Your productivity at work is tied to your performance, which means that if you’re not all that great at getting things done, your chances of snagging a raise or landing a promotion may be somewhat minimal. Not only that, but learning to maximize your time at the office could lead to a better work-life balance because the more you manage to accomplish, the less likely you’ll be to get stuck logging in on weekends or burning the midnight oil on a regular basis.
If your on-the-job productivity could use a boost, here are a few ways to improve in that regard.
1. Set priorities
Identifying the tasks you really need to get done on a daily basis is a good way to ensure that you don’t waste time on less important matters. When you arrive at work each morning, sit down and make a list of the things you absolutely have to accomplish that day, and then start plowing through them first. Don’t stop to do anything else unless it’s an email marked “urgent” or a task you truly know you can complete in 10 minutes or less.
To pull this off, you may need to push back when other people ask for your help during the day. But in that scenario, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that you must complete your priority tasks first and only then can you see if there’s time to jump in on something else.
2. Eliminate distractions
Whether you work from home or in an office, distractions can be a huge productivity zapper. Your best bet, therefore, is to identify your greatest distraction sources and work on making them go away.
If your constantly dinging inbox is to blame, turn off email notifications on your screen when you’re really trying to focus. If your friends can’t stop texting you all afternoon, hide your phone in your desk drawer with its ringer turned to silent.
If chatty co-workers tend to throw you off your game, invest in some noise-canceling headphones or book space in conference rooms with doors that close. And if you find that your brain just naturally starts to wander when you’re tasked with difficult work, incorporate scheduled breaks into your day so you get a mental reprieve without running the risk of missing deadlines.
3. Unload the things you aren’t good at
Maybe you’re a brilliant data analyst but it takes you half an hour to write a paragraph-long summary of the findings you present. Or maybe you’re really good at market research but lack the skills needed to throw presentations together without sinking in a ton of time. If you’re tasked with doing things you really don’t have a natural aptitude for, talk to your manager about making changes.
For example, if you have a copywriter on your team, your boss might agree to let you give that person your data findings so they can summarize them for the team. If you stink at graphics, your manager might enlist the help of a junior-level designer to take that task off your plate so you can focus on the things you’re better at. It’s never easy to acknowledge your own shortcomings, but if you’re willing to be honest with yourself and your boss, it could make for a much more productive existence.
Boosting your productivity won’t just help you become a more valuable employee; it’ll also give you something to feel good about. And that’s reason enough to focus on getting more out of your time on the job.
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