Staying on top of time management and productivity are some of the most difficult concepts for many professionals to grasp and master. Even when an individual is working on a project they are genuinely passionate about, it can be challenging to stay on task. There are so many time-wasters and distractions to keep the mind busy.
The distractions run the gamut and include social media (scrolling, tapping and liking), riveting conversations with co-workers (work gossip), that one interesting article in the open tab (tabbed browsing), the long list of voicemails and phone calls to return and that pesky boss who continues to pile more and more work on the desk. While these distractions may seem like harmless pastimes, they hold the power to leave some detrimental effects. Productivity in the workplace is oftentimes the difference between unemployment and a promotion.
The contrast may sound extreme, but no boss wants to pay someone to indulge in personal pastimes. Not only is it unprofessional, but it is also disrespectful. With this in mind, it is beneficial to map out personal productivity and well-thought out ways to execute it efficiently.
Use a written list
When students listen to college lectures, they rely on copious amounts of notes to remember important information. A really great way to take notes is by hand. Even though laptops and tablets abound and dominate the market, there is something about writing information down that helps it sink in a little deeper. At the office, keep a designated area where there is a special work notebook or planner. Upon entering each morning, date the list and then write out all the major tasks that need to be checked off for the day. Make a commitment to stay at the office until all the jobs are completed. Once the jobs are completed, put a check next to them. This practice leaves a sense of accountability (since the tasks are written down) when a boss questions what was done for the day. It also leaves a sense of gratification and confidence to continue knocking out tasks in an efficient manner.
Use technological tools
Now even though a written list is an excellent strategy, there are many who refuse to part with their beloved smart phones and tablets. In this case, a great way to efficiently keep track of productivity is with apps like Evernote, Trello, Podio and Asana. Evernote and Trello are geared more toward people working alone or with two or three more people. Podio and Asana are apps for groups in the workplace. With these apps, group work is kept in one place and maintains organization. These workflow apps basically provide similar services of workflow tracking and reminders. Some of these apps effortlessly integrate within a work calendar so no task goes unaccounted for.
Keep a timer nearby
There are different apps for laptops that will prevent a person from accessing their internet for a specific amount of time while working on a project. Internet surfing is arguably the worst time-waster because it is so easy to get lost on the world wide web. One article leads to another which leads to another. Plug away and work for at least 15 minutes with a timer. Once the 15-minute stretch is mastered, increase the time 30 minutes more. Before long, an employee will be able to sit and work without interruption for hours on end. It is all about focus.
Look at pros and cons
For those who really struggle with maintaining an efficient workflow, it may be helpful to seriously weigh the pros and cons of productivity. For an auditor working at a prestigious firm, the cons may include wearing a business suit every day, dealing with difficult clients, long hours in front of the computer and less personal time with family and friends. The pros might include a great salary and regular bonuses, stock options, an amazing benefits package, new opportunities, frequent travel, exposure, bragging rights and prestige. If the pros don’t seem to be better than the cons, it may be time to look for another job. However, depending on the job market, it may be best to stick with it and learn to develop a muscle of self-discipline. Jim Rohn once said that a person will suffer from one of two things. They will either “suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret.” Most people would agree that the pain of discipline is a much more pleasurable pain. Taking a closer look at the pros and cons of the work situation will really help an employee. The employee will gain clarity and understanding in terms of which way to go in order to put their best foot forward.
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