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12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

Creating positive work habits will consistently help you to boost your creativity. The following habits have been used to boost productivity and lift morale in the workplace for many, many years. They have stood the test of time, because they hold value and people continue to build their career using them as their foundation.

Arrive Early

Arrive early and be ready to start your day as soon as it is your time to check in. Arriving early eliminates the rush and allows you to start your day on your own terms, without worrying about whether or not you will be late or that you won’t be able to meet your deadlines. When you arrive early, you can start getting your tasks organized and start your day with a smile.

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Always Be Prepared

Always be prepared. Make a list of things you need to do when you first arrive at work in the morning. Know what supplies you will need and gather them together the night before so that all you have to do is come to work, clock in, and begin your day.

You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future. 
– Ashley Ormon

Work As A Team

Working as a team makes the day go by faster and it also allows you to get to know your co-workers. Working with one another makes it easy for everyone to meet their respective deadlines. While everyone will have projects that are their sole responsibility, you can always lend a hand to others when your work is complete.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
– Michael Jordan

Communicate Effectively

Communicate effectively so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure every member of the team understands what is going on, when deadlines are and who is responsible for each individual task. Communication is the life blood of an organization and if it is not used effectively, things will not work as smoothly as they should.

Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice and then communicate consistently in those terms.
– Simon Mainwaring

Accuracy Matters

Always check your work for accuracy. This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and math problems. Anything that is in printed form should be double and triple checked for accuracy. Making sure all of your information is accurate is a sign of professionalism and pride in your work.

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Watch every detail that affects the accuracy of your work.
– Arthur C. Nielsen

Consistently Meet Deadlines

When you have deadlines to meet, make sure all of the work is finished, fact-checked for accuracy, and put together in a professional manner. Try to turn in the project prior to the deadline. Waiting until the deadline is upon you makes the project look rushed. Always strive to be early.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
– Abraham Lincoln

Be Organized

Organization is extremely important. If something happens and you are not available, being organized allows you to guide someone through your office to find exactly what is needed without wasting a lot of time hunting through a jumbled mess of papers.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.
– A. A. Milne

Arrive Clean and Well Groomed

People who take pride in their appearance will also take pride in their work ethic. Always arrive clean and well groomed and with the attitude that you are ready to take charge of the day. The better you look, the better you feel and the more likely you are to produce over and above what is expected of you.

Our existence and our environment enclosed entities of divinity.
– Lailah Gifty Akita

Be Efficient

Efficiency is key when you are trying to be productive. Prepare a schedule. Take into consideration what tasks are on the schedule for the day and make sure you have enough time to devote to each one. Being efficient will help you stay ahead of the game and make sure you have taken care of all of the tasks on your daily list.

Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage. 
– Jawaharlal Nehru

Take the Initiative

Take the initiative. Do what needs to be done and strive to be the very best at everything you attempt.

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Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.
― Cathy Hopkins

Pick a Day of Rest

While Sunday is an ideal day of rest, it’s advisable to log in to your computer briefly on Sunday to assess your Monday game plan, and you will feel more relaxed and sleep soundly on Sunday night.

I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.
– Rosamund Pike

Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic

Harboring unrealistic expectations prepares you for failure. Take one step at a time and pursue your goal diligently, but gradually. Instead of lofty, idealistic goals, keep goals that are real and attainable.

Often you need to take some risk, but it must be a realistic risk, you can’t take a crazy risk.
– Sergei Bubka

More by this author

Beth Worthy

CFO at GMR Transcription Services, Inc

12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

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Published on May 20, 2019

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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