Habits to Learn and Unlearn to Be More Productive
Productivity is a popular word in today’s office environment. People are proud to be described as productive. That said, keep in mind that there is a great difference between being busy and being productive. People who are very productive do not always appear to be busy. Instead, they develop habits that allow them to get their work done without having to run from meeting to meeting or to appear stressed.
To be productive, you need to act out of habit instead of continuously thinking about your actions. Here are some habits to learn or unlearn in order to be more productive:
1. Plan your day
The first ten minutes you spend at your desk should be used to plan your day. Create a to-do list and prioritise all the items on the list. Pay attention to any meetings or discussions you need to have that day. If you do this, you will find that you are much more focused and relaxed throughout the day, because you will not need to rush through your tasks.
2. Measure the results, not the time
Being productive does not always mean that you work very fast. Instead, productivity refers to completing tasks of high quality in a timeous manner. When you look back at what you did during the day, focus on the amount of work you have finished instead of the amount of time you spent doing it. However, if you realise that you are taking too long on simple tasks, you should speak to your manager or supervisor about improving your skills in order to be more productive.
3. Avoid social media, news sites, and human-interest sites
Many companies have policies against using the internet for any personal reasons. However, this point is relevant even on your personal cell phone. Checking social media, news sites, or human-interest sites (such as 9Gag or Reddit) on a regular basis will decrease your productivity greatly. Your mind will not remain focused on the tasks at hand.
4. Leave the office space for lunch
Many people eat lunch at their desks in order to keep working. While they might feel productive at the time, research has indicated that this practice can have negative effects on productivity later during the day. Your mind and body need time to relax. Rather have your lunch in a cafeteria, or outside on a bench if the weather permits. You will be more productive during the afternoon this way.
5. Do not check your work unnecessarily
If you are new in a position, or if you are simply doing new work, it is good to proofread or check your work more than once. However, as you grow more experienced in your position and tasks, you need to start trusting yourself to not make mistakes. It is good to check your work once after completion, but do not recheck it several times. You will be wasting time you could have spent completing other tasks. Rather trust that you would have identified a mistake with the first check. If accuracy is an important part of your job, ask someone else to check the work as well.
Always remember that each person works at their own pace. You should not compare the speed at which you work with that of your colleague. Rather measure your productivity against your goals to determine whether you need to learn or unlearn any habits.