10 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work for a New Business
Productivity is vital for success in every company. But, it can be the difference between success or failure for a new startup.
We all know lots of things can distract you from completing your daily goals. The trick is to be productive despite interference from internal and external disturbances.
This article examines ways to reduce distractions. It also explains strategies you can use to increase output. Combine these two methods and you’ll create an efficient workplace.
If you have a new business keep reading to learn how to increase productivity. The good news is when you use these tips you’ll see results right away.
Ready? Okay? Let’s add some peace and productivity to your workday.
1. Schedule Your Day
Create a timetable for your day. Since childhood, we’re advised (or required) to follow a schedule. It may seem restrictive to some, but it’s an excellent way to improve productivity.
You may think you’re balancing assorted tasks. Yet, once you pay attention it may surprise you to discover where you spend your time. Tracking your time shows how much time you spend on daily tasks. This can include email, meetings, social media, and daily job requirements.
A schedule helps you track how much time you spend on each task. This is a valuable way to make sure you use your time on tasks that give you a return on investment (ROI).
Too often one task will monopolize your time at the expense of another important project. Maintaining a schedule helps correct this. A firm timetable helps you be deliberate about how you spend your workday. If you find yourself or employees dedicating too much time to a certain thing you can adjust.
You can use a digital assistant, or a pen and paper. The goal is to manage your time for productivity.
Here’s some advice specific to scheduling your time.
Group Similar Tasks Together
If you want to be efficient, group similar tasks together. For example, if you have several projects that need copywriting do them at the same time.
You’ll need the same mind space to write copy for each item. Set aside a morning or afternoon to complete all your writing at once. Determine how much time you’ll spend on each task, and use it as a self-imposed deadline.
You can batch your time for anything. Create multiple invoices at once, or write all your correspondence in one session. Perform similar tasks together to increase productivity and reduce interruptions.
When you batch tasks together you’ll finish them faster.
Complete Less Appealing Tasks First
Every job has things we don’t like to do. It may be writing a report or filling out spreadsheets. No one’s motivated when they have to do something they don’t like.
Do the unenjoyable things first. You’ll spend less time dreading them. Finish undesirable tasks first and you’ll have the rest of the day to do things you like. This keeps you motivated and interested in your workday.
2. Work in Intervals
A study in 1993 by well-known psychologist Anders Ericsson found the best violinists practiced in 90-minute intervals. They did this in a series of three 90-minute sessions with a break in-between each one.
A study two years later discovered people maintain sleep cycles after they wake. They have periodic drowsy cycles. These studies led experts to believe a cycle of rest and activity results in the work productivity. Ericsson found 90-minute intervals worked for athletes, writers, chess players, and other musicians. In fact, the research showed top performers worked about 4.5 hours a day for optimum results.
Set a Timer
It seems that time limits, like the intervals, make us concentrate better. When you know you only have a project that will take hours, break it into smaller chunks. Set a timer and work as hard as you can until your time is up. Check your progress at the end of the session. You may be surprised at how productive you are in concentrated efforts.
Find Your Most Effective Time of Day
Everyone has certain times in the day when they perform better. Are you a morning person? Or, do your best work after lunch? Identify your own peak performance hours. Then, optimize your schedule. Plan to concentrate on important projects during your prime time.
Use less productive times of day for tasks that are less taxing. For example, send emails or do paperwork.
Set Self Imposed Deadlines
Part of the reason an interval plan works is that you have a deadline. It makes you focus. There is a bit of stress related to any deadline. In this case, it’s a motivator to meet the goal in the allotted time.
Take Regular Breaks
No one is effective when they work eight hours without a break. On the other hand, it may sound counterproductive to schedule breaks. Yet, research shows taking breaks during long tasks helps people maintain an even level of performance.
When you plan your activities for the day, include breaks. Be aware that shorter breaks seem to work best. If you stop working for hours you may lose focus altogether.
A good meeting should improve communication within your company. It should convey important information. Everyone should feel comfortable about voicing opinions. Unfortunately, all meetings are not good meetings.
Some meetings feel like they will suck the life out of you. The meeting may keep you from your regular work for hours. Some meetings disintegrate into shouting matches. Others are monopolized by one speaker.
If you’re looking for ways to increase productivity, change your approach to meetings.
Did you know the average office worker spends more than 31 hours a month in meetings? Unproductive meetings.
Is it possible to inform everyone without a meeting? Consider sending a text or email instead. How about a phone call or remote video conference?
If you must meet face-to-face, try a Stand Up Meeting. They’re more casual, and by nature remind people that the meeting won’t last very long.
Let everyone know the goal of the stand-up meeting. That way everyone knows what to discuss and the meeting stays on track. This fast meeting format works for all types of business teams.
The bottom line is no matter how you meet, make sure every gathering:
- Starts on Time
- Has a Clear Goal or Purpose
- Everyone Feels Comfortable Enough to Participate
Don’t forget to follow-up. You want to make sure all goals or action steps discussed in a meeting are completed.
4. Complete Small Tasks Now
Don’t push aside a task because it “will only take a minute or two.” Instead, do it immediately. It’s smart to complete small projects as soon as they appear. If you don’t, there’s a risk you’ll delay them too long.
Don’t wait to book a flight, buy a ticket, or pay a bill. If you can complete something in a couple of minutes, do it. Finishing the task right away takes less time than planning to do it later.
5. Create a Pleasant Work Environment
We’re more productive when we enjoy where we work. Make your workspace appealing physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Give yourself something nice to look at while you work. Add plants, artwork, and accessories that make you happy. Place photos of your family or favourite sports team in your workspace.
Music is another way to increase productivity at work. Many people believe performing a task while listening to music makes it more fun. If you share workspace, respect your coworkers’ preferences by wearing good headphones.
Along with a comfy chair, pleasant surroundings, and music keep your work tidy. A clutter-free environment is always more efficient.
6. Stop Multi-tasking
You may believe you can do two, three, or more things at once. The truth is, our brains need time to switch between tasks. So, when you try to do several things at once you lose proper focus. The result is wasted time, not better productivity.
Give full focus to one thing at a time and do it well. Multi-tasking wastes both time and effort.
7. Reduce Interruptions
It’s hard to resist an incoming phone call, text or email. Yet, constant interruptions will affect your productivity. Turn off notifications so you can focus while you work.
Pick a couple of times a day when you check email and respond to it. Check email first thing in the morning, before and/or after lunch, and again late in the day. Don’t let incoming messages or calls determine how you spend your day.
For tasks that need your full attention, turn off email, Slack, social media, and any other messaging apps. Close your office door to prevent pop-ins from colleagues.
Even the most innocent interruption changes your workflow. Consider setting office hours or working from home if you are on a tight deadline. Once you minimize interruptions you’ll see increased productivity.
8. Use Your Travel Time
Do you spend a significant part of your day travelling? If so, there are ways to be productive while on the road. Whether you’re driving to work, or from one sales call to another put your time to good use.
If you commute on a train or bus, or are in a carpool, use the time for correspondence. Send work emails or text, organize your day, and polish a work project.
Do the same thing with any bonus time you find in your day. Use it to brainstorm an idea or create a to-do list.
9. Get Some Exercise
Moving around during work hours can help you be more productive. Build time into your schedule to exercise. Do some stretches. Take a ten-minute walk. Movement helps clear your head. It also eases fatigue and stiffness caused by sitting at a desk all day.
Grab a co-worker and take a brisk walk. You can talk over a work problem while you stroll. Start a fitness program that meets before or after work. Regular exercise improves overall health, which means fewer sick days.
One theory holds that employees should be paid to exercise at work. That’s because employees who can exercise at work are happier, more efficient, calm, and productive. Exercise increases blood flow which makes people feel invigorated and refocused. It improves concentration and problem-solving.
A small business can’t always provide gym facilities or memberships. There are other options. Yoga classes are a popular option that doesn’t require anything more than space and an instructor. Another choice is to give employees a short active break each day.
10. Hire the Right Employees
The best tip for productivity is to get the right person for the job. Don’t rush the hiring process. Assemble a team of passionate people excited about the work, and productivity will soar. If someone isn’t a good fit, end the relationship.
Delegate jobs. This shows employees you trust them. If a project is a good fit for a team member, give it to them. The added responsibility is motivating.
Value Your Employees
Show people you know who they are. Respect and value each employee’s contribution. Treat everyone as an individual. Be a good listener.
Everyone likes to be appreciated. You’ll boost employee morale with genuine acknowledgments of effort. Write a thank you note, give a gift, or praise people in public. Show people you notice and care to boost productivity and motivation.
Whether your thanks is private or a public announcement, make sure everyone knows you recognize hard work. Consider incentives like extra time off, a team lunch, or happy hour to keep staff engaged.
If your team is working on a complex or difficult project, plan regular breaks to prevent burnout.
Clear communication always increases productivity. Be transparent with employees so they understand and trust you. Explain what is expected and why. It will improve communication.
Give regular feedback on work. Let employee’s know how and when performance is measured. Give encouraging feedback. If someone needs help in a certain area, explain why and provide instruction.
Gain Productivity at Work
The best way to increase productivity is to work smarter, not longer. If you or your employees are tempted to work longer hours to finish tasks, don’t. Take a closer look ways to change conditions for a more productive workday.
Productivity isn’t a pipe dream. When you add these tips into your routine, you’ll enjoy higher productivity at work.