In the final quarter of 2016, it was reported that productivity in the U.S. economy had increased 1.3%. While this might seem like a small number, this was treated as truly excellent news by economists. This is because there’s no doubt that productivity is one of the most important numbers for the growth of the economy.
Of course, productivity is a complicated issue that can be affected by anything from lack of investment in staff to underfunding training and equipment. But if you’re interested in improving productivity in your office, here are seven great ways to get started.
1. Set mini deadlines for tasks
One really valuable way to work is to set yourself a self-imposed deadline for each task you want to complete. You will probably have a reasonable idea of how long it should take you to do a task that you do on a regular basis, so give yourself that amount of time to complete it and reward yourself with a break when you do.
2. Take breaks regularly
Speaking of breaks, definitely a good idea to take a break from your desk as often as possible. While you might think that taking time away from your desk might give you less time to get things done, the opposite is actually true. Taking a short break allows you to relax and then re-establish your concentration. If you try to work for too long without taking a break you’ll actually end up wasting time daydreaming because you’re not focused.
3. Leave your desk for lunch
The same logic applies when it comes to lunch breaks. Many workers believe that if they take their lunch at their desk they will be more productive, but the truth is that it’s a much better idea to give yourself a proper lunch break to get your head away from work. You can then recharge and get ready for the afternoon properly. The last thing you want is hit a wall and then lose motivation to continue working.
4. Set yourself a schedule for tomorrow
It’s a great idea to spend a few minutes every day deciding and planning what you are going to do the next day. Set yourself out with a schedule so that you can get on with your work immediately when you come in. It can be easy to come in and spend a significant amount of time just deciding on what to do. Doing in the day before means you can be productive from the start. You can use software like Planday to get on top of your schedule every night.
5. Deal with emails at specific times
Emails can be a real productivity killer. Many workers try to deal with emails as they come in, and while this can ensure that they get looked at immediately, it can also mean they eat into your time. Answering emails not only takes time but it can completely take you out of the flow of what you have been doing. It then becomes harder to get back into it. Instead of working on emails as they come in, set aside a time, perhaps at the end of a task to go through the emails you have received and reply.
6. Avoid unnecessary meetings
Another scourge of productivity are meetings. There’s no doubt that some meetings are extremely important and can play a crucial role in the business, but this is not always the case. We have all experienced meetings that serve little function other than to take you away from your work. If there’s not a vital reason to attend a meeting then don’t go.
7. Get enough sleep
Finally, remember that your productivity can also come down to your health. One of the best ways to be productive is to be alert and well rested during your working hours. So make sure that you get enough sleep every night.