Productivity and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. For a new business to succeed, employees must be prepared to get things done. However, your most productive workers may not be the ones who cross the most items from their to-do lists. Real productivity is not just finishing tasks but also involves the ability to prioritize the most important tasks. In this article, I will give you ten actionable tips to increase your personal and workplace productivity.
How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace
Every entrepreneur wants a productive workplace. This effort begins at your desk. Your employees will look to you to model the best productivity practices.
Tip 1 – Prepare for Success
A productive day tomorrow often begins at the end of work today. With some preparation, you can give yourself cognitive clues that will put you in the right mindset. The last few minutes of the day are the right time to set up the next day’s action list. You will want to clarify which tasks have top priority.
The end of the day is also the right time to clear your workspace. You can put away anything that does not have a direct impact on tomorrow’s projects. If you have a written to-do list, place it so that it is the first thing you see in the morning.
Tip 2 – Stop Multitasking
Doing many things at once may feel productive, but it is often just a waste of time. Several neuroscience studies have shown that paying attention to more than one device at once lowers cognitive ability and can even reduce the amount of gray matter in the brain. Giving one task your full attention will improve the quality of your work and increase your work rate.
Tip 3 – Self-Care for Productivity
Healthy people are more productive. They have the energy and focus to work through the day without extra stress. The habits that promote workplace productivity are the same as those that promote a healthy lifestyle. A nutritious diet, adequate hydration and daily exercise will fuel an industrious day. Sleep is another critical factor. You want to come to the workplace well-rested and ready for the work ahead.
Tip 4 – Establish a Productive Schedule
Some people are the most focused at the beginning of the day. For others, the period after lunch is a fruitful time. Whatever your personal schedule, be sure to schedule space to get things done during your high-productivity window. If you want to increase productivity at work, get to know your employees’ preferences. Avoid scheduling meetings during the times when your employees do their best work.
Tip 5 – Focus on Priorities
Before a task makes it on your to-do list, consider why it is there. Successful entrepreneurs are those who put their energy into the tasks that bring them closer to their goals. Establishing clear priorities will let you distinguish between tasks that must get done, tasks that would be nice to do and tasks that are part of someone else’s agenda.
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Tip 6 – Find Your Motivation
The motivation for getting things done varies from person to person and can depend on individual brain chemistry. Some people find that stimulating the brain’s dopamine reward system will help them focus. They will plan a treat for accomplishing a difficult task.
Others find it more effective to harness the body’s stress response. They will create personal deadlines that put extra pressure on their productivity.
Combining the two approaches may enhance the effectiveness of a neuroscientific strategy. Basing the reward on your ability to meet the deadline increases the stress of the deadline and the positive effects of the reward.
Tip 7 – Take Active Breaks
Staying in one position for hours at a time promotes boredom rather than effectiveness. When you take a five-minute break between work periods, step away from your workspace for some physical activity. It is even better if you can get outside for a walk. This practice will recharge both your body and mind.
Tip 8 – Hide Your Phone
Smartphones and other screens are a modern distraction. It is difficult to focus when you are looking at every notification. If it is feasible, build a period for returning phone calls and answering emails into your daily schedule. Then, keep your phone out of sight until the appointed time.
Tip 9 – Handle Simple Tasks Quickly
As you build your daily to-do list, you will find that some tasks only require a minute or two to complete. It might be a response to a client email or looking up an old file. If it takes less than two minutes, handle it immediately and get it out of the way.
Tip 10 – Delegate
For entrepreneurs with growing businesses, the move from being a solo artist to part of a team can be difficult. However, you brought your team member on board because they have skills and abilities that you lack. If you want to know how to increase productivity in the workplace, get to know your team. Assigning them tasks that match their skills will promote a positive and productive workplace culture.
Bonus Tip 11 – Work with a Partner
Entrepreneurship is a challenge, and you do not need to handle it alone. At the Productivity Intelligence Institute, I work with entrepreneurs and other business leaders hoping to improve their skills. If you are looking for a unique perspective on increasing your personal or workplace productivity, feel free to reach out. I would be glad to work with you.