Work better not longer: Improving productivity at work

Whether you’re an early career professional just starting out in your chosen field or are an expert on the industry in which you work, maximizing your productivity is key to your success. Of course, nobody can actually work every single moment of the day that they are at work. Nonetheless, there are several simple tips and process that we can all take into account when targeting new ways to increase our productivity. Essentially, professionals should aim to work smarter instead of harder. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to start boosting your productivity by doing things in the most efficient way possible, take a look at these suggestions:

Develop a firm understanding of your time
According to Inc. Magazine, it’s important for working professionals to take a step back and think critically about how much time they are dedicating to the individual tasks that comprise their workday. While we all may think that we’re excellent at time management practices, those who work to the best of their ability are likely aware of the fact that there’s always time for improvement. Taking a moment to consider and track exactly how much time we’re spending on frivolous tasks, such as social media or breaks from work, can allow us to use that time more wisely.

“Understanding where your time goes is key to optimizing workflow.”

Once a stronger insight has been gained into how much time is used up by these activities, we can set hard caps for ourselves, maximizing the amount of time that we are working and getting us out of the office earlier. Over the long run, you may find that this heightened awareness of where your time goes allows you to work far more effectively.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As Forbes has pointed out, one of the biggest detriments towards productivity is getting caught up in tasks that you simply aren’t capable of completing on your own. This could occur for any number or reasons: Perhaps you don’t have the necessary resources or training to complete a given project, or maybe it’s something that should involve other individuals helping. If, for whatever reason, you find that a given assignment, task or project is too difficult for you to complete to satisfaction, then you need to ask for help as soon as possible.

Don't be afraid to ask your manager for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your manager for help.

Think of it this way: The more time that you spend telling yourself that you’re capable of doing something that you simply cannot, the more time that you have wasted, and the longer the project will inevitably take. Luckily, asking for help is simple once you get past your initial fear of seeking support. Try talking to your manager or supervisor, explaining the problem and determining what they can do for you. If you’d rather not go directly to a superior, ask a more experienced colleague for help; they’ll likely be able to point you in the right direction.

Design a productive workspace for yourself
Whether you work from home or in a high-powered consulting office, having a well-designed workspace is absolutely imperative to your productivity. Of course, it’s important to recognize that this will look and feel different for every individual. We all have our own preferences when it comes to a workspace, so try and cater to those as best you can. If you find that you do your best work in an area that looks inherently professional, then you may do well to try placing things like executive chairs in your office.

The type of furniture you choose for your office can help you be more productive. The type of furniture you choose for your office can help you be more productive.

If, like many other individuals, you desire a more modern place to do your thinking, try decorating with a mix of your favorite personal items and contemporary office furniture. While you’ll want to add as much personal character and flair to your workspace as possible, it’s important that you take into account the potential for distraction that some of these items hold. For example, photos of your family are a great addition to your desk, but a talking picture frame isn’t going to help you work smarter. In fact, it’s probably going to take away from your ability to focus and cause you to be at work longer. Try a few different designs to find your most productive option!

Pro Tip – Looking for a handy productivity cheat-sheet? Check this article from CorporateSuites out!

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