We’ve all been there: at the desk, looking at your mile-long to-do list, deadlines are rapidly approaching, and still, nothing happens. There’s nothing to be ashamed of – it happens to everybody from time to time. However, if such situations occur on a regular basis, you are probably wondering how to increase work productivity.
Most of the common tips on how to stop procrastinating and get yourself in the work mood are useless in practice. Honestly, the only real secret to starting something is just literally to do it. To get you to that level of motivation, we’ve compiled a few worthy practices that can help you increase work productivity.
If you can do it now, do it now
You may not notice it, but small tasks are cluttering your to-do board and putting you under pressure of never-ending duty lists. Complete those little tasks right when you get them. Entrepreneur Steve Olenski called it a ‘2-minute’ rule: if the task takes less than two minutes to be completed, do it as soon as possible. Generally, this is applicable to any assignments that require little time to complete.
For some unknown reason, someone said that employers are looking for people with an ability to multitask. The idea that everyone has to be a multitasker went viral and… made things worse. Actually, most people are pretty bad at multitasking since it dissipates attention between the various tasks. Average efforts toward each task will give average results, and that’s why focusing on a single part of your project will be way more productive than trying to juggle everything simultaneously.
Having a high volume of tasks is a common obstacle that can keep you from getting work done. Even if your to-do list looks unbearable, try to prioritize your job. Which project is pressing? What task can you do on your own? Do all these things really need to be done right now, or can something wait? Highlight what’s hot on the agenda right at now! Once you make that decision, you can actually start working on the main goal without being overwhelmed by a bunch of duties.
Practice deep work
Cal Newport, the author of ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World’, once told an unspoken truth about the modern corporate approach: in an 8-hour working day, you’re not really working these entire eight hours. You may have noticed that if the deadline is really tight, but you need to complete a task, you will do it. The thing is, our brains are programmed to complete a job in the time we assign to it. So, the main concept of deep work is to limit distractions and dedicate 2-3 hours to concentrated, quality work. Choose the most brain-consuming tasks and try to fully commit yourself to the job.
It’s extremely tempting to jump on the phone right after a new message buzzes, but that approach will get you nowhere in your work. Determine a time that you will check out emails and scroll through news feeds, but for the rest of the day turn your notifications off. Although it may feel annoying at first, you’ll be impressed with the boost of attention it can give you.
In the modern ‘never-stop-working’ environment, skipping breaks became something essential and even encouraged. But many news studies say that marinating yourself in a chair for an entire shift will do more harm than good. Make time for several breaks throughout the day. The break doesn’t necessarily mean lunch or coffee. Doing a quick walk or taking a few minutes to breathe some fresh air outside will help you refresh your head.
Ultimately, the key to success is balance. Instead of squashing yourself to exhaustion, try to prioritize your time, break large tasks into smaller ones, and manage to get some rest. By taking this approach, you can increase work productivity and get any job done!