Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Increase Productivity

from the DLM Blog:

6 Tips that will Increase Your Productivity in the Office

Posted: 10 Feb 2009 05:00 AM PST

I worked from home for over 6 months before moving across the world and taking my first office job. For those wondering why anyone would give up working from home, there were a few reasons that contributed to my decision:
  • Getting to work with like minded people in the same industry
  • Traveling across the world and being independent
  • Working with large clients I couldn't have gotten on my own
That aside, I'd like to get into my tips on becoming more productive in the office, especially when you have access to the internet. I work in the social media industry and when you spend a lot of time on sites that promote amazing content, it can be difficult not to get in a situation where you have 20 browser tabs open and minimal work completed.
  1. Set a time for emails
    Email is a very big feature in most office environments but this handy form of communication can easily become a huge distraction. Whenever we are at work, we are usually busy with one project or another; incoming emails just add more to the to-do list. In fact, seeing more emails come in when you are already working on a few projects can add to your stress levels and cause you to become less productive.

    What I've been trying, is to have a set time for emails. You could have:

    • A scheduled time each day to check email (i.e. 9am & 2pm)
    • A plan to only open them once current tasks are finished

    Of course, if you are going to do this you might want to speak to your boss / coworkers to explain the situation. The benefit of having a time for emails is that you are left to focus on the jobs you do have left, rather than worry about all your jobs piling up and getting distracted by responding to emails during jobs.

  2. Ban yourself from websites
    I'm actually serious about this and this has been one of the best techniques to help me increase productivity. If there are certain websites that you keep going to during the day for enjoyment, even a few minutes now and then, then your productivity is going to decline and your tasks will quickly ad up.

    If you use Firefox, then you can install the Leechblock extension. There are other extensions that do the job but the thing I like about this is it's actually takes about a minute just to unblock a website. Therefore you resist the urge to go and do it because it's not just a 'enter your password' quick job to get back on one of your favorite productivity killers.

  3. Don't finish everything
    This is a tip that is most often given to programmers but I've found it to help me even when doing client reports or proposals. The idea behind this is that you don't finish each day with all tasks done, unless the deadline is for that day.

    For example, if you are writing a proposal full of ideas on how to help a client, leave room for more ideas and head home. When you get back the next day you'll be able to read your previous ideas and that will instantly get you back into work mode with your mind on the tasks at hand.

  4. Change your lunch hour
    The times when I tend to be the most productive are when there are less people around me. For most of you, this is when most staff are on lunch. So for example, if most people go on lunch at 1pm then you should go at 12 or 2. That way, you have a complete hour of less distractions and noise.

    If you tend to go to lunch with a few people then see if they can change their schedules a little so that you can all become more productive. Just be careful to make sure that the rest of the office doesn't follow suit.

  5. Hide on screen distractions
    If you work on a computer then do your best to hide any on-screen distractions that might interrupt whatever you are working on. For example you may want to close things such as:

    • MSN or other instant messengers
    • Skype
    • Inactive programs such as Photoshop or Gimp
    • Distracting pop-ups and auto running programs

    Even when I'm writing, I completely cut off all on screen distractions. For most of my writing I use a text editor known as DarkRoom, you can see how this looks for writing this blog post below:

    Darkroom actually makes your whole screen black so that you can't see anything else. This is a bonus because even if someone is chatting to you on an instant messaging program then you can't see it until you are prepared to be interrupted.

  6. Set yourself false deadlines
    This is a productivity / motivation tip that could really be used anywhere but works very well for me in my office environment. Basically it is about giving yourself false time deadlines so that you prioritize a task and push to get it done without wasting time.

    If you have 3 hours to get a report done then see if you can get it done in 2 and tell yourself that you must get it done in two. Of course, don't lose quality in favor of quantity but I find this method means I just instantly cut out all noise and distractions and just focus immensely on the task at hand.
I advise people to only try the ones they think will help them the most; I think banning websites has been the most effective solution for me. If you are going to do all of these, then prepare to have more hours free than you know what to do with.

Written on 2/10/2008 by Glen Allsop. Glen writes on the subject of Personal Development at PluginID. His site's main aim is to help people Plug into their Identity, be who they want to be, and live the life they want to live.Photo Credit:

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