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31 Productivity Tips

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31 Tricks That Might Just Get You Out Of The Office On Time

Who doesn’t want to get more done in less time?


For all the people who find that all the hours in the day aren’t enough to get done all the tasks on their to-do list, any trick to milk out of the day one more completed task is gold.


Drawing on the wealth of work management tips on the Talking Work Blog and the knowledge of other experts, we’ve amassed a list of 31 productivity tips so powerful, you just might leave the office on time…

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31 Productivity Tips

  1. 1. Productivity Tips 31 Tricks That Might Just Get You Out Of The Office On Time
  2. 2. Who doesn’t want to get more done in less time? For all the people who find that all the hours in the day aren’t enough to get done all the tasks on their to-do list, any trick to milk out of the day one more completed task is gold. Drawing on the wealth of work management tips on the Talking Work Blog and the knowledge of other experts, we’ve amassed a list of 31 productivity tips so powerful, you just might leave the office on time…
  3. 3. 1. Get a good night’s sleep
  4. 4. A lack of sleep is not correlated with an increase in productivity! Workers who logged 6 or less hours of sleep per night were significantly less productive than those who got 7-8 hours.
  5. 5. 2. Eat healthy food
  6. 6. “Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.” —Ron Friedman, “What You Eat Affects Your Productivity,” Harvard Business Review
  7. 7. 3. Drink water
  8. 8. One study found: Dehydrated workers saw a 12% decrease in their productivity. Workers with moderate dehydration saw impaired motor tracking, attention, and arithmetic efficiency. 23% reduction in reaction time when subjects were 4% dehydrated. Source: “Avoid dehydration in the workplace” by Mike Markovsky, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News
  9. 9. 4. Insist on receiving all of your requests in one place
  10. 10. “One way this could be done—since 63 percent of marketers still receive most work requests by email—is to create an alias email account, like workrequest@companyname.com. In addition, create a standard work request form that is customizable and is easily accessible. There will be an instant reduction in distractions from all the random requests and you will be able to find your entire to-do list in one place.” —Natalie Ward, Marketing Manager, Workfront
  11. 11. 5. Beware of “under-the-table” requests
  12. 12. Those little favors inevitably push out other stuff you were planning on getting done. Either: you end up burning the midnight oil to get caught up or your stuff ends up late and you look incompetent
  13. 13. “No more ‘quick favors’. No more drive-by requests. Think of tasks the way you think of financial transactions—nothing is allowed to happen off the books. Every single task must be documented and accounted for.” —Marcus Varner, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Workfront
  14. 14. 6. Set up clear priorities
  15. 15. Being productive is more than just getting stuff done; it’s about getting the most valuable stuff done. Consider these criteria for prioritizing: Alignment to company goals and strategy Rank of the requestor Due date of the request
  16. 16. 7. Connect your tasks to your goals
  17. 17. “We work a lot. We work more than ever before. We’re logging many more hours, processing mountains more email and other communications. We’re just DOING lots and lots more than ever before. But we’re less happy, less certain that we’re accomplishing our goals, and less sure of what we need.” —Chris Brogan, CEO, Owner Media Group
  18. 18. “What you’re doing today impacts what you’ll accomplish this week. Bucket up all the todays into a month, and then stack twelve of these up, and what you did TODAY reflects on your full year.” —Chris Brogan, CEO, Owner Media Group
  19. 19. 8. Say no
  20. 20. “Of course, no one likes to have conflict in the workplace, especially when it comes to higher-ups, or perhaps worse, clients and customers. The last thing you want is to damage a business relationship. However, it's easy to forget that can also happen if you say ‘yes' to everything. Sometimes pushing back is necessary for the benefit of the company—and your team's sanity.” —Heather Hurst, Director of Corporate Marketing, Workfront
  21. 21. 9. Stop multitasking
  22. 22. “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.” —Adam Gorlick, “Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows,” Stanford News
  23. 23. “Multitasking rarely works, despite what nearly everyone says. When you multitask, you simply accomplish each task less effectively. Your brain tries to switch back and forth between different tasks, and a significant part of your day is lost.” —Brand Turner, “4 Productivity Tips That Changed My Life This Year,” Entrepreneur
  24. 24. 10. Establish “no-interruption” time
  25. 25. When asked what would do the most to boost their productivity, 25% of office workers said uninterrupted blocks of time. Source: “2016-17 U.S. State of Enterprise Work Report,” Workfront
  26. 26. “You may not have an office, but you have the ability to show everyone around you’re busy. Put on a set of headphones—even if you don’t listen to anything—to visibly queue your colleagues you’re focused and shouldn’t be bothered. If someone approaches you, politely ask them to come back at the end of your work meeting with yourself. They’ll get used to letting you do your work.” —Jason Falls, Digital Strategist & Keynote Speaker
  27. 27. 11. Create a productivity-optimized workspace
  28. 28. You’ve hopefully discovered your productivity sweet spot, those ideal work conditions where you can focus your attention like a laser beam and fly through tasks like a bullet train. Know what your sweet spot looks like, understand how each component affects your productivity, and to optimize your workspace accordingly.
  29. 29. 12. Ditch the open workspace
  30. 30. One study on open-offices found: Most workers were frustrated by the effect of constant distractions on their performance Half took issue with the lack of sound privacy 30% complained about the lack of visual privacy Source: Jungsoo Kim, “Workspace satisfaction: The privacy-communication trade-off in open-plan offices,” Journal of Environmental Psychology
  31. 31. “While employees feel like they’re part of a laid-back, innovative enterprise, the environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.” —Lindsey Kaufman, Writer, The Washington Post
  32. 32. 13. Work from home
  33. 33. A recent Stanford study found: 10% of U.S. workers work from home Their performance levels have increased by 13%
  34. 34. 14. Or from the library or the coffee shop
  35. 35. Noisy kids or roommates at home? Coffee shops, libraries, and other wifi-connected public places provide suitable replacement workspaces.
  36. 36. 15. Think outside the 9-5
  37. 37. The most productive times for most workers happen before most offices are even open and then pick up after 5pm.
  38. 38. 16. Organize your work stuff in one place
  39. 39. 60% of marketers have six to 15 or more software programs open on the computers at any given time. Source: “A Day in the life of a Marketer Survey,” Workfront
  40. 40. “Use a central calendaring and project-management tool to keep yourself on track...Make sure that that whatever system you use syncs everything (your calendar, meetings, travel, To Do, and tasks) in one place. A bonus is being able to track your time and manage resources.” —Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
  41. 41. 17. Take time to communicate at the beginning
  42. 42. “On average, 30-35% of project time in marketing is spent on rework, including revisiting decisions, waiting for approvals, redoing work, and correcting errors. Make it a point to start your work with clear and collaborative communication among your team, clients, and execs. Work together to create a clear communication plan. Everyone needs to know how to share details about a project and clear deadlines to work toward.” —Natalie Ward, Marketing Manager, Workfront
  43. 43. 18. Invest in templates
  44. 44. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to work on a project. You can build templates for your most recurring types of work. Templates also ensure you’re consistently covering all of your bases and applying best practices.
  45. 45. 19. Schedule everything
  46. 46. “Enter a calendar item at the beginning and/or end of every day to review your calendar entries. While this may seem like an unnecessary or redundant step to take, remember, you're dealing with you—someone who can't stay organized or on-task. Forcing yourself to follow a schedule that includes reviewing your schedule is going to help you break the mold and actually know your schedule.” —Jason Falls, Digital Strategist & Keynote Speaker
  47. 47. 20. Aggregate your admin time
  48. 48. Email, phone calls, and excessive meetings are sucking away your precious time.
  49. 49. “During the day, I never answer my phone unless it is a scheduled call I am expecting. If people don’t leave a message, I just saved myself time and aggravation. During the lunch hour and in the evening, I will spend an hour or so on email, social media content, and phone calls … [I]f you are a slave to all of the messaging coming at you, productivity will slide.” —Mark Schaefer, Author, Blogger & Social Media Marketing Strategy Consultant
  50. 50. 21. Do the hard thing second
  51. 51. “Ease into your weekday by doing one easy work thing first, then immediately launch into the Hard Thing (the thing that requires the think). Key here is actually putting that Hard Thing second, though—not third or fourth or fiftieth. Taking this approach creates some momentum and sets you on the path toward accomplishment. Which is what you want, because the Overlord of Momentum is the mortal enemy of that scoundrel Robber-Baron, Procrastination.” —Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
  52. 52. 22. Take breaks
  53. 53. “Use train time, bus time or queuing time for thinking or unwinding, rather than using it for yet another ten minutes of information overload. You’ll feel less frantic if you take these opportunities for time out as they’re offered.” —Francis Booth, Contributor, Forbes
  54. 54. 23. Use a meeting agenda
  55. 55. If you’re going to be more productive, you’ve got to cut down on meetings and rein in the ones you can’t get out of. Your best bet here is a meeting agenda.
  56. 56. 24. Limit meeting time
  57. 57. “People generally don't need as much time as they ask for...Meetings are time vampires. Be ruthless in managing this endemic productivity drain so you can focus on high value tasks.” —Bruna Martiuzzi, President & Founder, Clarion Enterprises
  58. 58. 25. Limit phone notifications
  59. 59. Make sure none of your devices are set to ping you when new messages come in.
  60. 60. 26. Track your time
  61. 61. “A creative team that doesn't track time is a creative team that has little visibility into its productivity and efficiency.” —Sam Petersen, Marketing Manager, Workfront
  62. 62. 27. Set up data-driven deadlines
  63. 63. You can’t pull this off consistently without some data gathering on your past performance: Time tracking Accurate documentation of your workflow for your common request types
  64. 64. 28. Tame that review and approval phase
  65. 65. A content marketer survey found: For 65% of content marketers, the approval process sets back projects 3 days or more Source: “2015 Content Marketing World Survey,” Workfront
  66. 66. Apply some structure to the approval phase: Establish the exact numbers of review cycles with stakeholders Establish the dates by which those cycles will be completed Hold stakeholders accountable to those dates
  67. 67. 29. Automate wherever you can
  68. 68. Manual work probably makes up a big portion of your work. The host of tools out there that can automate much of that work for you.
  69. 69. 30. Get objective about productivity
  70. 70. The numbers don’t lie. They can reveal strengths and weaknesses we didn’t know we had. They can highlight opportunities for improvement that would’ve otherwise flown under the radar. If we’re really serious about improving our productivity we’ve got to get down to the actual numbers of: how much we produce in a given time frame how long it takes where we tend to falter
  71. 71. 31. Be ready for cultural pushback
  72. 72. Productivity needs a champion in every office. But also realize that productivity can’t be forced. Focus on making incremental changes that will increase your and your team’s productivity over time.

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