You reach the end of a busy working day and feel that you’ve achieved very little. Sound familiar? Yes? Well, you’re not alone. You may have spent the day rushing around doing things, but busy doesn’t necessarily mean productive. When you take stock, you realise you haven’t started on the report that was due yesterday; you have gaps in the roster for the week ahead that urgently need to be filled, and you haven’t managed to find time to speak with IT about your ongoing computer issues.

It doesn’t have to be like this! Here are 8 ways to improve your productivity at work.

  1. Practise self-care

Self-care is about looking after your physical, mental and emotional well-being. What this looks like will vary from one person to another. You may enjoy curling up with a good book at the end of a busy day, while your co-worker prefers to walk the dog. You do you. But everyone should recognise the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise and a decent night’s sleep.

  1. Start a to-do list

Chances are you already have a list of tasks you need to complete. If not, start one today! There are different methods to explore, including a classic written or typed to-do list. If you’re into online scheduling, you might choose to block out time on an electronic calendar or digital task manager. Or you could take one priority task from a longer to-do list and write it on a Post-it which you then stick somewhere visible (no missing it then!) Whatever method you choose, make sure you define your priorities – What is urgent? What can wait? – and set yourself daily goals.

  1. Identify peaks and troughs

Are you an early bird, who gets a lot done in the first couple of hours of the working day? Or do your energy levels start to peak later after morning tea and a strong coffee? Or maybe you’re more able to focus in the late afternoon. Different people work better at different times of day. It’s important to identify when your peak and your trough are so you know the best (and worst) times to tackle those priority tasks.

  1. Minimise distractions

Mobile phones, Internet browsing, conversations with co-workers, noise . . . there are so many distractions in the workplace (and at home), it’s a wonder any work is done! Not only do distractions impact on the length of time you take to complete a task, they can also affect the quality of your output. By carving out a quiet space and focussing on the job at hand, you can enhance your productivity. Save the catching up with co-workers for your breaks.

  1. Take regular breaks!

Yes, it might seem counterintuitive, but regular breaks really can enhance your productivity! If you feel that you’ve sat for ages at your desk and not got much done, chances are you need a breather. You might choose to have a warm drink and healthy snack, chat with some co-workers, or go for a walk around the block. Try to avoid additional screen time especially if you’ve just been working on a device. Your eyes and your brain need a break.

  1. Redesign your workspace

Is your workspace conducive to working? If not, there are a few simple things you can do to enhance it. Consider a supportive office chair and ergonomic keyboard for starters. And natural light combined with direct-indirect artificial light, where necessary. And go green! Plants can help purify the air, reduce stress and encourage creativity.

  1. Set boundaries

If you’re overloaded with work, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Nothing is going to get done on time. Learn to say ‘no’ especially if the request is outside the scope of your regular activities. Let people know you don’t have time to take on new tasks. Setting healthy boundaries is good for you and good for your productivity.

  1. Delegate tasks

Rather than taking on too much yourself, delegate! Consider who else in your team has the skills and experience to complete the task. There will likely be a few people eager for the extra responsibility and the opportunity to grow in their role. You can still provide input and guidance when necessary.

Focus on being productive rather than busy. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in your working day!

If you’re looking for a new opportunity, contact the productive, professional team at Optimal Recruitment on info@optimalrecruitment.com.au or 02 8416 4181.