Simple Ways to Become More Productive at Work

Although it sounds cliché, flattened organisational structures mean today’s professionals are expected to accomplish a lot more with less resources. There are times when one person may be working across three different roles, so how can one keep up with the pace of work without having to put in extra hours each week? ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, notes that there are some simple ways to become more productive at work.

“In a highly competitive job market, employees are expected to be productive in their roles – which often encompass more than one aspect. For example, someone managing posting schedules to social media pages may also be expected to carry out reporting on this, carry out community management and develop content for the pages. The good news is there are changes one can make to ensure they are more productive, today,” explains van den Barselaar.

Late afternoon, prepare your to-do list for the next day. “Be specific,” suggests van den Barselaar, “only include the tasks and activities that you must accomplish for the day, and list them in order of priority.” During the workday, focus only on what you have to do for the day, and focus only on one activity at a time. Take the time to measure your accomplishments rather than the amount of time it takes you to complete tasks. At the end of the day, review your list against the list of completed tasks, as this will give you insights into how much you can accomplish in a day.

A great way to find time to do the things that matter to you is to keep a time log for a month. Record how you spend your time each hour, every day. At the end of each week, review the entries in your log. You may discover that how you think you spend your time is very different from the reality. Your discovery will allow you to see where you could be using time more effectively, by enabling you to identify factors like repetitive tasks. “This way you can come up with solutions to ensure you are using your time most productively,” says van den Barselaar. For example, creating a template for any of the tasks that you complete repetitively each day or week.

A great productivity tip is to get out of bed an hour earlier. It is said that some of the most successful people are early risers. “Giving yourself an hour in the morning to review your task list, plan for the day ahead and undertake a healthy activity, like exercise or meditation, will no doubt give you the motivation to be more productive throughout the day,” says van den Barselaar.

Another unusual productivity tip is simply to drink more water each day. “While this may sound simple, it is proven that if your body is not fully hydrated, you can feel sluggish, which makes it very difficult to focus on tasks you need to complete,” explains van den Barselaar. Taking care of your health is important for managing stress, avoiding burnout and performing at ones best.

A technological tip is to make use of apps. “There are several apps available aimed at tracking and increasing productivity for both individuals and teams,” says van den Barselaar. These apps will allow you to keep track of tasks, make notes, update and review deadlines, and even upload files – depending on the platform you are using.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, employees will need to be flexible and multi-skilled, while focusing on being productive in all their roles. “While upping ones productivity might seem like a massive task, small steps can make a large impact in a short amount of time,” concludes van den Barselaar.