Productivity can be quite a difficult issue to tackle, especially while we are young and still trying to decide in which direction we should focus our efforts on. The important thing to remember is that productivity is tightly connected to forming prolific habits, and learning how to complete tasks that can be arduous from time to time. Additionally, your efforts to be productive may very often be thwarted by the idle atmosphere created by your peers, or co-workers.
Truth be told, if this topic is to be addressed adequately, more than one aspect of productivity needs to be taken into account. To quote Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” or: if you want to forge a productive environment, you need to start with yourself. Once these ambitious habits take firm roots within you, the next step should be to inspire your personnel or co-workers to do the same. Finally, to avoid unnecessary efforts, you are going to polish your task management skills, and take some responsibility when using technology.
Self-Improvement Productivity Hacks
As mentioned, the first productivity hacks that warrant your implementation are those related to self-improvement. Of course, you cannot become an ultimate working machine overnight, and even if you could, you shouldn’t. However, I believe that with these suggestions, you will be able to improve your work flow significantly.
1. Maintaining Your Energy
Regardless of whether we are doing physical or mental work we require energy, and our brain consumes it simply by thinking. In other words, even if we spend all day sitting behind the desk, we are still going to get tired at some point. The answer is quite clear, to increase our productivity, we should increase the production of energy.
As long as we spend most of our day time sitting, our body simply won’t produce more energy. On the contrary, we will only get more tired of our daily routine. This is why physical activity should be introduced, if we require a greater energy output on daily basis, our metabolism will start to provide it. We can always devote at least two hours a day to physical exercise. It might feel troublesome during the first few weeks, but gradually, we adapt. It will result in better health and more strength to go through the day.
2. Eating Food Good for the Brain
Unhealthy eating is another obstacle capable of hindering our will to work. It is a well-known fact that our brain operates better with the right substances, and the best way to fuel our brain is through better foods and drinks.
For the purpose of increasing our focus, try to start your day with a healthy oatmeal, and some blueberries for dessert. Having wild salmon for lunch can have positive effects on your concentration, and green tea is a great alternative for coffee, since it gives you enough caffeine to start your day. You can also use avocado or dark chocolate to stimulate brain function, as well as to satisfy the need for something sweet.
3. Decrease the Number of Surrounding Distractions
A number of things may draw your attention from what is important – a messy working surface, some nasty odour or outside noises. Start your day with a quick clean-up of your desk and always have an air freshener above your table. If there is too much noise, use headphones to cancel it out. You can even play some classical music – it may even turn out to be good for concentration – these impressions vary from people to people. Once you are “in the zone” you’ll see just how easier it is to work under these conditions.
4. Learn How to Stay Focused
Now this productivity hack can be somewhat of a challenge. Of course, if what we are doing at the time is engaging by its nature, then focus is not an issue. However, some tasks can be large, and truly bothersome. Even if we do work out, and use the before mentioned diet, making something that is by itself uninteresting to us into something interesting is next to impossible. Learning to stay focused is actually learning to power through. To invest enough time and efforts into something so that it actually becomes important to you.
Tell yourself to pay as much attention as possible for a whole hour when you are learning new things which should be used in your work later on. Then, see just how much of the content you managed to retain. If you are supposed to read a long text on a particular topic, browse the web to find a video related to it. Video clips are much more engaging, so your power of retention will spike in those circumstances. Once you have some sort of basis for the new topic, maintaining focus will be significantly easier.
5. Avoid Spending Time Unproductively
Unless you are sleeping, there is no good reason why you should be unproductive. Trust me there is always a way to keep your brain occupied, even when watching a bad movie. You can always analyse its aspects, see what you could have done differently, constantly search for flaws, or simply ask yourself why someone would make such a thing. In other words, do not allow your brain to rust.
If you don’t have a job and spend most of your day doing nothing but watching TV shows or playing video games, there is still a chance you can do something with it. Become good at those things, start a YouTube channel where you will have discussions based on those topics. The internet and the vast improvement of technology have made it possible to do something productive with your life, in spite of the fact that you are not doing anything with it at all. Do not miss out on these opportunities to generate online crowds, considering how enough attention online may turn out to be a lucrative business asset.
Productivity Hacks for Motivating Your Personnel
As it was already stated, the people in your environment can either motivate or hinder your performance. One of the ways to boost productivity levels is by inciting the co-workers, or your employees, by reawakening their ambition. With collective efforts, there is a smaller chance that someone will end up under-performing.
6. Recharge Your and Your Workers’ Mental Batteries
One of the potential problems that you can face as an employer is the mental exhaustion of your staff. Simply put, the monotony of each week becomes overwhelming, causing the capacity for work to drop significantly.
An ideal solution for such a problem is a team building exercise, it allows both you and your colleagues to unwind. Furthermore, it is a bonding experience very likely to improve the communication inside your team, which can only result in an even better performance in the future. Lastly, with the variety of engaging activates in which you can participate, you are bound to establish an impression that, as a group, you are team mates, not just a boss with his or her staff. Make sure you select a good rural location during summer and allow the location to nourish you back into your working state.
7. Use Employee Based Incentives
This is probably the most lucrative course of action that you can take in terms of motivation, to enhance the productive atmosphere. Basically, you use either a higher salary, or some sort of reward to motivate your staff. As far as productivity hacks go, this one is rather easy to implement, considering it is a scenario in which everybody wins.
The most basic incentive everyone should implement is a bonus payment for extra performance. To be more elaborate, you give your employee 10%-20% of the extra budget he or she has earned you during the past month. It goes without saying that an employee should complete all of his or her monthly duties for a regular salary. This money is simply an extra cut from the extra budget earned. The method rewards productivity and allows both you and your team to push boundaries without any loss.
Another way of motivating your staff can be through particular perks or rewards. After all, being in charge of a serious company means much more than just paying your workers – you should also offer something more, thus motivating them to keep on trying to remain in your company.
8. Monitor Your Staff
There was always a degree of controversy regarding this issue – usually, strict monitoring occurs when, at one point, an employer regrets giving the workers too much freedom. There are always pros and cons concerning this decision, but speaking in terms of productivity, monitoring provides a degree of pressure which can only yield positive results in this area. After all, if we know there is a possibility of getting caught while slacking off, we are less likely to do something like that.
9. Learn More About Your Employees
It is always better to hire someone you trust rather than someone you know nothing about. Getting to know your employees better can show you just how versatile they can be. Maybe someone can take a portion of additional responsibilities and be compensated with a higher salary – truly, it is an arrangement which is beneficial for everyone. This is why you should talk to your employees from time to time, see what else they are capable of, and whether they would like to try doing something new – in order to escape the monotony of their current job.
Another good reason why you should gather more insight related to your employees, is the before mentioned incentive strategy. If you are in charge of a smaller company, you can easily memorize what motivates each worker individually, so instead of money, you will have to offer an alluring reward for their efforts. You can also reward your workers with some personalised gifts. For example, gadgets or tickets for a game are always a good option for many workers.
10. Do Not Allow Your Workers to Become Too Relaxed
Finally, when it comes to the working atmosphere, you should not allow your team to become too relaxed. It is inevitable that over the course of time, people lose the portion of anxiety they had at the very beginning of their working arrangement. However, every once in while, you need to remind them of their duties. Being viewed as an authority and a friend at the same time is rarely possible, and you should never feel bad if you are unable to create such a relationship.
Trust me, when it comes to companies, well established order must exist. You may not have to be extremely strict, but whenever you see a drop in productivity, a frown or two will get things on their right tracks.
Productivity Hacks for Task Management
The very essence of productivity hacks lies inside quality task management. Even if you have a lot of work or hard tasks ahead of you, task management will make sure you get it done. It is especially crucial to make a strategy when there are a lot of piled up assignments, since the overwhelming pressure can only result in less productivity. Here are a couple of suggestions you can try.
11. Prioritize Harder Tasks
There is a good reason why harder tasks should be ranked in the upper part of your to-do list. As it was explained, our readiness to work and our mental capacity gradually drop during the work day, and if we spend it on simpler tasks, we’ll only end-up postponing more arduous work. Moreover, as we are completing easier assignments, we still know that, at some point, we will have a hard and unpleasant task ahead, which is both pressuring and demoralizing. If you can just muster enough strength to get it over with, the very act of completion will reinvigorate you, so in a way, you will have a psychological advantage.
12. Segment Your Larger Tasks
Some tasks are just too copious, meaning it will take more than a month to complete them, thus they are easily abandoned. The main reason for this is fear that all of your work will be for nothing, however, I heavily disagree with this notion. There are a lot of products, like video games, movies, even food, that are more likely to earn you money if you invest more of your time. For the purpose of tackling such problems, split your monthly task into weekly tasks, and create milestones. Even weekly milestones can be segmented into daily assignments, so that you can have a clear overview of the progression you are making with a large project.
13. Neatly Organize the Assignments
As explained in the previous paragraph, organizing assignments contributes to keeping track of progression more easily. Another thing you need to take into an account is difficulty – in other words, you need to ensure the load of the assignment is evenly distributed on a daily scale. If, one day, you can finish tasks with ease but the following day, you are barely managing – then, you are clearly not doing something right. You can also send yourself emails every week to recap with what you have done so far – this is extremely useful if your daily and weekly assignments are a part of a larger one.
14. Make Sure Tasks Are Well Defined
The advice itself may appear mundane, but if you fail to complete the assignments, simply because your job definition was vague, than those flaws will come back to haunt you. Sooner or later, you will have old tasks that need to be redone, and new tasks that are supposed to be done on that day, and before you know it, the whole organization process will become a challenge to maintain. Just make the criteria by which you will estimate that a certain project or task is fully finished.
15. Make Sure Tasks Are Properly Distributed
Finally, if you are a project manager for example, then you need to be fully aware of your co-workers’ capacities. An efficient way to complete any project is for everyone to pull their weight equally, or correspondingly to their capabilities – depending on the situation. It is also important that co-workers do not get an impression that someone is having a less demanding task, since it can interfere with the work flow.
Productivity Hacks for Utilizing Technology
One thing we must never neglect is the fact that we are extremely dependent on technology as well as the internet. If you are able to fully utilize gadgets and content which you can find, then you can be far more productive. Also, rest assured that without an internet connection or a fully functional PC, your advancements will be hindered. Here are a few productivity hacks related to this field.
16. Maintain Office Equipment
This is one of those responsibilities that is so easily neglected, and yet when we least expect it, our device starts to malfunction. I speak from experience when I say that postponing PC, or printer maintenance has caused me setbacks more than once. Clearly, all of this could have been avoided with monthly maintenance. In other words, all it takes is to pick a date for checking all the equipment you use and save yourself some potential future troubles. Test all the features you commonly use, and find a certain box where you can keep all your receipts and warranties.
17. Use Apps to Improve Organization
Considering that a great number of business people have a smart phone device, you can have your portable task manager nearby. You can find a great number of apps compatible with an android, iOS or Windows Phone device, and these reminders are extremely helpful.
18. Use Tutorials to Solve Problems
Finally, if there is anything we should be grateful for, it’s tutorial videos and blogging experience. People are willing to share their knowledge and help you out, whenever you are in need of something you know nothing about. When using of internet, you can make up for all the incompetence and save yourself from numerous potential mistakes or disasters. Additionally, simply sharing your experience and offering useful insight online can be a lucrative decision.
All you need to do is find a good web hosting option, start your website, and start investing in its promotion. Also, you can simply start a YouTube channel, and post tutorial videos since they are far more engaging. Just make sure you are eloquent and have no stage fright. It is worth mentioning that there are also tutorials to help you be more productive in these areas and they keep you expenses to a minimum.
19. Don’t Waste Time on Social Media
Social media accounts are a double edge swords. Although, they can have a vast potential for connectivity and advertising, mindless scrolling on daily basis can become truly addictive. If you are using your accounts for chatting more than you use them for the work benefits, then you are better off without them. The moment you spend a couple of days without going online, you will realize you haven’t missed anything special. Another way to solve this problem is to introduce a portion of discipline. Simply allow yourself 10 minutes of social media time after a full hour of work.
20. Clean up Your Inbox
Sooner or later, you end up subscribing to all sorts of things, you get bank reports, daily updates, product promotions, all piling up in your inbox. The problem is when those e-mails manage to conceal something important that was sent to you. Clearly, the excuse “an e-mail got lost in the sea of others” is not a viable one. Feel free to put all the emails you do not read in the spam folder, since that way, you can still give them a look if you really feel like it.