- Get some sleep
A good night’s sleep is imperative for productivity, better decision-making and idea generation. A McKinsey study showed a direct correlation between getting less sleep and workplace inefficiency. Not enough sleep is the cognitive equivalent of trying to work drunk.
- Don’t skip breakfast
We need fuel to function properly. It’s an easy meal to skip, but remember by the time you wake up, you likely haven’t eaten for 10 or 12 hours. When you’re hungry it’s harder to focus and you’re more likely to feel tired, irritable and impatient. It’s been said eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper.
- Skip multitasking
While many people believe they’re great at doing two things at once, scientific research has found that only about 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking. For the rest of us, multitasking is a bad habit that decreases our attention spans and makes us less productive in the long run. Psychologists maintain that multitasking for more productivity is a myth that does not do you any good. It only causes the brain to engage and disengage, again and again.
- Make to-do lists
If you truly want to be more productive, make a list of the things you want to achieve during the day. Get yourself ready by spending 10-15 minutes on your way into the office thinking about what you want to accomplish. When you write down your goals and create a checklist, the things you have to do become real. You are more likely to accomplish your goals if you write them down.
- Make the most of meetings
Meetings are unavoidable, but make sure they’re organized and efficient. Start on time, have an agenda, clarify actionable work, limit war stories and have a hard stop. It’s important that everyone in the meeting has a role and opportunity to speak.
- Collaborate and respect others’ ideas
When people come up with great ideas together, amazing things happen. A wise person once said, “People support what they help create.” Take advantage of the close proximity of colleagues and co-workers, bounce ideas off each other, discuss new projects and approaches over lunch or coffee, or just swing by their office for a (short) chat. Collaboration and cooperation between coworkers can help increase productivity, trust and job satisfaction.
- Do your most important work early in the day
Many start off their day by completing easy tasks to get themselves rolling, and leave their more difficult work for later. Bad idea. It frequently leads to important work not getting done at all. People have a finite amount of energy that decreases throughout the day, so it’s best to get your hardest, most important tasks done when you have the most horsepower.
- Don’t check email throughout the day
According to a Microsoft study, every time you check email you lose an average of twenty-five minutes of work time. What’s more, the constant checking of email erodes our time to focus and concentrate. Review only four times a day to allow big chunks of time for “deep-dive” work.
- Be careful of web browsing
Since most of us have access to the internet at work, it’s easy to get sidetracked by surfing (and checking your phone). It feels like you’re working, but most of the time you’re wasting time. It’s an easy trap to fall into. What’s worse is that it may violate work policy.
- Take time for reflection
With all the projects, meetings and deadlines that fill our schedules, it’s easy to forget about professional growth. Take a few minutes each day and ask, “what could I be doing better?” Keep a little list of three to five things and work on them without anyone knowing.