This is part three of our blog series on “how to improve productivity at work”. In the first blog, we shared a few crucial time management tips and tricks that will enable you to enhance your productivity. In the second part, we explored the various ways you can eliminate distractions at work and get your job done.
In this final part, we discuss how being aligned to organizational goals can help you focus on attaining your personal goals and improving your productivity.
Drive success and productivity by aligning with organization vision
Many people struggle to achieve results at work because they have no clear goals set. Goals should not be defined by the number of hours worked, or be based on purely individual objectives, rather, they should contribute to achieving an organization-wide vision. Having your own personal goals that are not aligned with your company will cause you to spend time on (what should be) lower priority tasks.
However, having a unified company vision and direction will enable you to focus on the most important individual and team goals that support that vision.
“The key to being productive at work is alignment. If you are aligned with your manager and know what he or she expects of you, and if your work is aligned with meeting your team’s goals, it becomes easier to prioritize what needs to get done. Time and time again, I see employees doubling up on work, or spending too much time on projects that don’t matter, simply because they don’t know what their peers are working on or why their work matters. To be productive, have open conversations about what is being done cross-functionally, and work with your manager to understand what he or she sees as top priority, so you can eliminate other tasks that distract you from being productive.” — Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks
Stay focused by rewarding yourself
You may already know that our average attention span has dropped to about 8 seconds! (That’s why those 6-second TikTok videos are so popular and addictive). And, as discussed in the first blog in this series, our ability to stay focused on a particular task ranges in time from about 18 to 52 minutes.
Staying focused in today’s digital environment, where we have so many distractions, can be highly challenging. However, you can motivate yourself to stay focused and succeed in completing your task by adopting a two-step approach of breaking down big tasks into sub-tasks and rewarding yourself as you complete each of them.
Create a realistic view of your ultimate goal. Then, pick a few milestones on your journey to achieving your overall goal. For example, if you need to create a presentation for a meeting, you might break down the process into four steps:
- Research the topic and create an outline
- Fill in the outline with relevant data points, key message bullet points, and conceptual images and graphics
- Design and/or select effective final images and graphics
- Do a final review
Treat yourself to a small reward when you reach each of your milestones – this boosts your self-confidence; keeps you energized and pushes you to look forward to the next project.
“Want laser focus? Look for three parts of focus that create that state: 1) Strategic focus: clarity of purpose and objectives; 2) Mental focus: positive thoughts and self talk that keeps us from sabotaging ourselves; and lastly, 3) Attention of focus: total presence in the moment to perform the steps needed in the moment. If we don’t achieve 1) and 2), we are not able to access our full attention in the moment and can be easily distracted. The biggest gains in productivity are not from tools but from our mindset and how we manage our personal energy.” — Penny Zenker, author of The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time
Track the time spent on tasks
With long-term projects, it is easy to get tired and stray from work more often than required. To improve focus and productivity, it can help to track the time spent on your activities.
Analyze how much time you take to accomplish a task. Work to become more efficient and push yourself to bring the average time down over a period of two or three weeks (as per your limitations) without affecting the quality of your work.
Use time-tracking applications to limit the time you spend on social media or anything that doesn’t involve work. Applications like Focusme or RescueTime help you discover your work habits and enable you to improve them.
Transforming yourself to become highly productive may take time, but can make a big difference in both your success at work as well as giving you some time back in the day for personal time.
The more productive you are at work, the more time you have to do other things you like, for example, spending your holidays with your family, rather than working to try to “catch up.”
Learn more about improving your productivity by reading our infographic — 3 Tips for IT Professionals to Manage Work Without Sacrificing Christmas Holidays.
*The above quotes are from the Inc. article 30 Experts Share Their Best Productivity Tips.