How to be More Productive at Work: A Five-Step Guide to Achieving Your Goals
I am going to make an assumption here… I’m going to assume that you’re a lot like me in terms of how much responsibility you have. I’m guessing you’ve got people (your family, your friends, your crew at work) who need you. That means we’re all constantly bombarded with demands on our time and attention. Between work, family, and personal commitments, it can feel almost impossible to add personal and professional goals into the mix. How on earth do we find the extra time to pursue a goal? And when we do find the time, how can we then be more productive at work in the allotted time we have?
I’d love to share my best advice for how you can achieve more in a day then most other people do all week long. In fact, I made a full podcast about this if you prefer to get your advice in audio form.
Now, before I tell you how to be more productive at work, I’d love to just establish why I think I’ve got some pretty great wisdom on this particular topic. In the last ten years, I’ve written 11 books (published 9 of them), written a screenplay (more on that later), launched endless products for my business, grown and sustained a high 8-figure business, run 14 half marathons, 2 full marathons and completed the Everesting Challenge all while raising 4 kids! If there’s one person who knows how to be more productive at work– it’s me, y’all!
With the right strategies and a focused mindset, you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. So, let’s explore five key steps to boost your productivity, be more productive at work and make the most of your day.
1. Find YOUR Best Time of Day to Work
One of the most critical factors in improving productivity is understanding your own natural rhythms and energy levels. I am at my best in the morning, my CFO swears by late night productivity. Everyone has a specific time of day when they’re most alert, focused, and motivated. It’s essential to identify your peak productivity hours and align your most challenging tasks with that time.
For instance, if you’re a morning person like me, tackle complex and important tasks in the early hours. If you’re more of a night owl, save your critical work for later in the day. By working with your internal clock rather than against it, you’ll find that you can accomplish tasks more efficiently and with higher quality.
2. Get Clarity on Your Goal
Being more productive at work isn’t just about doing more; it’s about doing the right things. Before diving into any task, take the time to clarify your goals. Define what you want to achieve, both in the short term and the long term. Having a clear sense of purpose will guide your actions and keep you on track.
It’s essential to break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps. This not only makes your objectives more achievable but also helps you maintain focus. When you know exactly what you’re working toward, you’ll be more motivated and less likely to get sidetracked.
3. Create a Plan Before You Begin
Now that you have a clear goal in mind, it’s time to create a plan. Remember in my book, Girl Stop Apologizing when I taught you how to create a road map to your goal? To be more productive at work, you have to implement that strategy. If you don’t have a plan, you’re way less likely to actually achieve the thing you want to achieve. It’s shocking how few people actually create an agenda before they begin their work. I have plans for my long term goals and I also create an agenda, or what I call a “results list” before I begin each work day.
Remember to set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish in a given time frame. Overloading your schedule can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Instead, focus on quality and consistency over quantity.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Bruce Lee had this quote I love. He said, “Hack away at the unessential.” It’s such a good reminder for me. In today’s digital age, distractions are everywhere. Social media, email, constant notifications – all these things can keep you from being productive at work. But they’re not the only thing… I get way more distracted by bright shiny ideas that sort of seem like my work, but are often just me avoiding what needs to be done. This happened all the time when I was first trying to write a book. I’d spend all of my work time “writing” but really I was just editing the same first chapter over and over. Busy work disguised as real work is why we get discouraged and give up on projects. It’s essential that you use your work time to work on the result you want, not just work on anything that seems exciting.
Start by identifying your most common distractions. Is it your smartphone, chatty coworkers, or your own version of a bright shiny idea? Once you’ve pinpointed the culprits, take action to address them. Creating a distraction-free workspace can significantly enhance your productivity. When you eliminate interruptions, you can immerse yourself in your work and complete tasks more efficiently.
5. Find the Best Working Environment for You
The physical environment in which you work can have a significant impact on your productivity. While some people thrive in a bustling, open office space, others may prefer a quiet, isolated room. It’s crucial to determine what type of working environment suits you best. I like to save different types of work for different environments. For instance, a busy coffee shop is great for buzzy tasks like programming social. If I need focus to write my next book, I’d have to put in headphones so I’m not distracted by the noise– it’s no surprise that how I’ve written the bulk of my books is very early in the morning before my kids wake up. The house is quiet and it’s my best energy of the day.
We don’t always have control over where we get to work, but whenever possible, experiment with different workspaces to identify your optimal setting. Some people find that working in a coffee shop or a library can boost their creativity and focus. Others may need complete silence and solitude to concentrate. Once you’ve found your ideal working environment, make an effort to create it or seek it out regularly.
The most important thing to remember about how to be more productive at work (or in any area of your life) is that nobody is born productive. Productivity is a skill just like driving a car or using a computer. You can teach yourself to be more productive at work utilizing time management, focus, and understanding your own working preferences. By finding your best time of day to work, clarifying your goals, creating a plan, eliminating distractions, and creating the best working environment for you, you can significantly increase your efficiency and accomplish more in less time.
Remember that productivity is a journey, and it’s okay to make adjustments as you learn more about what works best for you. With dedication and these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to mastering productivity and achieving your goals.