It’s no secret that a well-run office can save businesses money, but what about the ways in which an office can be more productive? According to a study, businesses could save up more annually if employees were just 1% more productive. That number is staggering, and it’s something that we should all be striving for in our own lives. But how do you become 1% more productive? It all starts with your daily routine.
- Nix the Noise
Whether it’s your neighbor’s loud music or the sound of traffic outside your window, noise can be extremely distracting. Before you even sit down at your desk each morning, take some time to ensure you’re working in an environment that facilitates productivity. Try using earplugs if outside noises are too much for you to handle, and use headphones with white noise apps if there is a specific type of background noise that helps you concentrate.
- Stick to Your Schedule
It seems simple enough, but one of the best ways to improve your productivity is by sticking to a schedule. As mundane as it may seem, spend 15 minutes at the beginning of each day scheduling out how you’ll use your time during work hours. This will help you avoid the all-too-common tendency to work on things as they come up, which can often lead to procrastination.
- Prioritize Your Tasks
Once you’ve laid out exactly how your day will look, it’s time to prioritize the most important tasks to you. Many people assume that working harder or longer is the best way to become more productive, but what you really should be focusing on is efficacy (efficiency + effectiveness). That means getting more done in less time by prioritizing certain tasks over others. Use a list of daily goals and review it first thing each morning so that nothing falls through the cracks mid-day.
- Take Advantage of Tiny Breaks
With so many distractions in the office, it’s often hard to get any real work done. But taking even just five minutes to clear your head can relieve some of that stress and help you refocus on the task at hand. And when you’re short on time, small breaks like this are even more valuable—that’s why Evernote created its Micro-Moments feature that gives users two-minute breaks every couple of hours for free.
- Shop Online
Staying productive during lunch doesn’t come easy for most people, but making a list before leaving home or work can make things easier. Whether your goal is to eat healthily or cut back on spending (or both), avoid the temptations of restaurants by planning out your meals ahead of time.
- Create a Routine
Have you ever heard that saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” Well, neither was your potential for productivity. Take some time at the beginning of each week to plan out how you’ll spend your days and work on achieving weekly goals. This will help you become more productive without feeling overwhelmed or frantic about having so much to do.
- Wake Up Earlier
If waking up an hour early and getting in a workout session sounds like something you’d never be able to pull off, think again. Whether it’s through creating an effective morning routine or using an Open-Office Clock, taking back control over your wake-up time is easier than you think. And if you’re not a morning person, think about how much you could get done if you had that extra hour to yourself.
- Take a Vacation
This one doesn’t exactly seem like it would help improve your productivity, but it would. According to a study done by the Project: Time Off Initiative, people who take vacations are actually more productive when they return to work. This is because time away from work allows employees to refresh and come back with new ideas. So go ahead and book that trip you’ve been wanting—you may be surprised at just how much more productive you become.
- Maintain a Cool Temperature
As much as we love AC, it can spell disaster for your productivity. By nature, humans are wired to want to reduce their physical temperature in hot weather and increase it in cold weather, making us more likely to take a break when temperatures rise outside. So if you’re looking to get the most out of your day, keeping a cooler office environment is key. Faulty air conditioners might need some AC tune-up service to get them running at their best again.
- Take Regular Breaks
And while we’re on the topic of breaks, make sure not to skimp on them. Research has shown that taking regular breaks during work hours helps improve concentration levels and allows employees to live happier lives by taking better care of themselves. In fact, two 15-minute rests every hour allowed workers to retain 95% of their focus.
Although becoming more productive may seem like an impossible task, following these ten tips can help make it a reality. Implement just one or two of these changes into your daily routine and see how they work for you. And who knows? You might be 1% more productive by this time next year.