Five Productivity-Saving Tips To Give You A Leg Up In The Workplace

For many of us, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. We’re constantly stressed, constantly scrambling to get more done in less time. There’s a better way. The problem isn’t that we need to work harder - it’s that we need to work smarter. Here are a few ways to do just that.  

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wished that you could stop (or at least slow) time. Because there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Because no matter what you do, your work keeps piling up.

See, for most of us - entrepreneurs and office workers alike - the problem isn’t that we aren’t working hard enough, or that we aren’t skilled enough. It’s that we aren’t being tactical enough with how we work. We aren’t applying our efforts intelligently, and our productivity is suffering for it.

There’s a better way. Today, we’re going to discuss a few steps you can take to improve your efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. Tips to help you work smarter, better, and faster - to help you ultimately get more done.

Use A Kanban Board

Have you ever used a post-it note to remind yourself of an important task? Have you ever forgotten about a critical deadline or meeting? Have you ever neglected one project in favor of several others?


If so, there’s a simple fix, and it’s called a kanban board - a visual management technique that allows you to prioritize tasks, track progress, and set easy reminders. Personally, I swear by Trello. It’s free, it’s dead-simple to use, and it integrates with a wide range of different calendar apps including Google Calendar and Outlook.  

Start Working Out

It’s no secret that people don’t get enough exercise nowadays. Obesity rates hit record numbers this year, and most people who aren’t obese are at least out of shape. If you want to be more efficient in the workplace, it’s time to get fit.


Look at it this way. Even if a computer boasts highly-efficient, state-of-the-art software, all that is for naught if it’s got faulty hardware. Your body is the same way - if you don’t take care of your physical health, your focus and productivity will drop through the floor.


Not only that, a quick bout of morning exercise - say, a half hour or so - is proven to improve productivity and reduce stress. Find something physical you enjoy doing, and get yourself into a routine. Combine that with a better diet, and you’ll be right on track.


If you can, it might even be worthwhile looking into getting yourself a standing or treadmill desk.

Take Breaks

One of my biggest flaws used to be that I’d get too engrossed in my work. I’d work myself to exhaustion, forgetting to eat and pausing only briefly for bathroom breaks. Sure, flow is amazing, and it definitely seemed like I was getting more done.


But after a certain point, I know for a fact that the quality of my work started to decline. I was getting less done, even though I was throwing myself into my career with abandon. Since those days, I’ve come to a realization.


It’s healthy to step away from your computer every once in a while - to give your body and mind a chance to recharge. After all, you wouldn’t be able to lift weights for a full eight hours without pause. Why expect to do the mental equivalent of that?


Do a bit of reading into productivity tactics like the Pomodoro Technique, the Flowtime Technique, or Focus Blocks. The trick is finding one that meshes with how you work and sticking to it.

Cut Out Unnecessary Notifications

Notifications kill our productivity - there’s no way to put that lightly. Even if we ignore a text or a Facebook message, the mere existence of it has been proven to interrupt our focus for up to a half hour. Knowing this, you might be tempted to shut off your phone entirely when you’re trying to work.


Unfortunately, this often has the opposite effect; many people, if their phone is off, will eventually start worrying about what they might be missing. In other words, you’ll end up just as distracted as if you left your device running. Not only that, radio silence might not be possible in many workplaces - what if a colleague needs to reach you?


What’s the solution, then?


Tweak your settings. See if you can set up a work profile on your device that allows you to block notifications for every app save those you need. Check your device on breaks - that’s your time to catch up on social media and the like.

Set Realistic Goals

At the start of each day, choose several tasks you absolutely need to finish. Focus your time and efforts on finishing them. If you complete them with time to spare, great - if not, you can at least be happy that you got your most important stuff done.


Beyond that, it’s important to understand your own limitations. A lot of people end up stressing out because they take on way more than they’re capable of handling. Learn what you can do, and learn to say no when you’re at your limit.

Closing Thoughts

These days, it seems like everyone’s constantly playing catch-up. Like being overworked and overwhelmed is at the core of having a career in the 21st century. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By learning to organize, prioritize, and engage in better self-care, you can give yourself a leg up in both the workplace and your personal life - you can take charge of your career, and get more done than you ever thought possible.

About the author

Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.


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