You’ve probably noticed (perhaps not without some jealousy) that a certain sect of people tend to get things done on a more consistent basis than most other workers. These individuals tend to distinguish themselves at a relatively early age, earning excellent grades in high school and college en route to a successful career. But what allows such people to excel on consistent basis in their academic and professional pursuits?
A number of observers have attempted to answer this question, and have unearthed a number of common traits that successful people tend to possess. If you aren’t satisfied with your current level of production in the workplace, consider adapting some of the following work-related practices and techniques.
Stop the Multitasking – In recent years, the term “multitasking” has carved out a permanent niche in the American office vernacular. In short, this term refers to an employee who attempts to perform two distinct tasks simultaneously. For example, a worker might attempt to answer a phone call while drafting an email. In theory, multitasking should allow someone to be twice as efficient, enabling them to kill two workload birds with one stone. In reality, this practice often makes people less effective at performing both activities, and may also cause them to lose focus as they try to switch between tasks. Productive people tend to focus on one task at a time, devoting all available energy to completing the task before moving on to the next objective.
Determine Your “Peak” Hours – Ever notice that you seem to be most productive at certain times of the day? Productive people certainly do, and plan their work schedules accordingly. For example, suppose you are most efficient between the pre-lunch hours of 10AM and 12PM. Use this period of time for knocking out your most challenging tasks.
Eliminate Distractions – Many workers let various distractions derail their workday. You might give into the urge to check your favorite social media site, or find yourself unable to concentrate on a certain task due to frequent visits to your email account. Maybe your cell phone keeps going off, or you receive a constant influx of text messages. Top-tier workers realize that these things can hurt productivity, and proceed to deal with them before they become too problematic.
Divide Big Projects into Smaller Tasks – Being assigned a tough project at work can be awfully overwhelming, given just how much could be hanging in the balance; success can bring accolades and possible promotion, yet failure can lead to demotion, career stagnation or even job termination. To give yourself a better chance of success, try breaking up the project into a series of clearly-defined, attainable goals. If possible, try establishing goals that can be completed within a few hours.
Get Enough Sleep – Yes, you’ve heard this one plenty of this before, but chances are you still aren’t getting the 7 to 9 hours of daily sleep you need each night. Productive workers, on the other hand, usually get to bed at reasonable time. Not surprisingly, they are well-rested and ready to function at full capacity the next day. Night owls should take note of this fairly obvious connection.
Stop Trying to Do Too Much – While it’s easy to dismiss mediocre workers as lacking motivation and skills, many employees struggle at work for the exact opposite reasons – they try to do far too much. These workers might accept the responsibility of massive projects they simply cannot handle, and are unable to say “no” to coworkers seeking assistance. They may also try and fit too many things on their personal “to-do” list, instead of focusing on only the most relevant and important tasks facing them.
Focus on the Important Stuff, Not the Busy Work – Here’s another mistake made by well-intentioned workers. Some employees might spend an inordinate amount of time working on tasks that are not especially important, using up valuable hours better spend elsewhere. Productive people tend to identify the most important tasks in their workload, and set about performing them as soon as possible.
Don’t Procrastinate – There probably isn’t a bigger challenge to becoming a more productive worker than the urge to put things off. It pretty much goes without saying that highly efficient employees are able to resist this urge better than most. There are a number of ways to avoid workplace procrastination; strictly limiting your social media pit stops and using daily “to-do” lists would be a good start.