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Robert Durrant mentoring

Tips to Making your Day More Productive

Updated: Jan 7

Do you struggle to get your tasks completed each day?

Do you find it hard to keep focused and stay on track?

Are you always being pulled into meetings and hallway conversations?

It doesn’t matter what your role is at work, it’s important to always look for new ways to keep productive.  It’s not about working harder and doing more, it’s about working smarter so you’re achieving more at work, but also having more free time for social activities and down time.

Not all days at work will be the same.

Some will be great, while others will be terrible seeing you dragged into numerous projects that are not necessarily your responsibility.

Excessive amounts of caffeine and list-making won’t get you any closer to reaching peak productivity levels today.

In most cases, an out-of-control task list isn’t always your fault. There can be many external factors that come into play that cause your day to disappear.

According to the Udemy Research report 70% of workers admitted how they feel distracted when they’re on the job.

Chatty co-workers and office noise were highlighted as the top distractions for 80% of workers and over 60% of the respondents also view meetings as just another interruption in the way of their being productive.

If you are one of those people who find yourself saying “The to-do list keeps getting longer” more than you would “I had a productive day at work”, then this article might provide you with some helpful suggestions.

Ways to Improve Productivity

I believe that the biggest tip for being productive is having a structure and daily routine.  The trouble is, you don’t know where to start right?

When I have been working with clients, I have suggested that they spend a week writing what they do, each day, each hour.

This information then creates the baseline ‘as is’ and highlights where your time is being wasted or at least being lost.

  1. Create a to-do or task list each day.

  2. Rank the list to highlight low, medium and high priority tasks.

  3. Use your diary to block out time e.g. Outlook or your Phone.

  4. Avoid Multitasking.

  5. Build a schedule e.g if you need to do task A each week, block your calendar out each week.

  6. Put your phone away.

  7. Schedule time for email in the morning e.g. the first 15 to 30mins of the day. Then close your email client and avoid looking at them while you are focusing in a task.

  8. Use the email importance flags and reminders in your diary to help control with your schedule.

  9. Avoid changing schedules to accommodate ad hoc meetings.

  10. Social items are important so be sure to allocate time for these e.g. coffee catch ups.

  11. If you think of a task that you need to do, try sending yourself an email to remind yourself.

  12. Keep to a work time schedule e.g. start at 8am and finish before 6pm.

  13. Don’t skip your breaks and lunches because you are busy. Use these times for your social items.

  14. Some days are bad, just write them off and start fresh the next day. Just use your to do list to capture things that are important and need to be completed.

  15. Delegate tasks…. you don’t need to do everything yourself. 

  16. Quality is good, but don’t be anal about getting everything just perfect to the detriment of another more important tasks. Micromanagement doesn’t last long in a company.

  17. Document routine tasks so they can be handed to others to complete for you.

  18. Use workflow tools to help manage tasks and communications with others e.g. Slack software.

  19. Centralise the management and storage of items. Use Dropbox, Google Drive to share content with others and avoid being asked for items repeatedly.

  20. Set smaller goals to complete daily and weekly.

  21. Keep healthy. When you are fit and active, your outlook is much more positive, and you have more energy.

  22. Be positive – once you start falling into a negative space, its hard to climb back out.

Lastly, it OK to just say No! 

You will find that after a while, people will stop lumping tasks on you.

Productivity = Time + Energy + Attention

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Robert Durrant

High-Performance Mentor and Coach

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