Increasing your productivity when you are working can mean you ultimately spend less time doing so.
- Have a clear vision in mind and set yourself goals. If there is an urgent project, prioritise it over those smaller and easier tasks. At the end of the day, schedule the first thing that needs to be done tomorrow so that when arriving refreshed in the morning, you hit the ground running. Simply writing a ‘to do’ list can boost efficiency and productivity, particularly if it means that when you come in to work you already know what is to be done and are able to get involved as soon as you sit at your desk, negating the need to start planning activities after you could have already been working.
- Consider using two monitors if you are in a desk based role. It can be incredibly useful to have research and references on one monitor whilst your project is on the other, saving time spent clicking between programmes or tabs of the internet browser and ultimately making you more efficient. It also means spreadsheets of statistics or other relevant data can be left visible whilst it is in use, saving on printing copies to have to hand.
- Plan specific times for meetings, give them an agenda â€“ and stick to it. The amount of time spent in meetings that are unnecessarily long, discussing irrelevant issues, would be much better used on other things. Make it known that you are happy to discuss situations but that it is not convenient for people to ‘drop in for a chat’ and instead should arrange a time for the conversation. One to one meetings should not generally take more than an hour. Other people might not be as committed to their own productivity, but this shouldn’t be allowed to impact on yours.
- Stand up for phone calls. It sounds peculiar, but standing whilst on the phone naturally brings the calls to a quicker end, getting participants straight onto the topic in hand without the additional chatting. It also gets you out of your chair for a few minutes at a time, which can provide welcome relief during the long day.
- Teach yourself how to say no. In a busy workplace, everyone wants to be part of the team. However, sometimes to say no is the best option and the right thing to do. If you know you are too busy with deadlines for a project, suggest a viable alternative approach and don’t be pressured into agreeing simply to help a colleague.