Workplace Productivity Tactics

Jul 23, 2019 | Culture

In the pre-internet age, productivity was all about good time management. Intelligent planning was often all it took to accomplish everything on your to-do list and more. With the advent of email, social media and other technological distractions, the magnitude of incoming information has surpassed our capacity for consumption.

In today’s workplace, productivity is more about attention management than time management.

At MacPhie, we help organizations build high-performing teams, and we understand that maintaining high productivity plays a significant role in a team’s success. If you’re looking to supercharge your own productivity, here are four tips you can use to get started.

  1. Enhance Your Environment

Cleanliness is key. Before your start your productivity journey, you may want to spend a few minutes cleaning up. There’s a direct link between the cleanliness of your environment and your productivity. Try starting your day with a five-minute tidy to clear your space and mind before you begin working. 

Although it can be easiest and most impactful, cleanliness is just the beginning when it comes to building a productive work environment. If you’re able to, here are a few extra tricks you can use to enhance your workspace:

Temperature: Lower temperatures lead to less total output and significantly more errors. Ensure the temperature is set at a comfortable level or can be easily adjusted to suit the needs of those working.

Colour: Low-wavelength colors such as blue or green can lead to higher contentment and productivity, while red increases alertness and attention to detail. White walls can induce feelings of depression.

Change it up: The easiest thing to do to boost productivity when you just don’t want to do something is to change environment. When doing creative work, try switching locations to a new setting rather than your normal desk. Working from a coffee shop, or simply switching rooms can be an enormous help when you’re feeling stuck.

  1. Prioritize

Although productivity is mostly about attention management, it’s easy to misplace your attention if you don’t begin with prioritization. A simple way to think about prioritizing is through the Pomodoro Technique, described below.

Begin by making your to-do list the night before. This will reduce decision-fatigue in the morning and allow you to get right to work during your most productive time. A good to-do list should include something that’s important, but not urgent, so you continue to make progress on your long-term goals.

Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Your to-do list should include a maximum of six tasks, listed in order of priority. Estimate how long it will take to complete a task and try your best to finish in that that timeframe. You can block this time off in your calendar to help keep you accountable.

Work on one task at a time. Begin with the first task on your list and never jump to the next task before you complete the first. Work for 25 minutes without any distractions, take a 5-minute break, and repeat.

What about those tasks that don’t make the cut for your daily list? You can keep a longer running to-do list for these tasks which you can update continually and refer back to as you write your daily to-do’s.

  1. Attention Management

Productivity is not about how much you work, rather about how much you accomplish – “busyness” and “stress” are not synonymous with productivity.

The ideal state of mind for productivity is called flow. Flow is the elusive time where you’re completely absorbed in what you’re doing, and time passes very quickly. It sits between boredom and anxiety in your emotional scale, and often leads to personal growth and discovery.

To reach this state of mind, try setting yourself up for success by working in a clean, creative environment, and removing all distractions. It takes 64 seconds on average to resume a task after a distraction, and most people check their email within six seconds of getting a notification – making it impossible to truly achieve a productive mindset. If your job allows it, try turning notifications off when you’re attempting to find flow.

  1. Leverage Productivity Resources

Changing a behaviour is always easier when you have some help. Here are a few resources that you may find useful in establishing more productive habits:

Boomerang: Schedules the exact date and time you want to send an email or brings it to the top of your inbox if you don’t get a response within a certain time.

RescueTime: Helps you monitor and analyze where you’re spending your time online.

Evernote: A digital notepad stored in the cloud. You can also save pictures and voice recorded messages as notes.

Noisli: Mix different sounds and create your perfect environment to improve focus and boost your productivity.

We hope these tips help you rethink your approach to workplace productivity. Remember, it’s not about how much time you have in a day, but rather how effectively you plan and use that time.

What are some of your favourite productivity tips and tricks?

By: Jackie Muru and Marco Folino

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