15 Ways to Ensure Work Efficiency and Increase Productivity at Work

Every second of your life is a priceless treasure. Do you treat it that way? 

While everyone is unique, each of us has the same number of hours in our days, days in our week, and weeks in our year. The difference boils down to how we use our time.

Making the most of our time is critical. But many of us don’t operate as productively as we would like for a couple of reasons, most of which are due to bad habits that interfere with our work efficiency.

When it comes to increasing your output at work, there are two ways you can do it: put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you but I prefer the latter. This article will walk you through 15 no-nonsense strategies for increasing your productivity at work.


1. Get enough sleep 


Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is vital for your physical and mental well-being. 

A Harvard report shows that sleep deprivation reduces efficiency and makes you more prone to making errors. It decreases your concentration, working memory, logical reasoning, and mathematical capacity. 

Being well-rested, on the other hand, elevates mood, boosts creativity, reduces stress, and improves memory. It likewise sharpens your focus and enhances your ability to accurately make split-second decisions. 

So prepare for a day’s work by getting the shut-eye you need the night before.



2. Let go of perfection


It’s common for entrepreneurs or professionals to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task. But the reality is — nothing is ever perfect.

Perfection is an illusion. It can lead you to limiting beliefs that will impede your level of success. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, grind out your task to the best of your ability and move on. 

Accepting the fact that nothing will ever be done perfectly helps you get tasks done without crippling expectations. It also helps you view setbacks as learning experiences. 

When you stop fearing failure, you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate, as we often hold back on things due to a fear of failure. 

Focus on your progress. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t perform up to the impossibly high standards you’ve set for yourself. 

Remember: If you always aim for perfection, then everything you do will always feel subpar to you.



3. Create a pre- or post-work ritual


People who unfailingly accomplish their goals by enhancing work efficiency do so by creating sustainable habits. 

To be constantly productive at work, develop a routine that puts you in your best state before and after work. These “rituals” look different for everyone, so find the one that best suits you. 

It can be spending an hour at the gym every morning or taking a long walk after work to relieve some stress. 

When you create a ritual that leaves you feeling happy, healthy, and more focused, your work efficiency will skyrocket.



4. Get organized


Studies have shown that people with a messy workspace are less efficient and more prone to frustration than those who have an organized work desk. 

Clutter limits your brain’s ability to concentrate and process information, which in turn, contributes to stress and fatigue. 

Improve your mental health and work efficiency by simply decluttering. Get rid of all the non-essential items on your desk and assign a proper place to everything. Clean up your workspace every day before you go home.

Also, give yourself something nice to look at.

Outfitting your office with aesthetically pleasing elements — like plants — can help you focus and thereby increase your productivity. It’s likewise helpful to jazz up your office space with pictures, an art piece, a bunch of flowers, or anything else that can instantly put a smile on your face. 



5. Learn to say no to meetings


Meetings are one of the biggest time-wasting activities around, yet we somehow continue to unquestioningly schedule them, attend them, and in most cases, complain about them. 

An Atlassian report shows that the average office worker spends more than 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. 

So before booking your next meeting, ask yourself first whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or even simply a Slack message.



6. Track your time


You may think you’re pretty good at estimating how much time you’re spending on different tasks. However, research suggests only around 18 percent of people can accurately gauge the amount of time spent on any task.

Time tracking is a fundamental aspect of how we help our clients identify and solve problems with their time. By tracking the three major elements of your life (health, wealth, and self) across all hours of your day, you can discover the hidden time traps that soak up your time and prevent you from engaging in the tasks you actually need or want to do.

With such information, you can have valuable insight that can be used to create strategies to help you be more productive at work.



7. Break up goals into smaller tasks

Sometimes, looking at our big projects and goals as a whole can be both overwhelming and stressful. 

But once you have broken them up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel more in control and will be much more productive. 

Instead of writing down “finish project” as your goal, try breaking that into all the tasks it involves. This helps you keep on track in your day-to-day operation and make your big projects seem less daunting.



8. Take care of the biggest tasks when you’re most alert


We oftentimes push aside bigger tasks because we’re not confident we’ll accomplish them. But by the time we get to them, we’re either too tired from our day or too stressed from the smaller tasks we accomplished first. Hence, we can no longer give them the attention they need. 

This is a perfect recipe for productivity’s downfall. 

Instead, identify when and how you work best. And do the “heavy lifting” whenever that best time is. If you’re a morning person, start your day off by doing tasks that are most creatively demanding. But if you’re more of a night owl, like me, you can do the opposite.



9. Follow the “two-minute rule”


The gist of this rule is:  If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Completing such a task right away takes less time than having to get back to it later.

Think about your daily chores like sending that email, throwing out the garbage, cleaning up the clutter, and so on.

This strategy can significantly improve your productivity by eliminating procrastination and helping you accomplish more tasks in a day.



10. Quit multitasking


Multitasking is a productivity killer. 

The human brain isn’t wired to multitask. Psychologists have found that attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity, even when the person feels like they are being more productive. 

Make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. 

We’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, eat lunch, and drive. Would you allow your surgeon to be on his phone while doing an operation?

Therefore, improve your productivity by concentrating on only one task at a time and keep distractions to a minimum.

If you are having trouble keeping focused, you can try the Pomodoro technique to give yourself sprints of time with planned breaks for a more systematized approach. Here is a great tool to get you started with Pomodoro if you are interested.



11. Take regular breaks


Don’t work your brain to the point of exhaustion. Even machines malfunction when overworked.

You might think working longer hours means getting more done, but you can’t work as well when you’re burned out, right?

This sounds counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help improve your concentration. Experts suggest that taking short breaks in-between long tasks helps you maintain a constant level of performance. 

Take a five-minute walk around the office, or grab some snacks. Just don’t pull out your phone and scroll through social media for an hour — that’s the wrong kind of break.



12. Take advantage of your commute


Instead of Candy-Crushing or Facebooking, use your commute time or any “bonus” time to pound out some emails, do some brainstorming, or indulge in some mindful (read: relaxing) activities such as listening to podcasts or your favorite Spotify playlist.

Use these precious hours to gain even more knowledge and peace in your routine.



13. Minimize interruptions


Having a coworker pop their head into your office for a quick chat may seem harmless, but even brief interruptions can result in a “slight” change in your work pattern and a corresponding decline in your productivity. 

Minimize interruptions by setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for critical projects (given you have a conducive workspace at home).

One good piece of advice is: Turn off notifications. 

It’s hard to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification, so turning off your notifications during your “in the zone” hours can be helpful. Unless you are waiting for an important message, block a specific time in your day to check email and messages.



14. Understand that being “busy” isn’t always being “efficient”


Efficiency isn’t tied with staying busy. Working smart is better than working hard. The goal is to achieve your desired results in the day with less effort and time.

It’s helpful to divide your tasks between urgent things (like meeting an important client) versus things that can wait until the next day (such as returning an email). 

While our society has trained us to view people who are constantly busy as efficient, this isn’t always the case. If you’re buried beneath a heap of tasks that show no sign of letting up, are you really improving your work efficiency? 

Check in with yourself, at least once a day, and make sure the task you’re working on is truly important.



15. Take care of yourself


This is our last tip but it is certainly not the least. You only have one self to depend on and bank your productivity on — take good care of it.

While getting enough sleep and doing exercise are two of your vital needs to stay productive, there are still several basic things you can do to help optimize your work efficiency.

Eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water. Cut off your bad habits — smoking, drinking, or hanging around toxic people.

If you need someone to complement your strengths and help you bring out your best, find an accountability partner

Treat yourself (and others) with kindness. Take time to do things that recharge and refresh you.



Capping it off…

Becoming more productive at work is all up to you — it depends solely on the decisions you make every minute of your day. 

With planning and discipline, anyone can be productive. 

Hold yourself accountable for every action you make. Associate with people who radiate positivity and with similar priorities. Stay organized. 

Productivity is a product of good choices, so start making them.

Now excuse me while I go take a 30-minute break. You should take one too.

Time is your ultimate currency. Make more of it.

Book a one hour free consult on how you can improve on your time.

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