19 / 07 / 2023

Top 10 ways to boost your productivity

Productivity is a buzzword in the working world, and very topical as companies introduced a working-from-home policy during the pandemic. Does being in the office make you less productive? Does a 3:2 split save your commute time so you can spend added time on detailed projects?

There are many questions surrounding how to boost our overall productivity at work, but there are many bad habits we form and ultimately we neglect to fix them. Research from Bupa identified 53% of Google searches are procrastination related. Read through our tips to understand if you have formed any bad habits and how to avoid procrastination:

1. Take a break and change your scenery

These topics coincide with each other, when taking a break it is best to seek new scenery too. Keep it simple and leave your desk for a walk around the office or outside, this helps clear and reset your mindset.

In this instance of being productive in the office, it is easy to fall into the trap of staying at your desk all day. Try scheduling time away from your desk to go for a walk, relocate your workstation or enjoy a chat with colleagues, and more importantly, do not talk about work-related tasks.

Switch off and take a break, this detachment helps you gain new perspectives and build self-esteem ready to tackle a task again if you are going around in circles. Designing a modern office space can help change your scenery with smaller workstations and refresh productivity in chill-out zones.

walking in the park

2. Let go of perfectionism

When you hold onto perfectionism it can stop you from starting or finishing a project, it’ll slow your output and prolong colleagues from using their strengths to help you. Let perfection go and you’ll feel supported to produce the best work you can do.

In most cases, the obstacle is the way and perfectionism is self-judgement in your own work, trust your colleague or client to tell you when it’s wrong, as this is the only way to learn. Holding onto perfectionism can indicate to your colleagues you don’t trust their feedback.

When overcoming complex tasks there will be an element of getting things wrong, and these are your biggest learning opportunities. Importantly, it’s a way we can get closer to perfection. Letting go of this illusion can keep you moving forward and being productive, even if you get things wrong you are still moving forward and being productive. Rather than procrastinating over how you can make a project perfect.

3. Stop multitasking

This might sound counterproductive as working on multiple tasks is surely more productive. ‘I am doing more tasks, so I am working harder, therefore being more productive’, right? Wrong!

You’re likely to be only touching the surface of these projects and not delving deeper into critical thinking. You’ll be pulled from project to project and fatigue your decision-making skills. Research shows that eliminating the number of decisions you make in a day can improve your productivity, as we allow ourselves the space, self-reflection and time to make big decisions with a clear outlook.

We roughly make 35,000 decisions a day, preserving this can help you focus clearer on demanding projects at a higher level of critical thinking, whereas making too many lower-level decisions can increase your stress levels. Once your stress levels are high you’ll feel overwhelmed with projects and forming bad habits.

Stop multitasking, make fewer decisions and focus on 3 to 4 projects daily for critical thinking. Organise your day to compound choices together, great leaders and productive workers preserve their ‘mental energy’ for the projects that need critical thinking but keep routine in the simpler tasks like what to wear or what to eat every day.

Working with multiply screens

4. Limit Distractions and Set Boundaries

This follows on from multitasking and segmenting your time clearly should be a top priority, this enables you to achieve a greater level of critical thinking to be productive on projects. We recommend booking out your calendar with ‘focus’ time, this eliminates distractions from email notifications, urgent meetings and people approaching you in passing. It communicates to your team and manager that this time is precious and that you are protecting your decision-making skills for this demanding project.

Phones are a huge distraction from work, setting screen limits or work-only modes can help protect your productivity. Eliminating phone time in the office can see an uplift in decision-making and critical thinking on projects.

5. Figure out productivity patterns

This can resonate differently with a lot of people, but figuring out what works for you is an important goal. Observe when you do your best work over a month and make a productivity routine. Ask yourself the following questions to help understand when you do your best:

  • Are you most productive in the morning?
  • Do you get a second wind in the afternoon?
  • Does wearing headphones help reduce background noise to limit distractions?
  • Does music help you focus on a project?
  • Does writing a ‘to-do list’ help you stay productive throughout the day?
  • Do you work best in a team when ideas are being shared?
  • Do you work best independently?
  • Do you work best when you have examples to follow?

In conjunction with your productivity pattern, it is also important to understand your direct team’s working pattern, as working collaboratively can improve everyone’s output. When being productive in the office, set your boundaries so you feel respected, valued and dialled in to do your best work. Then set your productivity routine that also compliments your direct team.

6. Delegate and ask questions

When working collaboratively in a team, it is best to delegate work to those best equipped to complete it. Identifying who a project best lies with is sometimes the most difficult part. This makes sure people are using their strengths and not offloading work that’s considered boring.

We often take on work outside of our remit to impress, push ourselves or control the output. But going back to our setting boundaries, when you block out time and delegate projects you streamline your own time and reduce your decision-making fatigue. This allows you to be productive on your projects and make decisions for the right reasons at work.

Questions can be considered as a weakness for not knowing but should be considered a strength of curiosity. To increase productivity is to ask difficult questions, instead of going around in circles from your research or knowledge. When you are in the office, you can communicate with colleagues easily and face-to-face helps communicate projects collaboratively, something that is lost when large parts of teams are working from home.

in the office working as a team

7. Project management and productivity tools

Whether it’s your productivity or your team’s productivity, the best way to manage projects is through a project management tool. Trello, Salesforce, Asana, Basecamp and Monday.com all have ways for you to manage, keep track, allocate time and prioritise projects you have on at work. This can be half the battle at times and using Project Management tools can help streamline your time when it comes to organising projects and staying productive in the office.

8. Be Proactive, not reactive

It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of just doing whatever work is most urgent or whoever shouts the loudest. It is a bad habit in many work cultures and drowning the workforce in too many tasks without feeling productive. However, setting time aside to work on projects proactively can be a compound choice in feeling productive, as you are achieving what you want to achieve in a day.

When you allow incoming phone calls and emails to dictate your day, it’ll feel like you are putting out fires and then that becomes all you have accomplished. When you have a plan and execute that plan it will feel self-rewarding and empowering that you can accomplish anything you set your mind (Plan) to. This mindset switch can allow you to enjoy work and not feel like you’re putting out fires to please other people’s needs. A huge part of being productive is enjoying the process, and this is a vital tip to ensure you are making the most of being in the office with your colleagues.

9. Your workstation

Research has shown that fitting an office space with aesthetically pleasing elements, like plants, increases productivity by up to 15%. When you are happy you are more likely to produce your best work, we also spend the majority of our time in an office environment. Make this your happy space, and treat yourself and your team to something that will put a smile on everyone’s face. A quiz, uplifting quotes, plants, and natural sunlight are all positive elements to increasing your productivity. Check out our top 10 tips for designing a modern office

10. The two-minute rule

Simple by design, simple in execution but massively impactful on your workload. The rule was coined by David Allen in the bestselling book ‘Getting Things Done’. If you see a task or project that you know can be done in 2 minutes or less, then do it straight away. The principle is that completing the task right away takes less time than finishing it later or scheduling the time to undertake it. Simple but effective.

These top 10 tips are ideas and ways to fix many bad habits we don’t realise we have formed. The age-old saying of work smarter, not harder is very much misinterpreted. When you plan your time, plan your projects and do not obsess over the outcome. To be productive you must enjoy the process and become a work engine that people want to emulate. Reduce your decision-making, focus on time slots and do more critical thinking on demanding projects. Remember to be productive in the office, you must enjoy the process as the outcome will always change!

Clock on desk

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04 / 09 / 2023

Top tips to consider when creating a meeting room in an office

The importance of a good meeting room is essential to being productive as a team. This collaborative space gives a great opportunity to work through projects, meet deadlines and give everyone a voice.