POV: you’ve finished all the tasks you planned for today, and you can take some time for yourself.

Oh, doesn’t it feel good? Research shows that productivity and happiness at work are strongly correlated: ticking all the boxes from your to-do list keeps you energized and motivated. The positive impact of staying productive is visible in your overall mood, business results, and profits. 

I’ve gathered some great tips that you can introduce into your daily routine to stay effective at work and, as an effect, spend less time working.

For some, staying hyper-productive may influence mental health and cause stress, anxiety, or even depression. Make sure to balance productivity and self-care, and stay empathetic towards your colleagues. 

How can you improve productivity at work?

I know that reading about productivity is far from actually incorporating all these habits into your daily routine. But here’s a challenge to help you kick off: read this article till the end without checking your phone even once ;) Putting away your mobile is step one towards a more productive work routine. Now, here’s what else you can do:

1. First things first: set up priorities

If you tend to miss deadlines or postpone your least-liked tasks, you should get used to setting up priorities. Decide which duties are the most urgent and start your workday with them. For example, perhaps your most urgent duty is reaching out to clients via business texting. In this way, you’ll avoid missing out on what truly matters. 

Here’s a video that metaphorically explains why starting your day from less important tasks can spoil your workflow and even impact your work-life balance: 

2. This meeting could’ve been an email: limit the number of meetings

You know the feeling, right?

While meetings are an integral part of any business, they’re frequently obstacles to making the most out of your workday. Before you set up a meeting or accept an invitation, think about the following aspects:

  • Is this a topic that requires a real-time conversation at all? If you don’t expect further discussion, think about messaging all the stakeholders instead of organizing a meeting. 
  • Is your presence necessary? If there’s little that you could contribute to the discussion and a lot of other stuff on your schedule – apologize kindly and don’t hesitate to reject the invitation. 
  • If a meeting seems necessary, prepare a plan and stick to the schedule. Set a goal for the discussion and ensure you and the other participants are sticking to the main topic of the conversation. 

3. Sharing is caring: delegate tasks

Work isn’t a one-person show. I dare say that there are tasks that you can delegate or outsource from third-party agents. 

  • If specific assignments can be completed without your input, split them between your team members. They’ll take care of the tasks that would otherwise take time away from your more important projects.
  • Outsource services that are too time-consuming if performed in-house. For example, if finding new clients requires hours of research and outreach, consider outsourcing this task to lead generation agencies or freelancers. 
  • Automate some aspects of your work: there are plenty of solutions that you can use to cut down the time you usually dedicate to manual work. Some examples include Facebook automated messages, automated reports, or lead qualification.

4. Set the pace: use a project management tool

Let’s face it: a notebook and a pen aren’t proper management tools. They may be helpful for a couple of quick notes but: 

  • You can’t share your hand-written plan with your team. It means you can’t assign tasks to others, and they can’t assign tasks to you. 
  • You can't track progress if a project requires input from several parties. 
  • You don’t receive notifications if you forget about a task from last week that you’ve just not had the time to do.
  • There’s no search bar. It’s tedious to keep track of the task history in your notebook and find the information about your previous projects. 

But a good project management software has you covered in all of the cases described above. It can save you from missed deadlines and inefficient workflows – which we all dread. 

5. Out of sight, out of mind: minimize notifications

While writing this article, my email client and Slack tabs were closed – without receiving notifications every other minute, I could focus on one task at a time. 

For the same reason, it’s essential to put your phone away and let your team know that you’re temporarily unavailable. 

Here’s what you can do to minimize notifications and other distractions: 

  • Set up the “I’m trying to focus!” status on Slack; 
  • Send automatic replies to missed calls. Let people know you’ll call back;
  • Time block your schedule in the shared calendar;
  • Close the door to your office or use noise-canceling headphones.

6. Less is more: use the Pomodoro technique

In the 1980s, a student who struggled to focus on his assignments invented a new time management strategy known as the Pomodoro technique. The method applies the use of a timer; you first set it up for 20 minutes and dedicate yourself to a task for this period. Once the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break.

The Pomodoro method is a well-known procrastination-busting strategy that can help you combat distractions and do the tasks you’ve been avoiding for a long time. 

7. Be kind to your mind: accept slip-ups

Balance is key to anything that you do. Remember not to get too strict about maximizing productivity. Getting your tasks done quickly and efficiently should leave you with more time for yourself, not with anxiety.

Forgive yourself if you didn’t manage to complete all the tasks that you’d planned or became distracted. You’re not a robot; treat yourself with kindness.

Moreover, take breaks to ensure you’re keeping your mind fresh. If you like playing quick games of Solitaire like here or Sudoku, don’t hesitate to play them for a few minutes. It will help recharge you, allowing you to stay productive throughout the day. 

Organize yourself and grow your profits

Now, you’re just one step away from making the most of your workday, improving your performance, and gaining more time for yourself. Eliminate time thieves and incorporate these six simple productivity tips into your daily routine. 

And btw, how did you do with the don’t-check-your-phone-until-you-read-the-entire-article challenge?