Emails. Phone calls. Meetings.
This is what a typical day looks for a lot of individuals. An average day at work can be hindered by interruptions, lack of focus, and lack of planning. Making small changes to your work environment will help reduce or prevent some of the daily distractions and improve productivity because it is possible. Some tips to enhance productivity include organizing your workspace, avoiding multitasking, taking breaks, detaching from your phone, and using video messaging tools to reduce meetings and emails.
Multitasking at work is a tempting yet unproductive habit. Instead of coming into work and focusing on ten different projects at once, it is better to take a few minutes to plan your day and tackle one task at a time. A study conducted at the University of London found that people who multitasked in cognitive tasks experienced an IQ decline that is similar to a person who has stayed up all night. Instead of using your brainpower to tackle multiple projects at once, write down what work is needed for the day and set aside time for each one.
For example, work on a task for 60-90 minutes, check email, and take a little break and go to the next task. This schedule with a break is much more manageable than working on multiple projects the entire day and finishing none. By finishing one task at a time, your day’s work will compound to multiple tasks done, and within a week, you will likely have accomplished much more than you originally planned.
Take Regular Breaks.
Sometimes, we think there are not enough hours in the day, especially when we have pressing deadlines. As a result, we hold out against taking breaks or doing anything else that might take away our precious time. However, scientists have a different perspective on this. Taking a break has been proven to:
- Have a positive impact on mental and physical health.
Too much sitting can put you at a higher risk of diabetes, depression, and obesity. Therefore, it is essential that you get up from your chair to stretch, go on a short walk or grab lunch.
- Improve creativity.
Your creativity’s worst enemy is working long hours without a break. Putting in more hours does not mean generating more ideas. Big ideas come when you least expect them. However, you can increase your chances of finding inspiration when you go on a walk.
According to a recent study, people are more likely to produce creative ideas while walking. So, do not exhaust yourself. Take a break when hitting the wall and let your creativity flow.
Put your phone away.
Let’s admit it – most of us cannot resist the temptation to take a glance at our phones while at work. Unfortunately, one innocent glance can turn into hours wasted on feed scrolling. Our cellphones do threaten not only our productivity but also drain our brains. It has been recorded that having a phone within reach makes it harder to concentrate because a percentage of the brain has to actively work not to pick up or use the device.
Now, think about all the hours you can save and the things you can do if you put your phone away during work. Ask yourself if it is worth spending that much time on virtual life instead of focusing on what’s important. Use your time wisely and experience improved productivity.
Skip the long emails for video instead.
Meetings and emails are some of the main culprits of reduced productivity at work. From making sure the session starts and ends on time to communicating efficiently during meetings, meetings will likely take up way more time than initially planned. Efficient email communication is another obstacle to a productive workday, especially when working collaboratively on a project.
A video messaging tool like CloudApp is an excellent solution to improve meetings and communication with co-workers. With features like screen-recording and GIF creations, teams can share exactly what they’re working on and any issues that they are experiencing. Additionally, the webcam feature allows teams to communicate more personally; a meeting can start as quickly as turning your webcam on!
Organize your workspace.
Along with workflow tools, organizing your workspace can significantly improve your productivity. Other benefits of an organized desk are improved comfortability and boosted confidence.
- Improved comfortability.
The stress of losing something meaningful can be daunting, especially if it is an important work document. If you want to feel comfortable at work and know exactly where things are, create an open space by organizing your messy desk.
- Boosted confidence.
If you are looking for ways to leave a good impression on your managers and coworkers, an organized desk will do the job. It will convey the message that not only are you organized but also responsible.
Coming into a decluttered desk every morning is a subconsciously demoralizing way to start your workday. Small things such as leaving a wrapper or leaving a bunch of sticky notes will quickly add up and make your workspace a nightmare.
A simple way to help address your workspace clutter is to make little changes to prevent future clutter. One example is by placing a trash can near your desk, this little change can do wonders, and all of the little clutter from your desk will decrease tremendously.
Other examples are segmenting your desk, sorting things by importance, tossing pens and pencils you do not use, and putting the office supplies away. If you take control of your workspace today by making one change to your work environment, you will see an improvement in your productivity and environment.
Work is hard enough as it is and with the demands we all have on us to do things more quickly and efficiently. While we cannot control time, we can take the necessary steps to make the most of it. The above-mentioned tips will help you improve your productivity and learn how to manage your time better.
Remember, there is no need to exhaust yourself. The key to increased productivity is working smarter, not harder.
VP of Marketing
Joe Martin is currently the GM and VP of Marketing at CloudApp, a visual collaboration tool. He has more than 13 years of experience of marketing in the tech industry. Prior to his role at CloudApp, Martin was the Head of Social Analytics at Adobe where he led paid social strategy and a research team providing strategic guidance to organizations within the company. He has an M.B.A. from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Executive education in Entrepreneurship from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a B.S. in Finance from the University of Utah and a digital marketing certificate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been published in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and other top tier outlets.