Increase your productivity at work

by By Michelle Chin (mchin@sph.com.sg)
published on 30 June 2016

Make the most of your working hours by being more efficient and productive. 

Ms Heng Teng Teng, a career coach, said: "Productivity means being able to get more done within a shorter time, and making do with lesser resources at your disposal."

Adopt these tips to be more productive at work.

1. Begin with the end in mind

Be clear on what you want to achieve at the end of the day. It is important to be aware of your tasks and deadlines.

Put aside 10 minutes to 15 minutes at the start of each day to plan your day ahead. List down all the tasks you have to complete, and tackle those that are high priority.

Be flexible and adaptable to cope with competing deadlines and rapidly changing priorities.

2. Have a sense of purpose

Ms Heng suggested having goals in mind when you create your to-do list.

She said: "For example, you could aim to get better at handling customer complaints. And then create your task lists to hone this skill."

Having a clear idea of the skills you wish to improve on can spur you to work harder and achieve better standards of performance.

This added sense of motivation can also help you to think of new ways to look at your work processes, brainstorm for new ideas, or speed up problem-solving procedures.

3. Use your time wisely

Be focused and minimise distractions during working hours. Devote your full attention to your work and limit small talk with colleagues, as well as the time spent on checking your mobile devices.

You can make use of pockets of time available in between appointments or events, to work on plans for the next day, answering e-mails, or reading self-improvement books.

Ms Heng pointed out that working longer hours does not equate to productivity.

Allocate breaks strategically. When you work non-stop, your levels of focus and mental sharpness will decrease.

Take breaks periodically so that you can return to your tasks feeling alert and focused.

4. Being productive at home

Here are some tips for you to be productive if you are working from home.

Minimise distractions

Set aside a specific corner at home for work that is away from distractions.

Ms Heng said: "Create a conducive environment such as having a proper work desk. Organise this workstation to have your equipment and documents within reach. This can be useful for people who are easily distracted, as being organised can help them settle down fast and in a frame of mind ready for work."

Develop self-discipline

Ms Heng noted that having self-discipline and focus are key to helping you getting work done.

She said: "It also helps to be aware of your own working style.

“Draw a timetable or schedule including breaks such as lunch time. Inform your family members that you are working and to respect your schedule.”

Doing so can help you to concentrate and achieve your goals for the day.