Blog post

How to Improve Your Productivity at Work

With only so many hours in a day, it’s important to make the most out of your time.

When it comes to improving your productivity at work, it’s crucial to be more deliberate about how you manage your time.

Here are a few ideas you can implement into your workday to increase your productivity.

Dress for success

Generally speaking, what you wear to the office impacts your productivity.  Many studies have even revealed that your clothes can affect both your mental and physical performance.

A study published by the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal found that people engage in higher levels of abstract thinking when they dress smartly, compared to when they wear casual clothes.

According to the study, when you’re dressed up, you’re more likely to behave in the kind of way that someone in a position of power, like an executive, would.

If you find your professional attire is lacking, try sprinkling a few business pieces into your look. For men, invest in a good suit. For women, opt for trouser suits or dresses with a jacket.

Stick to solid colours that are in-season all year round like black, navy, and grey.  You can add a pop of colour to your look through your blouses and accessories.

Shopping second hand is a great way to build your ‘business look’ without spending a lot of money.

Online clothing re-sellers, like thredUP, offer affordable clothing from a variety of brands.

Limit interruptions

If like most people, you’ll find yourself getting interrupted way too often at work.  While this is something that can’t be completely eliminated, there are several things you can do to limit interruptions during your workday.

Before starting an important task or project:

Turn off your email notifications. If your application is open, you’ll likely feel tempted to check it.

Put your phone on silent and away, preferably somewhere away from your desk.

If you have your own office, close the door. If you don’t have an office, go to the break room or head to a local coffee shop (if permitted). Creating a physical barrier or distance makes it more difficult for your colleagues to track you down and interrupt you.

Block out time on your calendar to indicate when you’re going to be busy so colleagues know not to disrupt you.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking is often considered an important skill for increasing efficiency.

However, the opposite may in fact be true.  Studies show that attempting to do several tasks at the same time can result in reducing productivity by 40%.

While we may think our brains are capable of focusing on multiple tasks at once, they simply aren’t.

What happens is your brain actually jumps back and forth between the tasks, which ends up taking more time than sticking with each task until you finish.

Not to mention, the constant interruption from multitasking brings on higher levels of stress.  Rather than trying to tackle multiple tasks at once, commit to a single task before moving on to your next project.

Set internal deadlines

Are you someone who tends to procrastinate and cut your timing too close to your deadlines?  If that’s the case, try setting an internal deadline.

This is a deadline that you can work towards independent of your actual the overall finish point.  Not only will an internal end point allow you to kickstart your creative juices, it also helps to avoid any “11th hour” scrambling.

For your next task or project, give yourself an internal deadline (make sure it’s before your actual deadline) and then stick to it.

You may be surprised to discover just how productive and focused you can be when you’re aware of the clock.

Take breaks

While you may feel like you’re accomplishing more by eating lunch at your desk, it can actually negatively impact your productivity levels.

Your lunch break is a great opportunity for you to refresh your mind and give yourself a “brain break.”

Being stuck to your screen all day can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Use your lunch time to step away from the office, even if it’s just going for a quick walk outside.  Taking short breaks throughout the day can help increase your productivity as well.

Did you know that even a quick 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity up to 13%? Or that a 15 second break (every ten minutes) from staring at your computer screen can reduce your fatigue 50%?

Even shorter breaks such as these can have a positive impact on your productivity at work!

So there you have it, a quick and hopefully helpful guide to working smarter.