How to Be More Productive at Work: A Basic Guide

For many people, better productivity represents a goal that always seems out of reach. Yet, in an ironic twist, most people only average about three hours of actual productive work in an eight-hour shift. When you see such a disconnect between apparent goals and results, it typically means your approach to work productivity doesn't work for you.

If that's the case, it leaves you with the question of how to be more productive at work. Despite that dreadful statistic above, it is possible for you to boost your overall productivity. Keep reading for our guide to being more productive.

Skip the Multitasking

Despite people's claims that they're more productive when they multitask, all the evidence suggests they're wrong. The key here is that almost no one actually multitasks. They switch between tasks, such as talking on the phone for a moment, then typing an email, then talking again.

Switching between tasks comes with a cognitive cost that reduces your productivity. Your brain basically has to reboot after each switch. So, instead of getting more done, you ultimately end up doing both tasks less effectively.

Limit Distractions

You are surrounded by distractions these days. You get email alerts on your computer, text messages on your phone, and coworkers stop you to ask a question. One key to modern productivity is for you to find ways to limit those distractions.

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For example, you can mute alerts on your phone and computer. You can also tell colleagues that you only check your email twice a day, so they won't expect automatic replies. If possible, shut your door to discourage people from stopping to talk about non-work matters.

Organize Tasks

Some people hit their stride first thing in the morning and get progressively less productive over the day. Others hit their stride in the late morning or early afternoon. Pay attention to when you reach peak work efficiency. 

Then, schedule your most important tasks for those periods of the day. If you don't know, try doing your most difficult tasks first thing and see how it goes.

Don't Get Fooled by False Productivity

Another of the big productivity tips is for you not to mistake activity for productivity. Shooting off emails all morning can make you feel like you accomplished a lot, but were those crucial emails or busywork?

Pin down the essential tasks and prioritize them in your day.

Figuring Out How to Be More Productive at Work

Figuring out how to be more productive at work is not an all-or-nothing process. Some strategies will work great for you, some will prove less effective. When you try out a range of different options, though, you will find tips that work for you.

Lean in to those approaches and you'll see your work productivity improve. Put together four or five effective strategies and you'll see major improvement.

Trying to boost performance on your side hustle as well? Check out some of the class offerings on this site to find ways you improve performance there as well.

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