Tips to improve productivity

However productive you may be, we all hit the wall at some point. Perhaps due to working our socks off or lacking motivation in need of a serious kick-start.

Here I share a few of my personal techniques I use that may help you improve your productivity.

Write a to-do list

One of the first things I do in the morning when I arrive at my desk is write or update a to-do list for the day. This may seem pretty basic to some but having this list on display on my desk keeps me motivated and focused with a goal to complete as many of my tasks by the end of the day.

A to do list

Take regular breaks

One of the biggest things people like myself are guilty of is not taking enough breaks from the computer screen during the day. This can lead to getting square eyed, tired and unproductive, especially in the late afternoon.

If this sounds like you, then give the Pomodoro Technique a try.

Basically it’s a simple but effective time management system. You focus your work into 25-minute chunks, with an aim to complete a task or tasks within that time (Hence why I create the to-do list). Then you have a short 5 minute break in between each activity. Once you’ve completed a set amount of ‘Pomodoro’s’ you earn yourself a longer break i.e. lunch.

Those 5 minute breaks makes for a great opportunity to get the recommended break from the computer screen. I usually use this time to nip to the loo, make a brew or to walk over to a colleague to discuss something work-related.

Although a little hard to get used to at first, I’ve found this technique has helped to not only save me from the dreaded tired eyes, but also helped me be more productive and breaks my workload into more manageable and less daunting chunks. It’s also hugely satisfying to put a big fat tick next to those completed tasks on my to-do list.

There are many Pomodoro apps available to track your time, the one I use and recommend myself is Pomodoro Keeper.

A pomodoro app on an iPhone

Get in the zone with some tunes

Apart from helping you bust a move on the dancefloor, music is said to help decrease stress and boost focus, especially handy when you’re working on those big projects.

If you work in an open plan office like I do, you’ll know that it’s very easy to get distracted. It’s tough to not get involved in conversations about last night’s episode of The Walking Dead or join in with the general office banter. So sometimes when I need to ‘get in the zone’ and crack on with my work, I bring out my headphones to focus on my work.

I suggest signing up to a music streaming service such as Spotify as they have specially created playlists of music that can help you to concentrate and remain focused.

An organised workspace is a happy workspace

An undecorated desk, is a boring desk! Adding a few personal items can provide a sense of comfort and helps make you feel like your work area is your own personal space, a home away from home.

Adding a few photos of family, friends or pets on your desk can help make work a little more bearable. If you ever do start to feel your morale draining, you can just take a quick look at the photo and it’ll make you think that you’ll get to see them soon.

Add a green plant or two. They’re said to have a range of benefits including helping you recover from demanding tasks and lowering stress levels. They can also help improve the air quality and obviously they look pretty on your desk too.

And remember, always keep your workspace clean and organised! You wouldn’t leave it in that state at home.

A designers workspace

Most importantly, enjoy what you do

In the end, there is nothing that helps you be more productive than enjoying the work that you do. You should be able to wake up in the morning and feel content about going into work.

Sure, we all feel like we would rather be somewhere else on some days, especially over the summer. But if you regularly can’t bear the thought of going into work, desperately clinging onto your front door, then maybe it’s time for a change.

  • Share: