Productivity—it’s much sought after in the business world. But with our hectic working lives in full flow, how can you go about your day more efficiently? To help you along, here are 20 productivity-boosting tips you might have missed out on.
#1 Limit your time in meetings
Software development innovator Atlassian produced a unique infographic to highlight just how much time many employees waste whilst at work. One of the worst offenders is meetings. 31 hours a month are lost to them, its data claims. For most of this meeting time, it will be spent sitting bored when the employee would rather be working. How do you overcome this? If you’re a business owner, limit meetings to people who genuinely need to be there. Limit meetings in general, too, for when they genuinely need to happen—it can be too tempting to have multiple meetings a week for the sake of it. With a new schedule in place, for the meetings, you do attend keep them concise. This will free up an enormous amount of time for everyone.
#2 Use your commute wisely
You don’t have to work during your commute, but you can use the time to read, keep up with the news, listen to a podcast, or meditate quietly. For many employees, the daily commute remains something to dread, but it can be turned into a more beneficial experience if you embrace some of your hobbies.
#3 Streamline your HR
If there’s a mass of HR paperwork lying around your office, you can be far more practical with cutting-edge HR software This can place all of your documentation into the cloud, letting you manage absences, shift and rota patterns, and staff details in one secure digital environment. A perfect way to keep your records in order.
#4 Remove distractions
Procrastination is one of the biggest productivity killers. It’s easy to fall into the addictive routine of regularly checking your social media accounts, for instance. How do you stop this? Ask the IT department to put a block on the troublesome sites you feel are ruining your productivity. Then you can catch up on your social accounts during your lunch break.
#5 Don’t overeat at lunch
So you’ve stuffed three bacon and egg sandwiches, a can of coke, a chocolate bar, and some chicken nuggets into yourself for an afternoon energy spike? The bad news is, as the science shows, this is only going to lead to a massive afternoon bout of fatigue. The science behind overeating is interesting as it can be overcome with a few new tactics, such as having healthy snacks on hand. It just takes a bit of conditioning to get a healthy diet on track, with the results being more energy, better focus, and higher levels of productivity. Eat something light instead, like a salad, and get some healthy snacks for your desk drawers such as nuts or fruit to get some proper nutrition into your system and fight off hunger pangs.
#6 Learn essential keyboard shortcuts
Whether it’s Microsoft Word or some other software you use regularly, master some keyboard shortcuts to save a significant chunk of time each week. With Word, for instance, ctrl + z undoes mistakes. If you spend a lot of time writing, it’s an essential one, along with ctrl + l and ctrl + e to align headings to the left or centralise them. There are plenty more, of course, but those are the three I find makes writing content more efficient.
#7 Learn to touch type
Of course, you can bolster your skill set further with this essential ability. This is one you can work on over months, gradually improving your speed. But once you’ve mastered the ability to touch type, it opens up a different level of productivity.
#8 The Podomoro Technique
If you’re really struggling to keep your focus on your work, then this time management technique is for you. It can help you develop a sense of commitment. 25-minute stints of work lead to a break, so it’s the development of hard work being rewarded. This takes us to…
#9 Take regular breaks
In the modern business world, despite HR policies stating otherwise, many employees often battle on through their lunch breaks. Whether they view this as heroic, or just to keep on top of their workload, it can lead to staff becoming stressed or even burnt out if it carries on indefinitely. People simply need to take breaks—it can do wonders for a stressed mind and increase working commitment in the long run.
#10 Try out Coffitivity
This app/website recreates “the ambient sounds of a café to boost your creativity and help you work better.” Coffitivity has several settings, such as Morning Murmur, to offer the relaxing sounds of life ticking by in a café. Why is this useful in any way? The University of Chicago found: “A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.” Suggest this one to your creative department for some added mental stimulus.
#11 Use project management software
A PMS is suitable for any business, whether you have 10 employees or more. Smaller businesses tend to think they’re irrelevant, but they’re essential for keeping track of the projects your departments are working on. Get started on a free PMS such as Trello to see where your employees are up to at all times. This is a vibrant and engaging piece of software, too, which employees should enjoy using—there’s also the added sense of accomplishment when tasks are consigned to the complete bin.
#12 Choose tea over coffee and energy drinks
Keeping hydrated at work is important—it helps you concentrate. But it’s also essential to choose the right drink. While many employees are tempted to head for energy or fizzy drinks, these tend to do more harm than good and lead to sugar spikes and energy crashes. The solution? Tea. Green tea, for instance, contains flavonoids, polyphenols, and natural antioxidants to keep you healthy. Herbals teas such as mint, nettle, ginger, and cinnamon pack a flavorsome punch, too, along with myriad other health benefits.
#13 Improve your sleep routine
This is a big one, as many employees often struggle to get a decent night’s sleep. Generally, you need to stick to the same routine, don’t drink caffeine in the evening, avoid alcohol, avoid heavy snacking, and don’t use your devices in bed. That may sound like a major killjoy, but all of the above will disrupt your sleeping pattern. You can shake up your routine by reading before you go to bed and find equally enjoyable practices—read a book for an hour before going to sleep so you’re away from blue screens. For other tips, you can also read this post from The Guardian for how to deal with insomnia and find a good night’s rest.
#14 Listen to the right music
Inspiration, peace of mind, and productivity can come from listening to the right music. Crucially, as pointed out by Business Insider, “words are distracting.” For productive music, you really need something that plays in the background and accompanies your task. From this perspective, classical remains the go-to for many employees. With Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Pärt, and Vivaldi just a few of the composers to turn to for exceptional inspiration.
#15 And finally… be positive
Enthusiasm and optimism and endearing personality traits. Even if you’re stressed and having a bad day, it’s important to remain professional and upbeat. How do you do that, if you’re tired and want to grip? Little things can go to adding some added enjoyment to your routine, such as making your workspace fun and friendly. Add a few picture frames of family members, have a book you love close to hand and include your favorite mug. Happiness is so integral to being productive. There are plenty of other tactics, of course, but it’s important to focus in on the moments that can make your day worthwhile. A more positive you will be one more ready and able to produce top quality work, which is only ever going to help your career.