Here's How to Supercharge Your Productivity in the Workplace

While Friday may be one of the most anticipated days of the workweek, it may not be the best day to get things done. Robert Half's productivity surveys go back to 1987 and have repeatedly found that, for most people, Friday is the worst day to tackle tough projects. On the other hand, Tuesday has for many years been the reigning champion when it comes to the day of the week with the highest productivity in the workplace.

If you have a slew of tasks on your to-do list — whether it's during tax season or any other busy time — you don't want your workweek to be slowed by an early case of Friday funk. How do you supercharge your productivity in the workplace? Shake off these seven habits of highly unproductive people:

1. Compulsively checking email  

Fight the urge to check each message as soon as it hits your inbox. Professional courtesy usually dictates a response within 24 hours, so don't let every email interrupt your stack of audits or other duties.

2. Taking on too many assignments

Having a full schedule can eliminate wasted minutes, but adding more tasks than time allows may hurt your productivity.

3. Too much multitasking and not enough completion

It may be a useful skill, but don't overextend yourself and repeatedly switch between too many projects. Knock them out one at a time and be realistic about what can be accomplished in a day.

4. Rushing through the to-do list

Hurrying through a too-full to-do list can hurt the quality of your work. Think about how detrimental (and ironic) that can be if you're off by one figure on an accounts payable sheet, and you spend another 30 minutes trying to find the error.

5. Tackling big tasks late in the day

Although a 6-inch-high pile of tax audits may not seem like the first task you want to tackle, avoid scheduling your challenging duties in the late afternoon. Most workers perform better in the morning and start to lose steam after 2 p.m.

6. Going to work sick

Yes, those balance sheets aren't going to fill out themselves, but that doesn't mean you should come to work when you're ill. You'll likely get less done, so make sure you devote a proper amount of time to take care of yourself. 

7. Working through lunch breaks

Breaks are important, and you need to take some time off from your desk every so often. You'll be able to recharge and may even have an epiphany about where to find the error that's throwing off one of your spreadsheets.

If you're a manager, learn how financial staffing with Robert Half Finance & Accounting can save you time in the hiring process, and download 30 Ways to Maximize Employee Productivity.

Editor's note: This post was updated published in 2014 and was updated in 2016 to reflect current information.

More on increasing productivity in the workplace