Increase your Productivity.
I put together a few ideas that will help you increase your productivity. These come from my personal experiences, learned through frustration and trial and error.
Staying productive can be a challenge, whether this is at your work or at home, the same principles apply to keep you working smarter, not harder.
Working in a cluttered environment can be stressful and counterproductive. Clutter increases our change of misplacing things. Things get lost or simply being buried under stacks of paper.
De-clutter your Work Space to Increase Productivity.
One of the first things is to keep your desk organized.
Creativity arises from chaos (www.fastcompany.com), but productivity arises from organization.
- Decide what you need in order to get the job done. Get rid of anything that you do not need on your desk to work efficiently. If you want to add personal touches to your work space, choose office equipment that you like and expresses your personality. Decorate your space as you like it as long as it does not interfere with your work area.
- Assign each item you use daily to its own permanent space on your desk, so you know where to find it without having to spend time searching for it.
- Use a filing system that works for you. This can be a physical filing cabinet or a virtual one on your computer. Do you want to file by A to Z? Do you use a filing system based on subject or client names? Again this will help you to find what you want when you want it and not loose time looking for what should be readily available. It also cuts down on frustration, knowing what you are looking for but unable to find it can be very stressful.
- Use a cork board on your wall to keep notes, phone numbers, schedules and such.And to keep these at only a glans away. Anything that you need for a quick reference and so eliminating the need to look this up every time you need it.
- Create empty space on your desk. Files and papers piled up on your desk and no place to put the things you are working on will only overwhelm you and increase stress. Everything looks then like it needs to be dealt with right now. And things that are really important get lost in the (paper) shuffle.
- Take some time to go through every file and paper on your desk, and sort them into piles: Urgent; Important; Follow up; Waiting for response; Going out mail/ email; Faxes; Calls to make etc. use sticky notes on top of your files to que you what you are working on. This way when you are distracted, or come back the next day, you know exactly where you left off.
Use Day Planners.
Use day planners were you could keep track of your appointments and tasks. This seems like a no brainer, but often things are not written down, or enter in the proper place. You forget important things, or do not remember them in time.
At the beginning of the year/ month/week enter any recurring appointments, meetings, to-do’s and other tasks. If you are using an electronic calendar, you can generate an automated task so these items will show up on your day planner. You can even set up email or text reminders at different intervals.
Whichever system you use, the key point is that it has to be user friendly, easy accessible where ever you are and most importantly, it needs to work for you!
Ask yourself what time of the day do you get the most done. In other words, when are you the most productive. First thing in the morning? Later in the day? Set this time apart to do difficult tasks.
Knowing what your best time is, will help you schedule complicated and challenging tasks during that time. You can do the task in the minimum amount of time, with the minimum amount of frustration and error. Nothing is more stressful than having to work on something very complicated and not being able to concentrate.
I know for myself, that late in the afternoon, if I try to make up a complicated care-plan quickly or last minute call, this usually fails. To leave it until the next morning is most of the time the better way to go. There are of course times we have to finish something by 4PM on a Friday, simply because it can’t wait until the next Monday. However most times leaving it for a better time is better. I have very good colleagues, who will tell me that my plan just does not make sense, and I need to change this or that.
Eliminate Distractions to Increase Productivity.
Eliminate any distractions you can to help you stay focused on your task. In this wonderful time of technology, it can be hard not to get distracted. Sometimes your work place also contributes to the hustle and bustle of the day. People are walking back and forth in the hallways, phones ring, fax machines and copiers running all the time. The constant hum of voices also can be very distracting.
Not to mention all the communication tools we have at our fingertips. Emails are popping up, phones are ringing and text messaging, begging to get noticed. It can be hard to differentiate between what is important and what is not.
In order to increase your productivity, eliminate as many of these as you can. Turn off emails popping up on your screen. Even the short flash is enough to distract you and break your concentration. Turn down your phone and close the door if you have one to keep the noise and distractions to a minimum. This is most important during important and high demanding tasks.
If you need to be notified for certain things, or need to be able to respond to messages of particular people then there are different ways to turn on notifications for this purpose. Depending on what email provider or phone system you have.
You do not have to do it all.
Delegate those tasks that you do not necessarily have to do yourself. Another person may be much more efficient in doing these tasks. This will leave you free to focus your attention on the task you have at hand.
Some days you will be able to move mountains and get lots accomplished. On other days, you take two steps forward and three back. Try to take a break, take a deep breath and regroup. If this does not work than you are just having “one of those days”. Ride it out and know that tomorrow things will be better.
We all procrastinate at one time or other. The balance is to know what to leave for later. In order to deal with it more efficiently down the road. Know what can wait and has to be done now.
Sometimes putting things off and not jumping on it the very minute an issue hits your desk, will help your brain in processing the information. Thus get ready to solve the problem when you are not actively thinking about it.
I hope you have found this useful information. That in some small way will help to increase your productivity at work and at home.
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