January 22, 2016

10 ways to be more productive

HR has a central role to play in boosting employee and overall organisational productivity. But, it’s very easy for HR professionals to spend so much time on boosting the productivity of others that they neglect their own productivity levels.

There are of course some very well documented ways that HR as a function can improve its productivity – automating processes, giving employees the tools to manage and update their own data, outsourcing certain activities and so on. But, how can you, as a professional, be more productive at work on a daily basis.

We have come up with 10 top tips to boost productivity, but without increasing hours or stress levels. In fact, increased productivity could potentially lead to reduced stress and a reduced need to work overtime or take work home. Read on!

1. Be punctual. If you’re late before the working day has even begun, then you start on the back foot and it can be hard to ever properly catch up.
2. Write a to do list. Either write it at the beginning of the day or better still, at the end of the working day, ready for the next day. This has the added bonus of giving some closure at the end of the day, leaving your mind free of work when you clock off.
3. Prioritise. Establish which tasks are most important and which can wait. Estimate how long you think tasks will take so that you can be realistic about what you will achieve.
4. Get started. It’s very easy to procrastinate, but if you get stuck into work soon after your arrival it sets you up well for the day.
5. Don’t multitask. Multitasking is generally considered a positive attribute. However, it’s often better to concentrate properly on the job in hand until it has reached its conclusion, rather than trying to do many different things at once and not giving any of them your full attention.
6. Take regular breaks. Don’t be a slave to your desk. Taking five or ten minutes during the day here or there as well as a lunch break gives your mind and body time to recharge a bit. This improves your ability to concentrate, which in turn improves productivity.
7. Take a lunch break. What you do in that lunch break is up to you – eat a leisurely lunch, take a stroll outside, chat to colleagues, go to the gym or local swimming pool…The important bit is taking a break. It helps clear the mind and improve afternoon productivity. Anything that involves exercise and fresh air is particularly good.
8. Don’t be distracted by technology. Technology is supposed to help us perform tasks better and more quickly. However, technology can also be a big source of distraction, constantly interrupting people’s work and train of thought.
9. Declutter your working environment. It’s much easier to be productive if you can find everything. Have a clear out, get on top of filing and make sure your desk is clean and tidy.
10. Leave work behind. When the working day is done, leave it behind. Switching off from work and spending time with family, friends, on hobbies, or whatever it is that you like to do in your spare time, allows you to recharge your batteries.
There are some good TED talks on boosting productivity: https://www.ted.com/topics/productivity