5 ways to be more productive at work
Workdays are so dressed-in-stress over the onslaught of emails, meetings and urgent action items. To minimise stress and become more productive and efficient in the workplace, you need to turn your attention to an unlikely area: your head.
But what role could that little pump possibly play in our levels of productivity?
“If we’re not motivated by some degree of positive, heart-felt enjoyment in our role, then the natural pressures we feel function less as efficiency drivers and more as mental blockades to our productivity,” explains Muffy Churches, an executive coach, counsellor and author of Coach Yourself, A 7-Step Guide to Personal Fulfilment.
“Essentially, it’s as if we’re driving through each workday with the handbrake on, but it’s easily remedied.”
Here are Muffy’s 5 ways to ensure that you pop with efficiency in the workplace:
- Assess your job’s passion-factor:
“Examine your role. Are you in the right place to exercise your professional strengths, skills, and passions or are you a round peg, trying hard to create a fit into a square hole?” Muffy says.
“When are you at your most dynamic, inspired, vibrant, and energised? When do you snap through your to-do list with piercing goal-focus? For most of us, it’s when we’re doing a job that we enjoy – one that fills us with a sense of both purpose and passion. Take time to explore and find yours.”
- Debunk your ‘productivity myth’
Your productivity myth is the false story we believe about our workload, and use to justify our inefficiency, Muffy says. A common myth is, ‘No one has as much work as I do’, which is known as ‘the familiar victim’ syndrome).
“The truth might simply be that we’re in the wrong role to exercise our core strengths, or perhaps we just aren’t managing our time as well as we could,” she advises.
“Identify your ‘story’. Once we drop the myth, the door opens to a new personal reality and fresh solutions.”
- Have a strategic plan
Without a clear view of what you want each workday to look like in terms of outcomes, the demands of others easily intervene and the day simply happens to you. Being a powerless ride-along is not something any of us ever intend to allow, so instead, Muffy suggests you try this:
- a) Think strategically. Make a list of the key objectives of your role and create a pie chart that demonstrates exactly what to spend time on and what to avoid.
- b) Become the director of your own movie. Script the efficiency of your day, as you want it to be, clearly and in detail. If you can imagine it, you can take the steps to make it real.
- Explore new time-efficiency techniques
“Explore fresh ways of doing things. If you haven’t yet come across these methods, they might help: The Pomodoro Technique, Ken Hudson’s Blitz-it Techniques, and email management best practice such as ‘How Harry Got Organised’,” she says.
- Take full-ownership of your time
Empower yourself to take a stand. This means you need to:
- a) Stop being the ‘yes’ person. Say ‘no’ gracefully to demands that aren’t within your set of priorities.
- b) Release your perfectionist. Give yourself permission to work without time-wasting analysis paralysis.
- c) Stop procrastinating. You’ll carry the weight of an important task until you complete it, so just drop the load now and get it done!