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12 Tips to increase your productivity at work

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This post was updated on:  June 02, 2021

We only have 24 hours in a day, so making the most of our time is critical for our productivity. There are only two possible ways etiher put more hours or work smarter. Just a single note here…

Being more productive at work definitely requires more effort on your side and how you manage your time. This post will walk you through several simple but effective strategies for increasing your productivity at work.

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1. Work in 90-minute intervals

There’s a constant search to increase productivity these days. Given the pace and expectations of modern life, we’d all like to understand how to best maximize our time and energy. It turns out, there may be a simple solution:

By working in 90-minute intervals (or less) you could maximize your productivity.

Humans aren’t meant to focus for long periods of time. The brain is a complex thing, constantly taking in stimuli — it’s been estimated that we take in 11 million bits of information per second from the environment — so it makes sense that our attention span, or amount of time that we can focus on one specific activity, isn’t too long.

Science has proven that the brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break. So, the advice is to work focused on a task for 90 minutes or less, and then take a break, which can be walking around the block or distracting yourself with something that doesn’t demand your attention or focus. By doing so, your brain will recover its cycle and you will be able to use it as its peak.

2. Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks

You may think you’re pretty good at gauging how much time you’re spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.

3. Conduct essential Meetings only

It might sound weird, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

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4. Set self-imposed deadlines

While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock.

5. Give up on the illusion of perfection

It’s common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is 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.

6. Take exercise breaks

It might sound weird, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

Using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

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7. Quit Multitasking

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. You can read more in our article Multitasking – One of the worst enemies of productivity.

8. Be proactive, not reactive

Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you will allow others to control your day not yourself. Set aside time for responding to emails and phone calls, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like. Since the night before have an action plan for each day, and do your best to follow it.

9. Follow the “two-minutes rule”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the “two-minute rule” to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: 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.

10. Give yourself something nice to look at

Some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements–like plants–can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Jazz up your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face.

11. Turn off notifications

No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead set time aside to check email and messages. This is all part of being proactive rather than reactive (see number 8).

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12. Minimize interruptions

Even brief interruptions appear to produce a change in work pattern and a corresponding drop in productivity. Minimizing interruptions may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.

If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Every minute of your life is gold. Are you treating it that way?

It's a Social Media and Digital Marketing consultant, owner and founder of LFStudio. He is also author and entrepreneur. He helps small businesses to get clients online, generate income and grow.

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