Working Hard or Hardly Working? Tips for Boosting Productivity

Staying motivated at work can be tough for a number of reasons. Maybe you have too much on your plate and it’s hard to focus on certain tasks, or maybe you are simply feeling tired from a long weekend. Whatever the reason, you may need a little bit of inspiration to get through your work week. Follow these four tips for boosting productivity:

  1. Make a plan: At the end of each week (some people prefer at the end of each day), list your upcoming deadlines for the coming week (or next day) in order of priority. Check off items as you complete them for a visual reminder of the progress you are making. If you’re sure you’ll have time to get to the items of highest priority before their deadline, try tackling the easier tasks first and then make your way to the more time-intensive projects. Accomplishing these can be a psychological encouragement as you see items disappear from your list. If a to-do item you think will be easy turns out to be more difficult than you had thought, however, stop and move to something of higher priority; you don’t want to allow this easy-one-first tactic to become a time-suck that derails your entire plan!
  2. Take advantage of tools and technology: If you’re able to use a computer outside of the office, try tackling projects when you feel most energized and ready to work. This could be in the evening, after you have left the office and relaxed for a couple of hours, or even early in the morning if you wake up with a good idea.
  3.  Avoid time wasters: Chatting with your co-workers is helpful in building camaraderie, but don’t choose a time when you know you have a pressing assignment ahead. Time will tend to fly by faster than you realize when you are hanging out in the break room or instant messaging with friends, and you never know when a new project might come through your e-mail. So, before catching up on the past weekend, get straight to work. It might take a little extra motivation, but getting started on something is usually the hardest part, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be done.
  4. Recharge: Taking breaks during your work day is essential to boosting productivity. It’s easy to become glued to your computer all day, but this can work against you. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or having a mental block, take a minute to recharge before resuming work. Try getting up and taking a quick walk, even if it’s just to grab a drink of water. You’ll be surprised at how a little change of scenery and giving yourself something different to think about for a few minutes will give you a clearer head and maybe some fresh ideas by the time you get back to your desk.

Sometimes managing your time to maximize workplace productivity can seem impossible. If you have too much going on at once, it’s always a good idea to discuss things with your manager. If there are any tasks you can delegate to someone else in the office, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Handing off projects won’t make you look unmotivated or lazy; it will make you appear in control of your limits. Just don’t forget to offer others help when they are in a similar bind. Here are some additional tips from Robert Half that can help you stay focused at work and boost your productivity