Productivity is one of the most important scales of your performance. But productivity is not merely how much you produce. It is all about your ability to produce more within a given time period with the least amount of effort and resources. In simpler terms, it is the process of completing every task you take up in a day within the available time, doing them to your satisfaction, and leaving the work with a sense of accomplishment.
In an ideal world, you can be at your productive best every single day. But in reality, productivity levels are not constant. They can vastly vary at various points of time and can be also influenced by different factors. For instance, you
might be anxious about your personal problems and lose track of your work, and productivity would take a hit on that day. There are innumerable factors like that, which prevent you from staying focused at your work and being productive. But if you can identify them and find workarounds, you can increase productivity. Following are some of the ways to achieve this.
1. Start working immediately
When you get some work, avoid delays in initiating it. When you want to slightly postpone your work, some other task or activity will demand your attention by the time you start the work. As a result, it may get postponed further. When you procrastinate, your plan and schedule will see a ripple effect, and you won’t be able to complete as much work as you can at the end of the day. It will have an impact on your productivity. Moreover, delays can push you closer to your deadlines. When you are forced to do the task within a very short period at the last moment, you won’t be able to stay focused and produce quality work. So, if you want to increase productivity, start your work immediately without postponing. Once you start working and focus on the task, you can work continuously, stick to your schedule and be productive.
2. Plan your day in advance
It is impossible to have the desired outcomes when you do not have a plan to achieve them. In order to increase productivity, you must be proactive and plan how you want to spend the day at work. For that, you need to create a to-do list first. After that, you have to prioritize tasks in that list based on urgency and complexity, and allot the right amount of time for each task. When you have these elements in place, you can create a schedule and put it up on your desk as your plan for the day.
Planning a day is one thing, but following the plan without any excuses is entirely another challenge. But having a plan helps you visualize your workload, weigh the tasks against your ability to complete them and gain the motivation to start your work. As you follow the plan and schedule, cross milestones and complete tasks, your progress becomes a lot more tangible, and you will get further motivated to do this regularly. This systematic work routine will eventually provide you with the discipline required to increase productivity.
3. Do the most difficult tasks first
When you start your day at work, you tend to stay focused better than at a later time of the day. So, when you take up the most difficult tasks at the beginning of the day, you can get them done faster and better. Further, when you complete the most difficult tasks first and on time, it will help you get through the rest of the work day with ease, as the other tasks do not demand as much energy and effort.
4. Get an athlete’s mindset
At work, every task is time bound. Each task has a deadline and everything you do follows a timeline. So, you can take a page from the book of professional athletes and measure how fast you can do your work and complete a task or a milestone. This helps you measure how efficient you are, and efficiency is key to increasing productivity. When you can reflect on your own capabilities, you will start challenging yourself to do the job faster. As you constantly race against yourself, you can increase productivity systematically.
5. Get the right tools for your job
Tools and equipment are some of the most important influences in productivity. For instance, a 3D modelling artist may need an expensive rendering computer to deliver his/her work on time without errors. Having an outdated or under-specced rendering computer can cause delays regardless of how productive and efficient the artist is. If you do not invest in the right tools, then it can stop you from delivering quality work on time. Sometimes, the importance of having the right tools is overlooked, and it can have serious implications on your productivity. Sometimes, the right tools may not even be expensive machinery. Even some good stationery or daily planners can be tools that can help you increase productivity.
6. Review yourself periodically
Being analytical of your own performance can give you various insights on productivity. Firstly, it can reveal some of your weaknesses that you may have otherwise overlooked. By addressing these issues, you can increase productivity. Secondly, it helps you go through the goals and targets you have completed and gives you a sense of purpose, which goes a long way in helping you find motivation and become more productive. Finally, it helps you face the challenges in your work better. For instance, if you could not complete certain tasks and stick to the plan, a self appraisal helps you identify the cause of failures and prepare yourself proactively before you could take up a similar task in the future, making you more productive in the due course of time.
7. Track your productivity
Data is the key to assessing an individual’s productivity; numbers do not lie. If you can constantly measure your work throughput and how much work you get completed in a given amount of time, you can track your productivity levels over a period. If you can regularly measure the time you take to complete similar tasks, you can find out how fast and efficient you become with time. Based on these data, you can project your future performance and take up additional tasks. Based on the recurring trends, you can also identify the time on any given day that you are most efficient. You can prioritize tasks, plan and schedule them accordingly everyday. This way, the scope for increasing productivity is vast, as data helps you uncover every single area of improvement and optimization in your work.
8. Stay Focused
The greatest threat to productivity comes from distractions. There are various factors that cause distractions. From social media to the noises from conversations nearby, the factors that can take your focus away from work are many. In order to increase your productivity, you have to cut away the sources of distraction. For instance, you can abstain from using social media during work hours and rearrange the seating and work desk in such a way that the workplace noise reaches you less. These small measures can help you channel your attention to work and make you stay focused and increase productivity.
9. Take matters into your own hands
While doing quality work and delivering them on time can get you accolades from customers, colleagues and superiors, ultimately, how you feel about your work and being self aware of how productive you are matters more. After all, you are responsible for your productivity. So, it is extremely important to take ownership of your performance and productivity. If you stay productive and deliver results like clockwork, then the success is yours to celebrate. At the same time, not delivering quality work on time is upon you as well. When the latter happens, taking ownership of your productivity will give you the drive to take conscious efforts to right the wrongs and increase productivity before anyone could blame you.
10. Use time management apps
Use of technology can help you solve many problems. A simple time management app can go a long way in helping you utilize your available time wisely and extract the maximum amount of work. These apps can help you increase productivity.