15 Top Tips For Improving Productivity In The Office

We are only given so many hours in a day, and utilising them to their fullest extent is what we should all strive for, especially in the office.

Many people pride themselves on how many hours they put in the office, while others simply work smarter with their given time. As the age old saying goes, “quality over quantity”.

With this in mind, here are 15 fantastic tips to help you improve your productivity within the office that don’t involve working more hours.

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1.  Keep yourself hydrated

It may sound simple, but many of us do not drink enough during the day. Quite simply, us British are dehydrated most of the time which can lead to us feeling lethargic and unhappy. But not only will staying hydrated help improve your overall health, a study has shown that drinking water can increase your productivity by 14%.

If you struggle to remember to keep up your drinking, carry a water bottle around with you. You can mark times on the side of the bottle indicating how much you should have drunk by 11am for example.

2. Enhance your environment

Working in a cluttered and ugly environment will leave your mind like this too. You should treat your workstation like you treat your home - with care and attention. Our desk is our own little personal section of an office where no one else can call theirs. 

Do your best to surround yourself with items that brighten up your day or motivate you to do the best you can. Items such as office plants or pictures of loved ones can do wonders for your productivity. For inspiration, here are 15 ways to uniquely decorate your office desk.

3. Plan to your hearts content

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Arriving at your desk in the morning without a plan of action will leave your mental state in utter confusion. Planning allows you to set goals and deadlines for your work, leaving your mind to focus on the work itself.

Whether you want to use the latest app/gadget or the a more traditional style of a simple pen and paper, the choice is yours. Just make sure you plan ahead for the day and even the week.

4.  Dedicate time to something non-work related

Work is stressful. There are no two ways about it. Deadlines need to be met and meetings need to be attended. If we don’t take care of ourselves, our mental health (and physical health for that matter) could be at risk. 

This is why we should dedicate some time during the workings hours to do something non-work related. Doing this enables us to give our brains a rest from the stress. Whether you read a book, take a walk or hit the gym, the choice is up to you. Recharge your brain and come back to your work stronger and more energised!

5. Set deadlines yourself

Many of us dread deadlines that are passed onto us from our bosses, but they’re not always a bad thing. Setting strategic deadlines that help you move forward with your work can help build a sense of achievement and fulfillment. 

Beware not to set deadlines that just add to your stress levels. Be smart about setting deadlines that are truly obtainable, but not too easy that you end up not doing much work.

6. Start being proactive

Being proactive generally makes life easier to handle. Being solely reactive let’s situations out of your control dictate the way you tackle each day. Having a proactive mentality enables you to plan and understand your short and long term goals - and any hiccups that hit you on the road ahead, you’ll be more equip to deal with them.

7. Stop multitasking

People pride themselves on how ‘well’ they can multitask. But in reality, it’s said that multitasking is really just ‘task-switching’. “Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity” says Guy Winch, PHD. We never really get ‘into the zone’ when we continue to switch tasks, whereas if we focused on just one task, we would be more attentive towards that task and be completely focused on completing it.

8. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine

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The mid-afternoon slump during the working week is a common occurrence for many up and down the country. Whether this be from waking up early, stuffing yourself full of fatty foods or just generally working very hard and this can wreak havoc on our productivity during the early hours of the afternoon.

Exercising, however, can improve your mood, keep you alert and focused, and ultimately, help increase your energy levels. So instead of staring at your screen for another hour, take a walk around the local park, or pick out a gym class for your lunch hour.

9. Nullify interruptions

Busy offices are full of distractions that can take your mind away from your work. Taking steps towards nullifying any interruptions can go a long way to help getting your daily goals completed.

If you have an office with a door, make sure that is closed if you have time sensitive work to get finished. An open door looks inviting to onlookers, so make sure you keep it closed. If possible, working from home can also help you keep focused on the work at hand.

10. Take breaks frequently

Taking breaks might sound counterproductive, but you couldn’t be more wrong. In recent studies, it has been found that brief diversions from a prolonged task can greatly improve your ability to focus. This study debunks decade old studies that said otherwise.

So don’t be hard on yourself for taking a quick break, whether you want to catch up with a friend, enjoy a short walk or even practice some meditation.

11. Listen to music

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Listening to music may sound counterproductive but in actual fact it’s been found that nine out of 10 workers perform better when listening to music. Listening to music is uplifting and can improve your emotional state, allowing you to perform better. “Music is a key tool for business success”, Christine Geissmar, operations director at PPL.

12. Track and limit the amount of time spent on tasks

Tracking the amount of time you spent on your daily tasks will enable you to identify the time-wasters. While many of us may think we’re good at timekeeping, once you’ve tracked yourself for a week, you may be surprised just how long you spend on ‘nothing’ tasks.

Pen and paper may be people’s go to for tracking time, but if you desire something a little more fancy, there are countless apps and online tools specifically designed to help you. 

13. Utilise your daily commute

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For many of us, catching the train or bus is something of a daily occurrence. While it’s tempting to crush some candies or browse the monotonous posts on Facebook, your time could be spent a little more productively. 

Instead, why not bust out your emails and make some head way towards that illustrious zero inbox. If you do manage to reach the all important number 0 in your inbox before you’ve even set foot in the office, you’re one step ahead of the game and on your way to a winner of a day.

14. Introduce standing meetings

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Every week, valuable time is wasted in meetings when they we could all be shorter and more effective. Studies have shown that meetings are 34% shorter if you’re standing up.

The quality of each meeting does not suffer as of a result of the way you conduct the meeting (either sitting or standing), so who wouldn’t want to make meetings shorter by standing instead? And as we already know, sitting down for too long each day has been linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic health issues.

15. Stop obsessing over perfection

Gunning for perfection is a hopeless task that inevitably just wastes time. We are all human and that fact goes hand in hand with imperfection. This doesn’t mean you have a free pass to hand in less than your best work. But there has to be a balance between you doing your best and you striving for perfection. 

Perfection is a time-waster. If you feel the need to revisit a piece of work later down the line, then do so. A fresh perspective can breathe new light into your work, but don’t sit there for hours on end banging your head against the desk trying to obtain perfection.

Takeaways

If your workload is leaving you stressed, try to resist the temptation to put in more hours. Instead, work smarter with the time you have. As seen above, there is an abundance of actionable ways to improve your productivity. 


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