8 Tips for Being a More Productive Worker

March 24, 2012

Right now, a lot of companies are still working on a relatively minimal amount of staff depending on the amount of cutbacks and downsizing that may have had to be done to keep the company afloat amidst the recession.

The productivity of an employee is more important than ever these days.  Here are 8 simple tips for being more productive worker at the office:

  1. Turn Off Your Cell Phone. While there may be some benefit to always being “reachable” by phone, there are some very obvious and glaring numbers that point to cell phone usage at the workplace being a primary reason for a decrease in work productivity.  Some companies have even adopted cell phone policies to help encourage employee productivity and avoid distractions from work due to personal phone calls, texts and other social media and games that are available now on mobile phones.  Put your cell phone away and out of site, leave it on vibrate, and only check it on your breaks or at lunch.  If you need to be reached due to an emergency, most people will find a way to reach you at the office.
  2. Clean Up Your Desk. Another major productivity killer is pure messiness and mayhem in your office.  The misplacement of paperwork, files, documents and other important items and the time involved to search for these things when they’re needed is unnecessary and can be very costly to an employer.
  3. Schedule Meetings. If you find yourself constantly being interrupted throughout the day by the same employees all of the time (or vice versa), find out if you can schedule a set time in the week—or even each day, if necessary—so that you both have a set time on your calendars where you can handle all of your questions, issues and interruptions at one time.  This will help control some of your interruptions that are not both urgent and important, making not only you more productive, but your colleague(s) as well!
  4. Work in 60 to 90 Minute Intervals. Try working in 60 or 90 minute intervals for the maximum level of efficiency.  Your mind and body need a break from intense levels of work, so rather than going 3 or 4 hours straight and exhausting yourself for the rest of the day, find ways to give yourself mini-breaks throughout the day and re-energize and regroup to keep you focused, motivated and productive throughout the entire day.
  5. Stop Multi-Tasking. Some people pride themselves in being able to handle multiple projects and multiple tasks at the same time, but what’s the point if at the end of the day, all 10 tasks you were balancing were all 30% done?  What did you really accomplish?  You will find a greater level of productivity and feelings of accomplish in getting things done when you’re able to hone in on one task and get the job done before moving onto the next one.  Always keep in mind the mental exhaustion you go through balancing so many tasks and with only a certain amount of focus to each task as you balance all of them at once.
  6. Control Your Interruptions. This may be harder for some individuals, based on office culture, office politics and just your personality.  But, it’s all about how you say things and how you handle yourself when requesting blocks of uninterrupted time.  There are little things you can do to help control interruptions, such as turning your desk or computer screen away from doorways, walkways or other coworkers, putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” for your 60 or 90 minute intervals of focused work, blocking off times of the day for no interruptions, closing your door, etc.  The more you can control your interruptions, the more you will find items on your To Do List getting checked off.
  7. Schedule Time for E-mail. E-mail can be extremely distracting and enslaving.  Some people become far too reliant on e-mail, which does have the ability to eliminate interruptions and increase efficiency, but it can also reduce your own level of productivity, if you find yourself going back and forth several times on e-mail, which can otherwise be handled in a 3-5 minute conversation by phone.  Schedule times throughout the day to check e-mail and get back to people.  Constantly checking e-mail throughout the day will create a natural distraction of your own that will be hard to break.
  8. Take a Break and Take Care of YOU. One of the best things you can do to help your own level of productivity is to take a break and to take care of YOU—both inside and outside of work.  From making sure that you’re eating nutritious meals to getting enough sleep at night, to also taking your scheduled breaks at the office and having a fair share of working hard and playing hard.  Happier and healthier people will automatically produce a greater level of productivity for any office, so learn your limits and find time for a little TLC for yourself each day!

Some of these tips may seem obvious, but you would be amazed at how many employees don’t follow these simple steps for greater productivity and how inefficient one can be when neglecting some of these minor details.

Try just one or two of these tips next week and see if you find yourself a little more productive in the workplace.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey, leaders in the area of education and training of the nation’s leaders in the areas of team member engagement, customer service, leadership development, and sales and presentation training. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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