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Six Steps to Increasing Your Productivity
The great irony of today is that most manual tasks have been efficiently mechanized, whereas multifunctional gadgetry aids us in making better use of our time. Nonetheless, isn’t it surprising how we often wonder aloud, “where has the time gone?” If 24 hours in a day seems inadequate for what you need to accomplish, perhaps it’s time to look at ways to increase your productivity.
Step 1: Manage your schedule.
Getting a jump-start on the week means handling your daily tasks and targets. Arranging one’s schedule and following it religiously cannot be overemphasized. Time-sensitive output is naturally prioritized. Break large-scale projects into small blocks of time. Try to schedule individual, complicated duties at the time of day when you feel most productive and capable. Take the time you need to complete each task, but also challenge yourself to finish earlier than allocated. At the end of the day, check your progress and update your schedule for any new undertaking that should be on your to-do list the following day.
Step 2: Identify and eliminate time-wasters.
Study your work habits and get rid of distractions. If the Internet is overly distracting, then create your own firewall, and block the websites that disrupt your work. If phone calls are too extensive, try the e-mail alternative first. Provide all the pertinent information so that you’re on the same page during the phone call. Keep such calls short and to-the-point.
Step 3: Trim down meetings.
Schedule meetings sparsely, particularly if these entail travel time. Prepare well for those unavoidable meetings and conference calls; make sure you have everything you need and that all key personnel are tapped. Agree upon a definite agenda and a tangible end-result. The age-old maxim of “never put off until tomorrow what can be accomplished today” is a good one; make sure that whatever needs to be tackled can be completed in one sitting, rather than via multiple meetings. If the meeting resulted in designated tasks, be sure to follow-up.
Step 4: Adopt a no-nonsense attitude.
Once you set upon a task, pour your concentration on the job at hand. Don’t be too concerned about multitasking, because brainpower is maximized when accomplishing one task at a time; it is much easier to get overwhelmed when juggling several items at once. When working on a project, there should be no interruptions and minimal horse-playing. Socializing can be done after hours or during breaks. Be professional and friendly, but ensure that you and your workmates take a practical, results-oriented approach to each project.
Step 5: Take those short breaks.
Minimize stress by taking necessary breaks. If you’re the type to work until you drop in exhaustion, that’s a sure way to burnout. Set the timer to herald a break. Take a few minutes to rest your mind and energize yourself. You may even take a walk and clear your head. A little exercise won’t be amiss, it’ll get your blood flowing. There’s also such a thing as a “walking meditation.” It’s said that meditation helps enhance concentration, sharpen memory, reduce stress, and improve mood. Remember that go-getters know how to pace themselves.
Step 6: Reward yourself after completion.
So you’ve already got a to-do list; how about a “stop doing” list? Every task has an end. Otherwise, you will just keep adding to your to-do list, without accomplishing much of anything. Once you’ve completed something, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well-done. Celebrate with your co-workers in a bonding activity. Express your appreciation for their contribution, even if it’s just complimenting their execution of the project. Success should be acknowledged and affirmative action reinforced.