We often worry about our productivity. Nothing is worse than being unable to complete your tasks as planned due to no good reason. If you want to increase your productivity, here are the instant things to do that will help.
- Control chaos
A clutter free desk is like a clutter free mind. You may have loads of files or papers on your table, lists on your wall and icons on your computer screen. No matter what medium, make sure you don’t see more than 3 things at a time. Make sure your desk has even lesser papers. Organize your stationary in proper holders so everything is reachable when needed. I often tend to work with a lot of printed data at once and I like to play around with my material. While I am working, I place all my papers on my desk or over the floor and go back and forth with my papers. It looks chaotic but as an individual that works better with visual and tangible things, I am at my best. But this does not mean I should leave all the papers behind after I finish. To begin your next task with a fresh perspective, you need to bring this one to a closure and clear your desk and your mind.
- Be foolish-ask questions
If you have a Team Leader or Manager that instructs you, you may notice that you don’t always get the instructions right. There are unclear statements. It could be due to language difference, industry jargon or simply because of diverted attention. If there are things we don’t understand, we often tend to pretend like we did. We don’t ask questions because we don’t want to look foolish. The fact is, if you ask questions, you’re being intelligent. Clarity is the mother of productivity. If you know exactly what to do and how to do it, there is nothing that can stop you from doing it well. Most times, productivity is pathetic not because people are less skilled but simply because they do not understand what is required but they are too proud to ask. Don’t be like that.
This factor is best related to my PhD studies. When you have large list of tasks to complete for a project, you tend to postpone it to the last minute. Study, the night before final exam. Print the travel tickets on the way to the airport. Finish the business report by pulling an all nighter. We all do that at some point. The exact word for this disease is ‘procrastination’. The cure is to build momentum. Make sure you divide your task into small bits over a period of time frame and complete each sub task as and when due, no excuses. Keeping the momentum helps PhD students finish an 80K word thesis before viva.
The worst enemy of your productivity is emailing. Unless you are a secretary and your job depends on electronic communication, DO NOT open your inbox first thing in the morning. When you start your work, begin with your most important list of things to do for that day. Planning is necessary and without a plan you will be lost and never productive. Your inbox can divert your attention to useless things and other people’s urgent tasks and keep you from yours. Open your inbox after you have done at least half of your tasks.
People underestimate the importance of play and fun. Whether you work from home or at a tall sky scrapper, find time to play. By play I mean activities like meditation, light chats and enjoying food. Taking a brief nap, resting peacefully at a lounge and other relaxation activities can have huge impacts on both your productivity and creativity. Did you know that Google employees are left free to spend almost 20% of their paid work time to pursue their hobbies and things of interest also called ‘special projects’? This is where many of products take birth. They also have swimming pools, gyms, video games and other such amusing facilities at Googleplex including massage therapists and barbers.
So, make sure you incorporate these simple, logical but highly effective strategies in your work and see the difference.