As companies strain to compete in a challenging economy, producing more with less often becomes the mantra. On the individual level, the employees and small business owners who get more done with less time and resources are the ones who seem most likely to succeed. The rewards for being productive sometimes come immediately, but perhaps more often they result in a pattern of higher income over the long term.
Here are 7 techniques to boost productivity that can help you get the most out of your work and your life.
- Improve your working environment – If you are a mobile or home worker, you want to keep costs low so the temptation is to skimp on everything including the basics. To be productive, however, you need a good work space that includes a quiet work area with a desk, good lighting, heating and cooling, electricity, and Internet access.
- Reduce distractions – Surveys show that American workers spend well over an hour of every work day playing Farmville on Facebook, noticeably impacting productivity. To get more done, you have to avoid distracting activities on your computer and in your work area. If you stop every few minutes to look at your email or stock portfolio, or visit friends, you have a lot of room for improvement.
- Stop multitasking – Too many demands on your time can frustrate you as you frantically switch between windows trying to beat deadlines and address client concerns. Budget your time, prioritize your tasks and get one thing done at a time before moving on. You may need some time to develop the discipline to avoid multitasking, but you will ultimately find that you get more done and do better work.
- Turn off instant messaging (IM) – Many businesses and remote workers rely on IM to keep in touch with status updates and other inquiries and friends and family members often want to check in to see how you’re doing. If you have to, close your chat clients or change your status to busy and turn off your social networking so you can get more done.
- Batch repetitive tasks – Every time you have to change tasks you lose time gathering tools and getting your mind focused on your work. By grouping similar tasks you get more done every time you readjust, improving your productivity. For example, you may want to do all the invoicing on one day rather than pausing throughout the week to produce them as they come due.
- Email and phone calls at set times – Allocating blocks of time for email and phone calls will help you avoid interruptions and distractions. Schedule a break every hour or so to check your voicemail and email to make sure you have a chance to address important issues. Be strict with your time because if you could spend all day communicating and have nothing to show for your time at the end of the day.
- Take an afternoon snooze – If you become tired or sleepy during the day, you have trouble staying focused and the quality of your work suffers. Rather than fighting your physiological state, you should consider taking a snooze in the afternoon to refresh. You might feel as though you’re being lazy, but when you get back to work you’ll have the energy and focus to get a lot more done than you would have otherwise.
Use these 7 techniques to boost your productivity and you will find that you get more work done with better quality; you will ultimately earn more money and feel a sense of personal satisfaction.