Photograph from above showing a person using a laptop on a desk

Increasing your productivity in the workplace can be a challenge. You can work hard all day and still feel like you haven’t achieved anything. However, reaching your goals isn’t always about working hard; sometimes it is about working smart. Here are five great tips on how to fulfil your productive potential by working a little bit smarter:

Tip 1: Organise your working space

Before you even start working, make sure you have control over your working space. It will make you more efficient in your work. If your workspace is tidy, you know where everything is. If you know where everything is, you can find anything at a moment’s notice. With a shorter lag period between obtaining equipment, you will complete the task in a shorter period. As well as this, studies show that having an aesthetically pleasing workspace creates a more positive mindset. This results in improved productivity.

Tip 2: Set small, concise goals

Breaking down big tasks into a set of smaller ones can stop something large from becoming overwhelming. It ensures that you stay on track with your day and avoid procrastination. The perfect way to do this is creating an achievable to-do list at the start of every day. Following a few key principles in combination with setting these goals can boost your productivity even further. The Only-Handle-It-Once (OHIO) principles states that once you start a task, do not divert from it. This can be used well in dealing with email and managing paperwork. David Allen’s two-minute rule is another way to stop the small tasks from building up. The rule asserts that if a task will take less than two minutes, complete it immediately. This will enable you to concentrate on the important tasks and decrease laziness in the workplace, only enhancing your productivity.

Tip 3: Track your day

It can be hard to accurately estimate the time that you spend on tasks. In fact, researchers have found that only 17% of people can do this. Tracking your time helps to evaluate and improve your working habits. Time Recording software and apps are available which can do this for you, by showing how long you spend on daily tasks such as email and social media.By imposing deadlines on yourself, you can increase your daily output. Giving yourself a manageable amount of stress can heighten your focus on tasks, especially on open-ended projects that lack the initial time pressure.

Tip 4: Stop multitasking

Sometimes you may feel like completing multiple tasks at once will save you time, especially if they seem easy. However, the reality is that multitasking is productivity’s biggest killer. Research has shown that the brain cannot switch between tasks effectively. The brain takes at least 20 minutes to retune to an assignment. This inevitably results in lost time and tasks being completed to a poor standard. To avoid this, direct your focus to a single task at a time and you will reap the benefits.

Tip 5: Put your wellbeing first

Taking care of yourself is the most important tip when trying to be productive at work. A healthy, relaxed mind is the key to being motivated throughout your day. Researchers found that those who
work in 90-minute intervals are more productive than those who work for 90 minutes plus. This is because you need regular breaks to clear your head and regain your focus. This tip extends into everyday life. If you can, try to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep. Your work will improve because of it! Remember, there will be days where you can’t be perfectly productive. Don’t get too down about it! The best way to overcome this is to reassess your goals and implement these tips. By gradually finding the balance of hard and smart work that suits you, you can accomplish great things both inside and outside of the workplace.