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Productivity tips to make the most of your work hours


It is no secret that there are only so many hours in the day to work. So making the most of the hours you do have to be highly productive is important. The problem is not in the planning of tasks but the execution thereof. If ‘productivity’ didn’t make it to your list of resolutions for this year, no worries, the solution is easy. According to research, there are two ways to increase your output–either put in more hours or work smarter. We all prefer the latter.

Being on top of your game at work is not rocket science but not everyone executes duties as efficient as expected. Working smart requires being more deliberate about how you manage your time. This piece discusses ways to stay abreast of your game.

1. Track your time

We would all like to believe that we have a firm grip on our time spent executing tasks. However, research suggests that only 17 percent of people can estimate time spent accurately. A tool like Rescue Time can be a true-life line when trying to manage your time like a boss. It helps by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.

2. Take regular breaks

This may sound counterproductive but taking breaks can help improve concentration. According to research, taking breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance. This can only mean that like any other part of your body needs to rest when hard at work, so does your brain. Not taking breaks between long tasks can lead to a slow decline in productivity.

3. The two-minute rule

Entrepreneur and CMO whisperer, Steve Olenski speaks fondly of the “two-minute rule“. The “two-minute rule” is used to make the most of the small windows of time that you have at work. Olinski explains that the idea is that “If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately”. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

4. Self-imposed deadlines

Impose deadlines on yourself to keep you on your toes during your high productivity spans. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock. This will also contribute to getting task finished and submitted early.

5. Alternative way of meeting

Meetings are great for face to face discussions, but they are one of the biggest time-sucks. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or Web-based meeting. If you absolutely must have a meeting, try standing meetings and short pop-ins. This saves time and keeps you productive, with great blood flow to your legs.

6. Perfection is an illusion

Most people get stuck in attempting to perfect a task, nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It’s better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

In conclusion, it is important to minimise interruptions such as colleagues popping in for a chat during high productivity spans. It is also important to know your productivity peaks during the day. Getting a pleasing element(s) like plants can increase productivity. Jazz up your work station with paintings, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face.