What does success at the workplace mean for you? Being successful at the workplace should not mean dedicating your entire time to it and working endless hours to get tasks done. Highly successful people instead have strategies to use the time they work as efficiently as possible. This could imply changing behaviors and negative cycles that aren’t directly related to work performance, such as the implementation of regular exercises and stretches.
However, increasing your efficiency at work is much more powerful than investing more working hours, as studies have repeatedly proven the importance of taking breaks and time off. So, especially with people working increasingly from home, it might be interesting for you to learn about these 9 s . trategies from highly successful people to increase your overall performance at work
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Start Your Workday with a “Tough” Task
Are you used to dragging a task you feel insecure or uncomfortable with doing until the last minute? This is your reminder to change this behavior!
It is actually recommended from highly successful people to start your day with an especially tough task, as this will increase your overall performance. So, when you arrive at the office, you may want to make your second coffee first, but you’ll immediately begin working on an important, difficult task. That way, you’ll notice a shift from negative feelings of self-doubt and anxiety going along with such a task to positive feelings like a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and optimism. This will set your mood, energy, and focus for the whole day ahead of you!
How to do so best? Get used to creating and updating to-do lists. This allows you to not only see what’s ahead of you, but also what the difficult tasks on your agenda are. So, every day choose the hardest one to begin with!
2. Stop Multi-Tasking
Many of us are facing a variety of different tasks on a daily basis. However, mindlessly jumping from task to task and trying to get them done all at once does not often lead to the best outcome. It is much more efficient in the long term to focus on one task at a time. You’ll most likely notice that you’ll accomplish it in less time and to a better standard.
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3. Set (Reachable) Goals
It is important to set yourself goals for the day. This is best done with creating to-do lists. However, it is also important to stay realistic! It does not help to set unreachable goals in the morning when being full of energy just to get to the afternoon low and ending up with a feeling of frustration. Instead, why not break down big projects into smaller tasks and think realistically about what can be done in the day? The feeling of achievement each time you accomplish your set tasks will boost your overall attitude!
4. Time Blocking
One strategy which has proven to be effective for many is the well-known strategy of using time blocks. When planning your day at work, set specific time block frames which you dedicate to a certain task. This way, you consciously decide how to spend your valuable time. Plus, it will help you to stay focused as you have given yourself a deadline. This enables you to be better organized and to set breaks more strategically and efficiently. Depending on the task, it is best for many to set time blocks of 60 or 90 minutes.
Note: If you found time blocking to be effective for you, you might want to bring it to the next level and try the “Pomodoro Technique”.
5. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks – Strategically
It is well-known that breaks throughout the day are not only important for your personal well-being, but that they are absolutely essential. In fact, studies showed repeatedly that breaks can improve your emotional and physical health, improve your decision-making, increase creativity and productivity, restore motivation, and improve memory retention.
However, in order to make the best out of your busy day while taking advantage of breaks, it is important to make them strategically. Thus, the moment you notice that your concentration decreases, it is recommended to take a 20-minute break. If it’s not raining cats and dogs, it might be most beneficial to go for a walk as the fresh air will also help to regain focus. Or why not use the time for networking and joining colleagues for a cup of tea?
If anyone is complaining about you taking breaks from work, you can simply explain that short, strategically taken breaks will increase your overall productivity.
6. Limit Distractions
If it is difficult for you to stay focused, it might relieve you to read that this is actually a skill that can be trained and developed. It is necessary to limit distractions as much as possible, which means turning off notifications, switching off your phone, or even using external tools like productivity apps.
It can also help to use developed strategies like time blocking or the Pomodoro technique mentioned in point 4.
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7. Exercise and Stretch
Yes, we know, you’re busy and it is very hard to include regular workouts into your daily schedule. However, exercises are just a very efficient way of getting a super productivity boost! Don’t worry, no one expects you to do full on gym sessions at 5 in the morning! However, why not strategically set breaks throughout your day to do some light exercising or stretches.
The fact is, however, that regular exercise has shown to improve memory, concentration, mood, and creativity.
There are very efficient but short yoga workouts which you might want to give a try. If you want to take it slower in the beginning, why not just start taking your colleagues for a little walk during your breaks?
8. Leverage Your Team and Know When to Delegate
It is a common pattern to isolate yourself from the team, consciously or unconsciously, in order to be more productive and perform better. However, research has found that working with our colleagues and friends increases our productivity. That, however, should not be an invitation to chat all day long about the finale of the Bachelors!
Initiate coffee catch-ups during breaks, discuss important matters as a team, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and collaborate if you think it might lead to better results. It is also important to know when tasks can be delegated to team members, especially if you believe that it can be done better or quicker by a colleague. Don’t view delegating as offloading your workload to others, but rather as a way to increase overall efficiency.
9. End Your Day on a Productive Note
Yes, it is understandable that at the end of a long day at work you’d much rather treat yourself with some chocolate and hangout on social media, in your mind already imagining yourself on your sofa in front of the TV.
However, if you consider that you will carry your attitude at the end of the day into the next one, you’ll get an idea of how important it is to actually end your day on a productive note. If you constantly end your day lazy and thus start your next day with low energy, you’ll end up in an undesirable cycle.
So, it will improve your overall efficiency when considering this in your daily planning. Try to schedule some lower focus tasks in your late afternoon, as this is the time in which concentration is most likely to decrease. However, for the last hour, plan a rather tough task in which you’ll intentionally focus, have a healthy nut bar or apple as a snack to give you that extra energy, and end your day with a feeling of accomplishment you’ll carry through your whole week.
Finally, why not share your own productivity secret in the comment sections! Let’s discuss the best strategies!
See you soon,
Aline & the Lookeen team