Because of this, it helps to have a proven productivity strategy in mind whenever you sit down at your desk. In this guide, we’ll cover 11 practical tactics you can use to stay focused, disciplined, and productive whenever you’re at work.
Before we get started, it helps to be familiar with the basics or productivity and time management. Enroll in our Productivity Booster course to learn how you can use the principles of time management and organization to get more done in less time.
Set your email inbox to update every hour
Do you spend most of your workday responding to email? If your email app alerts you to new messages as soon as they reach your inbox, you could end up spending more time answering emails than working on your main priorities.
One of the best ways to increase your productivity is by setting your email inbox to only alert you of new messages every hour. This way, you’ll receive all of your new messages and updates in batches, rather than as they arrive one by one.
Check out The Ultimate Gmail Productivity System to learn more about how you can customize your inbox to make yourself more productive, focused, and efficient while you’re at work.
Time yourself while you work to increase output
Have you ever noticed that you work a lot faster when a deadline is approaching at rapid speed? When you aren’t under pressure, it’s easy to forget about your major goals and spend less time on work than on pointless distractions.
Put your brain in ‘focus’ mode by using a stopwatch to time your important work projects and force yourself to remain productive. Try to become more efficient at completing basic tasks over time by recording your best ‘task completion’ times.
Use the Pomodoro Technique to split up your hours
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to get the most work out of every hour of the day. Instead of spending one hour at work, you spend 25 minutes working and five minutes on break, repeating the process twice every hour.
This gives you time to focus on important tasks and projects, followed by a quick break that you can use to catch up on email or chat with your friends. Although it seems too simple to be effective, the Pomodoro Technique really works.
Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique in our blog post on Time Management Quotes for Entrepreneurs.
Customize your operating system and browser
A fresh installation of Windows 8 or Mac OS X can feel like a blank slate – a canvas on your computer just waiting for you to start working. However, it’s also a slate which you can easily customize to make your work processes far more productive.
Learning the core functions of your computer’s operating system is an essential part of becoming more productive. Many people don’t realize how much time they could be saving by using features like gestures, macros, and other built-in OS functions.
Enroll in our course, The Basics of Using a Mac, to learn more about customizing and tweaking your Mac to suit your needs. You’ll also love our course on Using Your Mac To Its Fullest, which covers advanced techniques for Mac users.
Do you use a Windows 8 computer? Our course, Learn Microsoft Windows 8, shows off the core features of Windows 8 that you can use to make yourself more focused and productive at work.
Schedule important tasks for early in the morning
As the day goes on, it becomes more difficult to motivate yourself and take action on important projects. Because of this gradual decline in motivation, schedule the most challenging tasks of the day for early in the morning.
This achieves two great things from a productivity perspective. First, you’ll wake up feeling motivated, focused, and ready to take action. Second, you’ll find the tasks you scheduled for the afternoon easier to complete, since your hardest work has already been completed.
Work in a large organization? Minimize meetings
You might feel like you’re achieving a lot in meetings, but the reality is you might be costing yourself more time than you’re saving. Meetings can be a productivity killer, especially when they disrupt important projects and let deadlines creep up on you.
If you manage a team or work within a large organization, try to limit the number of meetings you hold per week. It’s often worth eliminating meetings entirely in favor of online collaboration tools and live chat.
Would you like to improve your team’s productivity? Taking action by yourself is simple, but coordinating a team can be challenging. Enroll in our course, Project Management, to learn the fundamentals of running a productive team.
Turn repetitive, simple tasks into outsourced routines
Do you spend most of your time completing processes that involve the same tasks over and over again? Simplify these processes by turning them into routines that you can easily assign to other employees or contractors.
Systematizing your business is one of the most important aspects of making it as productive as it possibly can be. The more systems you have in place, the greater your business’s level of productivity and output will be.
Learn more about how you can systematize and outsource repetitive tasks in our course, Business Process Outsourcing.
Drink water and practice the art of mindful eating
Sometimes being more productive at work means being less productive outside of work. Take several breaks every day and force yourself to focus on your meal, and not your daily work schedule.
Keep yourself hydrated during the workday and try and ‘zone out’ of your working mindset while you take a break for meals. You can learn more about stress release and mindfulness in our course, The Art of Mindful Relaxation.
Exercise and focus on keeping your body healthy
A healthy body means a healthy mind, and there’s no better way to improve your productivity than by improving your health. Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson has attributed much of his success to his obsession with daily exercise.
Whether you love to run, lift weights, or practice yoga, try to spend at least an hour every day on health and fitness. Taking care of your body will give you more focus, mental clarity, and intuitiveness at work.
Would you like to improve your body and release stress at the same time? Enroll in our Yoga for Stress course to discover how you can release the stress you acquire at work while increasing your flexibility and enhancing your health.
Keep your workplace clean, organized, and simple
The cleaner and more organized your workplace is, the more focused you will be at work. Instead of letting forms, letters, and books clutter up your desk, spend some time every day organizing your workplace and keeping it clean and focused.
This same rule applies to your computer! Instead of letting files and folders clog up your desktop, practice a daily ‘sweep and clear’ process to keep your PC or Mac nice and clean.
Need help decluttering your computer? Enroll in our course, Clean & Organize Your Mac in Under 2 Hours, to learn how you can organize your files and folders and take back control of your computer.
Use URL blockers to avoid unproductive websites
Do you spend too much time watching YouTube videos? Can you not help yourself from browsing Reddit every other hour? Social websites can destroy your personal productivity if you let them, and blocking them is often the best solution.
If you can’t stop yourself from wasting time on productivity killer websites, install a browser extension to force yourself to remain focused. Leechblock for Firefox blocks your desired list of websites; StayFocusd, its Chrome counterpart, does the same.