1. Planning Is Key: Some people love to plan, others hate it. However, when it comes to maximising your time, planning is a key component. You can plan the evening before you begin your workday, or alternatively arrive 15 minutes early and plan from work. Either way, find some way to incorporate a planning strategy into your day. Write out a list of daily tasks that need to be done. Not only will this keep you focused and organised, it's far more satisfying seeing something 'ticked' off a long list! Rank your tasks in order of importance and that way you can help minimise any related stress of perhaps not completing a particular task on time.
2. Don't Multi-Task: There seems to be this label attached to women that we are fantastic at multi-tasking (which of course, we are), but multitasking can cause detriment to your productivity levels. Research has shown that productivity can be reduced by as much as 40% by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks. Instead, focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention before you move onto the next thing. This is where making a list (mentioned above) can help.
3. Take A Real Break: When we take a break from work, we don't often take a break at all. We still have our mobiles beside us, switched on, connected to email and we simply don't give our brains and bodies time to relax and reboot. Pencil in specific breaks into your day and commit to them. Walk away from the task you are doing, switch off and chat with someone about something completely un-work related.
4. Delegate Properly: As much as we would like to be, we aren't superhuman, and we simply can't handle 1000 tasks on our own, nor should we be expected to. Use your skills and leadership to your advantage and delegate your tasks or if you own your own business outsource some basic tasks to improve productivity and efficiency. Once you have started delegating, you will be amazed at just how much faster and easier your job is. The key is assigning the right task to the right person. If you know a person has the required skills to complete a job to your standard, then leave them to it!
5. Follow The "Two-Minute Rule": A simple yet effective rule from entrepreneur Steve Olenski. This involves making the most of the small windows of time. The idea is simple, if you see an action or task that can be completed in two minutes or less, then do it! According to Steve Olenski, if we complete the task immediately, it actually takes less time than needing to return to it later.
6. Keep It Professional: With today's social media boom, it is very easy to waste time scrolling down our news-feeds and replying to personal messages. Often a five-minute glance can transform into a 20-minute distraction. Eliminate this. Log out, switch off, or even remove the apps of distraction from your laptop and mobile phone. Respond to personal phone calls and personal emails on your own time. If you do have important personal tasks that need your attention, then use your lunch or scheduled break, but walk away from your desk.
7. Surround Yourself With Something Nice To Look At: Filling your office or work environment with aesthetically pleasing elements, such as plants, pictures, or even flowers, can increase productivity by up to 15% according to various sources. Spice up your office space with anything and everything that puts a smile on your face and when you are feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to just look at it, re-evaluate and start again.
8. Listen To Music: Some people can find music a distraction, but particular types of music can actually evoke and enhance productivity levels. Classical music such as Mozart or Beethoven seems to work best for this. Basically, anything that isn't filled with catchy music that will have you singing and dancing along.
9. Break Up Work Periods With Exercise: Physical activity is proven to help enhance your brain function. Enhanced brain power will give you more creativity, improved concentration, faster learning and exercise actually increases your brain's 'affective' skills too, which means you will find it easier to get along with others - no bad thing in a stressful environment! Many workplaces offer on-site gyms, so take full advantage of that, or if you work from home simply put on your trainers and walk to the shop. You don't need to run a marathon to boost your productivity, 10-15 minutes of movement will do the job just as well.
10. Sleep Well And Be Optimistic: Positive people tend to be more productive. As humans, we can often be drawn to negativity quite quickly, especially if we are under pressure. Take a step back, evaluate and think about the positives of a situation. Stress can also be drawn from a lack of sleep. Thanks to long work hours, early-morning commutes, and a list of responsibilities as long as a piece of string, increasing numbers of people aren’t getting the amount of restful sleep they need. Lack of sleep decreases our working memory, concentration and logical reasoning. It only takes one bad night's sleep to actually make us feel this way, so try your best to stick to a routine and get some effective shut-eye. Read a book before bed, take a bath or listen to some music. All these things will help you drift off, which will, in turn, boost your productivity.