How to Improve Your Work Productivity

Last updated: Nov 4, 2019

A day of picking pundits’ brains for ways to make your workdays/hours/minutes count led to the realization that capacity, efficiency, and organization are at the heart of the top tips on how to improve your work productivity.

An employee writes down her tasks in a planning notebook

Our CEO Stands for Capacity, Efficiency, and Organization

In business, productivity is a hallmark of success, so it follows that maximizing productivity is a priority. There’s no end of information on how to do it. Here are five examples of how-to stories on boosting productivity:

Tips on boosting your productivity involve capacity, efficiency, and organization. The fact that these categories abbreviate to “CEO” can be attributed to dumb luck; embracing that fact has everything to do with the usefulness of mnemonic devices.

Capacity

These tips are based on recognition of your limits, mental and physical, and having the discipline to maximize your abilities and talents.

  • Take a break. Your ability to function at peak capacity depends on your physical and mental condition, so regularly powering down is a must. Ninety minutes appears to be the magic number, as in take a break every 90 minutes.
  • Avoid multitasking. Focus on the task at hand if you want it done right and well.
  • Match the task at hand to the time and resources available. Sure, your goal is to run a successful business, but you do that by effectively executing discrete and sometimes simple and mundane tasks that advance projects and drive overall success.
  • Forbes’ online publication cites business writer Steve Olenski on the two-minute rule: Fill small bites of time that are too short for major tasks by doing things you can complete in a couple of minutes. It’s a great way to check things off your list.
  • Know how and when to say no. There’s value in handling a heavy load; there’s a heavy price to pay for continually bearing a crushing load.
  • Do what it takes to stay healthy through diet and exercise, and don’t short-change yourself when it comes to sleep.

Three coworkers take a break from work to drink coffee and talk

Efficiency

These tips focus on steps you can take to up your game incrementally by being more effective.

  • Morning person? If so, that’s when you should tackle your toughest tasks. Shine brightest in the afternoon? Do it then. You can’t control the clock, but you can manage your schedule.
  • Got a good toolkit? Make sure you have the best electronic/digital tools, a well-designed workspace where you’re comfortable, and access to the resources needed to do your job.
  • Don’t let your tools take over. Electronic communications should be “unplugged” as needed.
  • Do your best to operate proactively. It’s better to initiate than respond.
  • As a manager, focus on the things that give you and your organization the best results, and delegate as needed to give yourself the time to exercise your abilities and talents to good effect.
  • Ensure you have blocks of time when you won’t be disturbed. No calls. No emails. No visitors – simply time to get things done.
  • Limit the number and length of meetings. It’s critical to keep information flowing, but not to the extent that you hemorrhage time and energy.
  • Per author Brian Tracy, eat that frog. In his book Eat That Frog!, Tracy tells the apocryphal tale of Mark Twain saying that a day started by eating a live frog is a day when the worst of what will happen is behind you early. In essence, don’t procrastinate, especially when it comes to tough tasks.
  • Don’t waste downtime. Travel time, commutes, and other downtime can be spent productively, from strategizing or communicating to giving your laptop a workout.

Organization

Organization tips are the great enablers. They’re all about knowing the what, how, when, and why of things on your to-do list.

  • Set goals. Or, as some say, manage goals, not people. Put long- and short-term goals on your radar, and move toward them step by calculated step. Meeting short-term goals that are elements of larger projects makes the overwhelming seem more manageable.
  • Planning and scheduling aren’t everything; they’re just the things that make almost everything possible.
  • Master time management. Spend your time like money. Know what you have, and track how it’s spent.
  • Have a don’t-do list. Forbes says it well: “With so many options (made possible in part by the explosion of technology and data), we need to be explicit about what we’re not going to try to do.”
  • Develop routines, but be flexible enough to adapt.

Truth be told, all of the CEO tips we’re sharing could fall neatly under the heading of organization, because all of them contribute to an orderly and effective push to achieve your business goals.

Advancing your knowledge base also is critical to success.

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USF Business Offerings Are Designed to Boost Productivity

USF’s Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education offers a broad array of programs designed for working professionals. 

Among CTPE’s professional development offerings are human resources, project management, process improvement, and test preparation.

Want additional details on what the Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education offers?

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