6 tips to increase workday productivity

By Michelle Leyo (LinkedIn), governor at large, NTEA Generation Next

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of Generation Next Edition.

Need a boost in your daily productivity? In today’s world, it’s easy to get distracted during the workday, but I have found a few ways to help manage the distractions and increase productivity. These “rules” or “best practices” are what I have found to be the most helpful in keeping my workday on track.

  1. Declutter your workspace. Many studies have shown that clutter is distracting! Clear your workspace and organize your desk in such a way where the items used the most frequently are easily reachable, and place those items not used regularly in a filing cabinet or drawer. Less is truly more when it comes to a clear workspace!
  2. Routine. This one takes a little more discipline because it involves figuring out a daily schedule that works for you. Pay attention to the times during the day where you feel the most energized and schedule the tasks that require the most energy and attention during those times. On the other side of this is to schedule lower energy tasks (email follow up, administrative tasks) for the times of the day when your energy is low. Also, if you can, try to avoid scheduling meetings or calls during your high energy times. Knowing your energy cycles and being disciplined on how you utilize them will create a routine you can stick with.
  3. Time blocking. This can be done before you complete #2 but should be adjusted accordingly to help you maximize your time. Once you find your best focus times, block out your schedule to complete high energy tasks. Using your calendar to plan out your daily tasks and focused worktime can help you stay on track. (Bonus would be to limit your cell phone time by using time limits on apps that are known distractions.) Schedule time to check your email (unless your job has emails that are time-critical) and stick to it! This helps to keep you from being pulled away from important tasks by the “ping” of email notifications.
  4. Take brain breaks. This may sound counterintuitive, but taking a few short breaks during your workday can truly help you become more productive. For these breaks, the key is to get away from your workspace and move your body. These breaks may look different for an introvert vs an extrovert, as each type refuels differently. If you are an extrovert taking a break to catch up with a friend or a coworker would be ideal, whereas an introvert may just need some quiet time alone. Take a short walk outside, get up and stretch, or if you have the time, get in a quick workout. Movement or exercise even for 5-10 minutes can be very effective in helping you recharge. When you’re done, quickly tidy your workspace and be ready to engage.
  5. Nurture habits that serve you. Be mindful of your daily habits, categorize them as beneficial or disruptive, and focus on repeating the beneficial ones and limiting those that disrupt your productivity. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all task – we are all wired differently and making changes, practicing them, and readjusting to what works best takes time. Be patient and just keep going.
  6. Plan for the next day. This seems simple enough, but it is a task that many people skip. Take five minutes at the end of each day to clear your workspace and make a quick to-do list of the top three tasks for the next working day. Make sure that your list ranks the items in order of priority, and possibly block off a time on your calendar to schedule them in. This will help you to start your day focused and productive.

I hope these can help you add more productivity to your day.

Do you use any best practices that are not on this list?  I’d love to hear them! Comment in the Gen Next Facebook Group or LinkedIn Group with your productivity hacks.

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