Everybody needs a productivity improvement program in their professional and personal lives. It’s more than just staying organised and crossing things off your to-do list. There is a mindset you must maintain throughout your daily life to make sure productivity doesn’t take a hit.
The brain needs to take a break now and then, otherwise, it can become overwhelmed when stuck in the same zone for long periods of time. A popular technique to overcome this is the Pomodoro technique where you take 20 minutes to do a task non-stop without interruptions, then take a 5-minute break before resuming the task for another 20 minutes.
Crossword puzzles, like those found in the daily newspaper, are great ways to improve productivity if your tasks involve a lot of words. Your vocabulary can increase after completing a crossword puzzle due to the variety of words you encounter filling in the little boxes. Clustering skills also increase due to crossword puzzles sharing letters where words intersect.
Games and practical jokes
Games and playing practical jokes on each other at work might sound like they’re unproductive, but in fact, it benefits everybody. The reason is that these interactions among coworkers can build rapport and even the practical jokes, as long as they are in good taste, increases trust. Managers should allow fun to occur in the workplace instead of requiring attendance at office parties.
Productivity in both your personal and professional life can’t be effective if your ability to recall information is lackluster. An excellent technique for taking notes and improving memory is the Cornell technique. It involves dividing up a piece of paper into zones where you record keywords alongside your notes. These keywords serve as triggers to the brain helping to recall information. The time saved remembering this information on demand is important for everything you do.
Organise your desk
Not only do you need to recall information on the spot, but physical objects need to be accessible. When you are sitting at your desk, all of your tools should be within easy reach without having to get up out of your seat. Writing utensils such as pens and pencils, and a writing surface like a notepad should be on your desk at all times. The stapler and stapler remover should both be near your seat alongside your paper clips.
Organise files on your computer so that when you need to retrieve relevant information, they are only a few clicks away. The same is true for emails, drag them from the Inbox into sub-folders having a relevant name for easy retrieval. The more time you spend having to look for information or even a place to write things is time wasted in the long run.
Take a vacation
Taking a vacation from work improves productivity and job satisfaction for several reasons. Time spent away from the grind can lead to a recharged battery. Separating yourself from a task for a long period allows you to return to it with a fresh set of eyes and come up with creative new solutions for outstanding problems. Most businesses only allow a few vacation days carried into the next year. Therefore, try to take advantage of your allocated time off because otherwise, that’s just money down the drain you’ll never get back.
Play video games
The act of playing video games can also lead to increased productivity. Video games force the player to practice quick-thinking to achieve tasks in the game. Most video games involve a level of multitasking in which you have to keep track of several things, skills that can translate into the workplace. Multiplayer video games encourage teamwork and collaboration among players attempting to solve a problem. Even the character Mary Poppins has shown that if you include an element of fun, the job becomes a game.
Gamification of productivity
Any task can become a game if you track your progress. Beeminder.com has both a website and a smartphone app allowing you to log what you have accomplished. The beeminder system requires you to specify a goal and then it reminds you to do the baby steps required to meet that goal. For example, if your goal is to take 10,000 steps per day you would either enter those steps or it can pull the data from a pedometer you’re wearing.
Some people think using a cell phone can cut their productivity due to the temptation of talking or chatting with others. An app called Time For Reality allows you to join a group of others with that the same goal. Once the game starts, the app keeps track of your cell phone usage and reports the time spent to other players. The incentive to not use your phone is accomplished by shaming each other while everyone else was working.
What is your productivity improvement program?
It’s time to decide on how you will improve your productivity. Are you going to try the approach your task with 20 minutes sessions separated by short breaks? How about finishing at least one crossword puzzle every week either online or the version found in the delivery newspaper? Are there any games that your coworkers enjoy that you can take part in? How are you taking notes and what is your ability to recall information? Maybe it’s time to put down your phone and take a vacation to get away from it all. Regardless of which method you use, the most important part is to have fun implementing your productivity improvement program every day.
My name is Frank Laughlin and I’ve been with my current employer, a small office, for over eleven years. My previous employer of nine years is a large international company with multiple locations and thousands of call center employees working in cubicles. My goal is to bring creativity and innovation back into bureaucratic environments through ideas2apply.