Five Ways to Boost Productivity

Practical solutions for business managers

Are you having trouble motivating the troops? Keeping the workplace energy level high—while continuing to churn out the merchandise or provide valuable services—remains a constant struggle for many employers.

Of course, it starts at the top because business managers generally set the tone for the workplace. Look inward at yourself first before looking outward. Here are five helpful hints for increasing everyday productivity: 

1. Trim the “fat” from the schedule. Business advisers often recommend making a “to-do” list each day. But this can be a counterproductive experience, not to mention depressing, if the list is too long. Cut it down to a more manageable size—maybe even in half. This way, you will not be as frustrated by a lack of progress. Instead, you should have a little extra breathing room for additional projects, plus you might learn more from any setbacks you encounter. 

2. Stress quality over quantity. It would seem axiomatic that improving productivity would be about producing more, not less. But the truth of the matter is that increasing output, while a reasonable objective, might actually lead to mistakes, thereby costing you more time in the long run. Also, do not become overly enamored with multitasking. Switching frequently from one project to another can slow you down. It is usually better to focus on one task at hand. 

3. Schedule hard work for “prime time.” If you are honest with yourself, you may find you are more productive at certain times of the day or week than others. For instance, are you a morning person or are you more creative if you are burning the midnight oil? Are you better off starting fresh on Monday or wrapping up on Friday, or maybe you hit your stride in the middle of the week? Regardless of the answers, take on challenges when you are at your best, and leave the administrative duties for those times when your energy starts to lag. 

4. Avoid disruptions and nuisances. This goes back to the importance of being able to focus. Unless you are someone who feeds off noise or chatter in the background, you may increase productivity by turning off mobile devices, ignoring social media and possibly even logging out of your e-mail accounts. And, when it is called for, you might post a “do not disturb” sign on your door. Do whatever it takes to get the job done. 

5. Take advantage of new technology. The days of jotting down reminders to yourself are long gone for the tech-savvy person. Alternatively, you can rely on a wide variety of software programs designed to increase your productivity. This includes digital calendars, task management apps and other time-saving devices. With these new tools at your disposal, it should be easy to keep better track of projects, meet deadlines and become more efficient overall. 

These five steps should help you to be more productive. Once you implement them, the approach is likely to filter down to other workers. Develop the good habits you expect your workers to exhibit.

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