Work Smart, Not Hard: How to increase productivity


The age-old question begs: “How can I increase my productivity?”

Contrary to popular belief, many still believe in work hard not smart to increase productivity.

But it should be work smarter, not harder. It usually comes from people who manage to get a lot done in just a few hours.

For a lot of us, a single task can take a lot more time.

Some feel accomplished at the end of the workday, while others clock out disappointed, exhausted and overwhelmed.

So what do productive people do differently?

Productivity is a skill.

You can develop it like any other skills. The more practise it, the better you get.

There are ways to hack this latent power—

  • to get more done in less time,
  • build productive habits, and
  • beat procrastination.

Every employee should adopt the right techniques.

If you’re here to learn how to maximise the workflow and increase productivity, then you’ve come to the right article.

Single-Tasking For Productivity Improvement

A typical productivity issue is usually caused by doing too many things at once.

This is due to the wrong thinking that doing more can double the results.

But, it just doesn’t work like that.

Our mind doesn’t perform well when we jump from one task or activity to another.

Also, task switching leads to distractions, poor performance and no progress.

If you want to get things done and do a good job, you need to perform one task at a time and dedicate yourself to it entirely. Decide on what to do first, focus your full attention to it, and don’t leave it until it’s’s completed.

Break Big Projects Into Smaller Tasks

New projects often look scary and often are stressful.

That makes employees anxious. In particular, they will start thinking about failing even before they begin.

That leads to procrastination. Consequently, the stress compounds in a vicious cycle.

But in its essence, each project is a step-by-step process.

Each of these steps is tiny, simple, and we can always tackle over time.

We need to get on with the first step. Then the next, and so on.

Sit down and think the project through. Break larger tasks down into smaller actions.

Then, repeat until you have one clear and quick thing to do right away.

That makes the working process more manageable and faster.

Eliminate Distractions at Work

Distractions are all around us these days.

For instance,

  • Someone came in while you’re trying to focus
  • You receive a call, or a text came in
  • An email notification pings
  • Then, you have the urge to check the email or social media
  • finally, you start thinking about the next thing you’ll work on

And the list goes on.

All these get in the way of getting things done.

So they must be eliminated.

First of all, let others know when you’re starting to work on something important so that they won’t bother you. In some offices, having an earpiece on is a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

For better productivity, use software or tools to help you stay away from the Internet.

The hardest is to let go of random thoughts and clear your mind. You can think of it this way—you can always come back to them later.

Focus is something we learn over time.

One way to improve your focus is meditation.

For instance, try staying still for a couple of minutes in the morning or evening and focus on only one thought.

Of course, you’ll find it hard at first, but in time, it will get easier.

Before you know it, this ability will bleed into other aspects of your life, and you’ll be able to concentrate for more extended periods at work too.

It just takes a little discipline at the outset.

Brainstorm with Colleagues on Productivity Improvements

You’re not alone in this.

Others want to do their best and most productive work too.

Employers are usually ready to make the necessary changes when it comes to receiving better results.

So why not have a bi-weekly meeting where you can discuss productivity techniques, tools you’ve found that work, ideas, and more?

Take the reigns, and suggest it yourself–it’s a fair bet your boss hasn’t even considered this tactic.

Break the Boredom

Another reason for low productivity is monotony.

Everybody gets bored if we do the same thing daily, and nothing new or exciting happens.

Over time, we’ll lose motivation.

Consequently, it will lead to the completion of tasks hastily, regardless of the quality.

To change that, consider some of the following productivity tips.

  • Remind yourself of your “why.” Each task has a purpose. Define it and be aware of the benefits of completing it.
  • Ask to be given new projects. This will help you get out of your comfort zone and try new stuff.
  • Try doing the same work in a new way and track the results.
  • Have fun. Enjoying the process is critical here. Find ways to make your day at the office more pleasant so that you can stay motivated and consistent with your work.

These are some possible tips for doubling your productivity in no time.

But where do you go next?

Taking courses, reading books on the topic and doing research can help too.

There is much excellent advice on how to be more productive and efficient from experts out there.

If you desire to improve and make the most of each day, then you can also take the time to find the right resources and consume information on the topic.

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Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos Tay is the Senior Partner of Hatch Asia. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrength Coach and lead our executive search, coaching and expand our partnership development across the region.

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