At some point in your job or career you have thought about how to be more productive. This could have been as a result of the piling mountains of work, limited time and competing priorities.
The quest for productivity is a respectable goal because as you become efficient in your work, you are able to produce more results within the time available.
Here are three simple ways to improve your productivity at work:
1. Developing a to-do list
Write down the tasks that you want to work on during the day. At the beginning of each day quickly run your to-do list through your mind to envision how you would like your day to unfold.
In other words, play out your to-do list movie trailer and visualize movie clips of what you want to accomplish during the day.
Keep your list where you can prominently see it and focus on one task at a time. Check off, cross out or delete tasks after you finish them.
Tips to improve your to-do list include breaking down large activities into smaller action items, scheduling time on your calendar to do tasks on your list, giving yourself tight deadlines to complete your work, reviewing your list at the end of the day to see what did you do versus what didn’t you do and preparing tomorrow’s to-do list today evening.
A close cousin of productivity is prioritizing. When there are many things to be done, it is important to identify what needs to be completed immediately and why versus what can be done later.
This can be guided by the consequences or repercussions of not finishing a task i.e. What will happen if I don’t finish this task immediately?
Apply this simple test to the items on your to-do list to help you identify what to start working on and what to work on later.
3. Tracking your progress
Two important areas or questions to track are as follows: What did you spend your time on? and How much ground have I covered so far?
The first question – What did you spend your time on? – uncovers how you typically spend your time during the day. It is possible that you could be thinking you spend x time on activity y or you spend time on activity x whereas your time is actually spent on activity y.
For a period of at least two weeks write down or plot out all the activities that you do, the time you start them and when you finish. Analyze this data to get insights on how you spend your time and make any needed improvements.
The second question – How much ground have I covered so far? – helps in measuring your speed of work.
When planning your work you had had estimated that you would have completed x% of the work by a certain time. Look at what you have done so far – are you where you thought you would be? If yes, good keep going. If not, why not? What happened and how can you make adjustments or corrections to improve your pace or efficiency?
Also how much distance is left to cover and how much time will it realistically take to arrive at the end point?
Additionally knowing how and where you spend your time helps in planning, forecasting, estimating and reducing time wastage.
….. For in-depth/detailed tips on productivity, read this article: 39 Ways to Increase Your Productivity at Work.