Have you ever left work thinking that there aren’t enough hours in a day to complete all your tasks? Turns out, it’s not the lack of hours in a day but how those hours are used. Studies have found that employees are productive only 60% of the time, and that number is even lower for the average in-person worker.
Whether you work in-person or remote, you aren’t alone in your productivity struggles. Staying on task can be difficult, but your productivity can be improved with the right tools. Begin with these five tips if you’re ready to work more efficiently.
1. Avoid multitasking.
Multitasking may sound like an impressive characteristic, but the phenomenon has been debunked. Less than 3% of people can effectively multitask. Attempting to juggle numerous projects at once can hinder the quality of your work, as well as increase the time it takes to complete each task. Instead of constantly transitioning from one task to the other, commit to one task at a time to maximize your workday.
2. Make a schedule.
Before you finish your workday, consider setting aside time to develop a time-blocked schedule for yourself. Setting aside five minutes to lay out your next day can help you prioritize tasks and avoid handling two things at once. Don’t know where to start? Research recommends completing your hardest tasks first.
3. Use the 5-minute rule.
If you find yourself having trouble completing that unpleasant task first thing in the morning, start small and commit to working on it for just five minutes. This will lessen your tendencies to procrastinate, which is arguably the opposite of productivity. You may find that you’re so focused that it’s easy to spend well over five minutes on a project you’ve been dreading.
4. Limit distractions.
Potential interruptions are everywhere, from a smartphone in your pocket to a bed being a few feet away from you when working from home. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to make your work focused. Take advantage of “Do Not Disturb” features on your smartphone and communication apps to minimize pings that could derail your productivity. If you work from home, consider having a dedicated workspace where you aren’t taunted by your bed or TV.
5. Take breaks when needed.
A common misconception about productivity is that you must work non-stop to deliver quality work. Taking scheduled breaks, however, is a healthy way to improve concentration and maintain a high level of performance. The Pomodoro technique is a great time management tool that splits your workday into 25-minute focused work periods and 5-minute rest periods.
These tips can help you develop healthy habits to get the most out of your workday, but they won’t work after one use. Remember to be consistent in practicing these tips to keep your productivity on track for improvement.