We all have lulls in productivity at work which can result in a decline in our work ethic. After working an 80-hour week, it’s inevitable that you might feel less productive the following week. Work ebbs and flows, and prioritizing is important when you’re overloaded with work in order to remain productive.
While being productive and hard-working is something that comes from the work and study habits you had growing up, the wrong job or company can also have an impact on how much you get accomplished. Feeling good about the projects you complete is necessary, as it will affect your self-esteem, personal relationships, and professional reputation both inside and outside your organization.
Employers can only do so much to encourage productivity and efficiency by offering promotions, bonuses and recognition. Ultimately, it is up to the employee to realize the incentives and benefits of staying on-task and focused, regardless of the job or company. It’s also up to you to manage your own career — while your supervisor or mentor may help in this aspect, it’s ultimately something that only you can do.
So how does one get the most out of an eight-hour work day?
1. Turn off personal social media sites if you’re not managing them: There is no question that social media is here to stay. It does wonders for companies, brands and individuals looking to get their message and product heard.
However, when at work employees should not be logging onto the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn unless for company purposes. Unless it is a part of your job, personal social media accounts have no place in an office environment.
A few minutes adding colleagues on LinkedIn or tweeting about the new restaurant down the street can easily turn into hours of unnecessary browsing and stalking. Even logging into a personal email account takes you away from valuable work time and will keep you from being productive at work. This also includes personal phone calls, text messages and online shopping.
2. Set personal goals: While most employees are given goals and deadlines by supervisors, many do little to create their own hopes for their place in the company. One may aspire to become the Senior Vice President at some point, but very rarely does an employee take the time to think about their strategy for moving up within a company.
It is important to make concrete personal goals that are written down and followed to the best of one’s ability. It may take time and seem frivolous, but the vision your supervisor has for you may differ from what you are hoping to achieve. Sharing your goals with co-workers is also a great way to gain ideas, collaborate, and build your professional reputation to gain recognition.
3. Plan ahead: We all work differently. Some people are most productive in the mornings and tend to turn off a little bit after lunch. Others cannot seem to open their eyes before 11 a.m. and need to recharge at lunch to get anything worthy accomplished during the day. It is important for employees to know themselves well enough and plan their day accordingly. If you are best in the morning, get in before you are expected and complete the most demanding and difficult tasks first. Leave administrative and organizational work for later as it will not require the same amount of brain power.
4. Excuse yourself: While carbon copying everybody and their best friend on an email is not the end of the world, having extra participants in meetings and conference calls adds valuable time to unproductive hours at work. If you identify a meeting where you will not contribute or learn from, speak up and tell your supervisor you are trying to get a project completed and would rather work through the meeting. Your supervisor will appreciate your honesty and you will save yourself from lot of unproductive hours.
What changes have you made to improve efficiency at your workplace?