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10 easy tips to be more productive at work

The most effective and successful businesses across the world are those that understand and harness the power of productivity at the workplace. Productivity is known to boost motivation and morale, and make employees happy and healthy.

In his May Day message, Singapore Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say laid stress on increasing the productivity of Singapore’s workforce, stating that manpower “could become the bottleneck of our future growth unless we speed up efforts to become a more manpower-lean economy and a more productive workforce”.

The key to becoming more productive is learning how to work smarter, not harder. Here’s how it can be done:

Be a team player

You may know that you can finish a job on your own, but that’s no reason to do so. A productive office is built on the foundation of teamwork. Involve other people, delegate tasks and hold team members accountable if they fail to perform.

Set priorities

Start your day by making a to-do list. Executing tasks in a haphazard manner will only lead to confusion and longer working hours. Another good idea – and one that works for many – is to make a to-do list for the next day before leaving office.

Take regular breaks

This can help you maintain your focus for a longer duration. And it doesn’t mean online shopping or catching a repeat of your favourite show! Get up from your chair, walk around to stretch your muscles and catch up with others around you.

Make friends at work

Apart from being a massive support system, friends make working more fun. Workplaces where employees turn into friends often have thriving cultures and communities. So take the initiative and learn more about the person in the cube next to you!

Minimize social media distraction

Even if your job requires you to access social media, minimize access – especially for personal use - while at work. You may be looking at a company’s update on Facebook but you’ll never know when you land up on your cousin’s page and begin liking her latest vacation pictures. This time could be better spent!

Be proactive

A productive employee is always proactive. This essentially means thinking and planning ahead of anticipated events. Ideate and take initiatives that make work easier.

Get on your feet

Sitting in one place for six straight hours doesn’t mean you’ve been productive for all six of them. Work standing up for at least 10 minutes every hour, walk up and down regularly, pace around when attending to phone calls and try simple stretches at the desk.

Keep an eye on the clock

Logging extra hours every day isn’t going to make you more productive. Over time, it may just kill your morale. Leaving work on time is critical to maintaining that elusive work-life balance.

Set firm deadlines

Avoid sitting on a task till the moment it is due. Give yourself a rigid deadline and stick to it, no matter what. Follow the “five-minute rule” – if anything can be done in five minutes, be done with it. Your productivity will rise through the roof.

Learn to say no

Being a yes man – or woman – won’t do much for your work day. Our innate desire to please means we hate saying no but turning requests down can also send the message that you value your time and have other priorities.

While multitasking may seem like the best way to get all your tasks done simultaneously but it often ends up adversely affecting productivity. Instead focus, finish the task at hand and move on to the next. Work smarter, not harder!