Date published 30/01/2018  Written by Rachel @ DataKom

6 killer ways to improve productivity at work

When you are fully concentrating at work, sometimes your productivity can be hindered, and you can face a creative slowdown.

My job role as Marketing Executive involves a wide range of activities. I experience writer’s block, creative block and mental block. It’s inevitable, but it’s what you do in the situation that really matters.

There is no magic solution but there are many actions you can take to help.

Here are 6 ways I like to keep my workflow on track:

Remember your goals

It can be easy to lose focus. simply having a list of your annual, monthly and even weekly objectives on hand can keep you on the right track. Research suggests that individuals can improve their work performance by as much as 25%, from setting goals.

Failing to evaluate your goals is the easiest way to let ourselves fall off track and we hold ourselves accountable when we don’t achieve them. But the more we tell ourselves what we want to achieve, the more likely we are to take action.

Take a few seconds to think about what the end goal is and what you are trying to achieve. Focus on the feeling of accomplishment after reaching the finishing line. The practice of this encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives.

Prioritise workload

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with a heavy workload, I prioritise which tasks need to be completed first. Identifying the urgent projects ensures I’m not missing important deadlines, resulting in reduced pressure.

It is good practice to accurately prioritise work on a daily basis and estimate how long each task will take to complete.

Prioritisation is the foundation of excellent time management. It ensures that your working time is being spent on the essential activities. However, uncertainty and change are the nature of working life - your priorities can change, and often when you least expect them to.

The most common downfall is failing to differentiate between important and urgent tasks. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that 90% of managers wasted valuable time through poor time management.

Switch tasks

I can sometimes feel fatigued after spending a long time on a specific task, so it can help to change activity to another area. According to research from neuroscientists, fatigue doesn’t require rest, it needs a fresh task.

I’m not suggesting multi-tasking and it can depend on the nature of your work. For example, if I have finished writing a blog piece, I will come back to proofread it later on in the day. This way I am refocused when I’m evaluating the written work with a fresh set of eyes.

By switching gears, you can stay in a focused headspace without becoming mentally fatigued.

Minimise distractions

Distractions are everywhere. Working on a computer, there is always the temptation to check your social media accounts or look at adorable puppy GIFs. Set boundaries, if the office gets busy, try to zone out or if you're constantly distracted by email notifications then turn them off, to be able to fully concentrate on the task at hand.

David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute believes it is possible to develop skills of mental focus, learn strategies to avoid distraction, and find ways to decrease interruptions from others.

You can practice concentration by turning off all distractions and committing your attention to a single task. Start small, maybe five minutes per day, and work up to larger chunks of time. If you find your mind wandering, just return to the task at hand. It’s just like getting fit, you have to build the muscle to be focused."

Take a break

If it all gets too much I find it helps to walk away from my computer for 5 minutes and make a coffee.

Breaks are simply the best way to prevent work burnout. The good news is that breaks actually help you to get back on track. It improves sharpness, focus and motivation.

Dr James Levine told the New York Times, “Breaks in work improves effectiveness and productivity because the thought process is not designed to be continuous. It needs as much of a break as the rest of your body”.

However, it must be emphasised that there are times when it makes no sense to take a break. “One of those times is when you are in the zone. Being in the zone is characterised by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself. Simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity”.

Up to date technology

Using communication systems that are tailored towards the needs of a business all help streamline processes. Fibre broadband, content management systems, and secure cloud-based services all assist companies in staying organised and efficient.

Businesses with a modern phone system benefit from many features such as call routing, call management and smartphone integration – all helping provide a well-organised service.

My handset has all my key contacts programmed to flex keys. These are programmable buttons on the handset used for direct dial, so making contact is instant and time-saving.

Fast broadband ensures I can quickly get online when needed and easy access to emails. Cloud-based office suites like Office 365 provides useful applications, file sharing, flexibility and mobility.

How Datakom can help businesses upgrade their communications

We specialise in telephone systems (premise-based & cloud-hosted), business broadband, leased lines, business mobiles, and cloud services. We also offer VOIP and powerful call management software. Our experts can advise on upgrading to the latest telecom technology that’s best suited to your business.