Work Smart: Tips for productivity at work

Productivity Tips

There are many things that go into having a successful career including being able to increase productivity when it is called for. The biggest question we face today is how in these times of information overload and social networking, do we keep ourselves focused on increasing productivity at work.

Culture of the organization

Corporate Culture is a powerful element that shapes our work enjoyment, our work relationships, and our work processes. The environment of the organization that we work at contributes a lot towards increasing or decreasing our productivity. If the environment is positive and the employees are happy with their jobs, they are bound to be more productive. Similarly a negative work environment will curb their productivity. Present a positive attitude. Taking steps that make the employees feel valued and respected definitely help in improving the work environment.

Difficult Boss

Believe it or not, most of the times a difficult boss leads to employee frustration. An employee who is stressed out due to dealing with a difficult boss daily cannot perform well. The superiors must realize that being difficult with an employee will not improve his/her quality of work, rather it will end up decreasing the overall productivity level of the organization. Employees are the most valuable asset to our organization. Keeping them engaged and motivated is the key to a successful, highly productive workforce. While some employees produce to their highest capability regardless of the incentive, others need an occasional jump-start. When handled effectively, the result can be greater productivity and increased employee morale.

Remember the Milk

The first and most important means to getting things done is to maintain a prioritized to-do list. We work more efficiently with a checklist in front of us; spending less time trying to remember what still needs to be done. Most Project Management solutions come with a task list. Use one. Set a timer for each of your tasks. I have also experienced that when you have a timer running when working on a project it results in better output.

Make Milestones

We all want bigger projects, but with bigger projects come more responsibilities and more work. It’s easy to accidentally take on way too much work, and before we know it we’re overwhelmed by a seemingly impossible number of things to do. Instead of getting lost and unproductive in the maze, break up each project into milestones, and finish one project before starting the next. This way your work is much more organized, and putting everything together at the end is much easier.

Go on an information diet

Constantly checking email and all the other great technological advances will zap precious time away from your work day that you can use to get more work done. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing. Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done. You can always take out that extra half an hour at days end to follow up with those. If you have finished off you jobs for the day, it’s an even more enjoyable experience. The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on.


When we are communicating with staff and clients, make sure that all our instructions and information is understood the way we intended. Simply repeating the same request in different words at the end of a conversation can mean the difference between getting the report we want and the one that our staff “thought” we wanted. Just by speaking clearly, concisely and checking that the person we are communicating with has understood what we have said, can save precious time by getting what we need first time.


Remove distractions. A productive work day starts with a conducive work desk. If we are unorganized we are bound to waste a lot of time looking for notes, documents and other such things. This in return will lower our work productivity and make us lose focus. Make sure that we keep our desk in order and have all the things lined up as we might need them during a busy work.

Control Social Networking “positively”

Companies that allow users to access Facebook in the workplace lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity. Banning these social network sites is not a solution in itself. Workplace internet leisure browsing can actually help sharpen workers’ concentration if accessed in short unobtrusive breaks. Take breaks. Don’t work when you are tired. Go recharge

Learn to say no

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity. Naturally as with every work day, there will be sudden requests, people asking for your attention, “urgent” calls/messages, emails, etc. Unless it’s important and urgent (in case of serious implication if the matter is not attended to immediately), put them off.

Reduce meetings

Meetings are definitely a necessary business function. They can be made better if they’re better planned. Most importantly, we should make sure a meeting is really necessary. A conference call or a well-crafted e-mail message might suffice most of the time. In my earlier employment, I had seen the PHP department used to have so many meetings and discussions, but at the end of the month the DotNet dept. used to be the one with the results with 75% less meetings. Know that to the client or the boss “meetings” don’t count as productive work.

Don’t stagnate

An effective employee is one that grows with a company. Begin by asking yourself, “Who do you want to be?” Then determine, based on your mission, what is really important right now. Talk less, Do more. This will not only give you a positive feeling and improve your productivity; it will also keep you in the group who get regular appraisals.

Productivity Measurement

Performance appraisals of employees are necessary to understand each employee’s abilities, competencies and relative merit and worth for the organization. If the employer does not measure our productivity this is dangerous, because the company is likely not going to be productive itself. I have found that a large percentage of people dream of a job and of a life without a lot of pressure. Incidentally one of my co-workers in an earlier company I was working for asked me how he could earn his pay check just like that, without lifting a finger. Couldn’t say on his face that day but the less focus and productivity you give to your work, the less you are rewarded in terms of money and prestige. You might think nobody noticed, well let me tell you something, “You are wrong.”

On an ending note the most important secret to increasing productivity is to love what we do. No system, tool or methodology in the world can beat the productivity boost we get from really, really enjoying our work.