies show that multitasking does not work because you do not perform any of the tasks well. In the article, “Multitasking Can Damage Your Brain and Career, Studies Say”, Travis Bradbury, an author, reports on a study that highlights the dangers of multitasking – it is also a productivity killer.
Limit the number of meetings you participate in: Most meetings are unnecessary, not managed properly and ineffective, and often times, not everyone who attends a meeting needs to be there. Before you attend a meeting, request the meeting agenda, to help determine if you really need to attend. This John Cleese video, Meeting, Bloody Meetings, describes many meetings. Attending too many meetings is definitely a productivity killer.
Monitor the number of breaks you take: It is important to take breaks during the day to recharge your batteries, so to speak. And it is unhelpful to consistently work through your lunch break. But pay attention to how many five-minute breaks you take during the day because they can quickly add up, which is definitely a productivity killer. Deliberately build breaks into your schedule.
Surround yourself with highly productive and accomplished people: It’s often been said that you are the sum total of the five people closest to you. When you surround yourself with productive people, their attitudes and behaviors will rub off on you. This is another productivity killer.
There are many wonderful and effective productivity apps, but if you eliminate these productivity killers from your day, in no time, your productivity will soar. At that time, you can add productivity tools to your toolkit.
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