7 tips for being more productive at work
By Louise Hallam
Have you ever walked into a room and can’t remember why you are there?
We’ve all done it. You’re convinced that you’ve come in looking for something, yet you can’t think for the life of you why. There is something missing. You are so busy in your head that you’re carrying out actions, but not sure what the purpose is.
Whether at work or at home we love to distract ourselves as our minds convince us that we should be doing something else, so we stop doing what we’re doing and start on the next thing. The result is a scatter gun approach to tasks and activities, hoping that something will stick and you’ll achieve something. Sound familiar? We are so used to absorbing every day pressures and demands that we and others put on us, that we end up going around in circles. Let me help you to start to be more productive, effective and energetic.
7 tips for being more productive at work
1. Before you switch on your computer, review your to do list. Choose no more than 3 things that you MUST do today. These are your priorities.
2. Stop multi-tasking. Research shows that it actually takes you 50% longer to complete a task and you are 50% more likely to make errors. Aim to uni-task, completing one task before moving on to the next. Also try limiting your time spent on one thing to slots of 45 minutes.
3. Take regular breaks. You can think that working through your lunch break or longer hours is more productive. Breaks make you more happy, focused and productive. They help you to work smarter not harder. Stop feeling guilty about taking breaks.
4. Why not make the break into a walk. It will increase blood flow to the brain and boost creative thought. Even if it’s cloudy outside you can also be getting your daily dose of Vitamin D, essential for the support of skin and bones.
5. Have a mindful snack or coffee break. Stepping away from your desk and paying attention to what you are eating or the kettle or coffee machine will help you to reset, refocus and re-prioritise.
6. Ever caught yourself doodling? Focusing on something completely unrelated to your work can stimulate new ideas and help you to stay focused. Grab a pad and pen.
7. Have a conversation. Yes, it’s ok to chat to your colleagues not just on email! Make an effort to speak to your co-workers and really listen to what they are saying. It could also help you feel less stressed.
The good news is that you don’t have to start doing anything massively different, you can introduce small changes that have a big impact. I recently starting working with a lady who did Tip 1 plus writing herself two post-it notes with ‘I have more than enough time to do everything I need to do’ and ‘I work efficiently through my tasks’. She noticed an increase in her productivity in 2 days.
Mindfulness and productivity
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities at work can have the following positive effects on your outcomes:
• Making better decisions as they aren’t based on biased thoughts or judgements or snap decisions, which might have a poor outcome.
• You can be busy and achieve a lot, but is it always the important things that get done. Mindfulness helps you to get the clarity and insight that you need to prioritise and avoid distractions.
• Practiced regularly and over a period of time, mindfulness helps you to become more emotionally resilient and therefore able to handle stress and pressure better. Making you less likely to suffer from stress or burnout.
• Having focused time on more meaningful tasks and activities means that you are more likely to produce quality work efficiently.
Try being mindful walking between meetings, make a drink, on the way to the bathroom, warming up your lunch, on the way to and from your car, train or bus stop.
“Focus on being productive rather than busy” — Tim Ferriss
And if you like apps on the go, you can try these popular ones for your daily dose of mindfulness.
CoachConnector would like to offer a big thank you to the wonderful Louise Hallam for her guest slot on our forum.
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