6 ways to increase your productivity at work

Are you easily distracted at work? Do you feel that you don’t have time to manage all your responsibilities? Do you find it hard to say ¨no¨ to the different tasks that are offered to you and then you can’t manage to complete them all in time?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your productivity may be at risk.

In theory, the more we ¨produce¨ in the shortest possible time, the greater our productivity will be.. You could say that productivity is an easy concept to understand but difficult to achieve. The Spanish situation is the perfect example to illustrate this point: according to Adecco Outsourcing (2022), only 6 out of 10 Spanish companies adhere to policies that improve productivity. Unfortunately, we cannot solve a national or commercial problem in the blink of an eye. What we can do is establish and maintain good habits that help us be more productive.

    Establishing good habits: the key to being more productive

    A habit is an action that we repeat frequently and automatically without having to think about it.. Every human being has habits that he performs daily. Much of the population reads the news in the morning, while others watch TV news religiously in the afternoon; some tend to shower early and with cold water, while others prefer a hot bath just before sleeping, and so on.

    When we have already internalized these patterns of behavior into our routine, they do not involve any effort or sacrifice on our part, as they have become automatic actions that we do naturally. The problem is not maintaining the habit, but building it in the first place.

    For a long time it was believed that in order to adopt a new habit, we had to perform a certain action consciously and repeatedly for a period of at least 21 days. This theory was born from the observations of Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of the famous book ¨Psycho-Cybernetics¨ (1960), in which he claims that his patients took a minimum of 21 days to adopt a change in their routine. The truth is that creating habits is not such a simple or exact question.

    Psychologist Phillippa Lally (2010, 2022) has established that, on average, it takes more than two months to automate a new habit, and the exact number of days depends significantly on the action itself, the person, and the circumstances in which the habit develops. Another conclusion of this research is that repeating an activity as many times as possible under the same circumstances will facilitate the transformation of this action into a habit.

    Therefore, successful habit building starts with being disciplined, consistent, and specific. It will be much easier to internalize a habit that we do every day, at the same time and in the same place, than a habit that we do every time, at different times and in different places.

      What habits could boost our productivity at work?

      Stephen Covey, author of the greatest best-selling book in the history of self-help, ¨The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People¨ (1989), states that creating habits ¨involves a tremendous process and commitment, because it involves an intersection between knowledge (defining and establishing what habit we want to implement and why), ability (determining how to achieve it) and desire (the motivation to perform it). If we put this paradigm into practice, our motivation (desire) is to be more productive in the workplace. Then, we present to you which habits to put in place in your work to improve your productivity and why (knowledge), and how to achieve them (capacity):

      1. Optimize your time

      If a juggler does not synchronize their timing correctly, all the balls they managed to hold in the air will fall. Likewise, realistic and specific work planning is essential. Plan your route and prioritize pending tasks will ensure that you manage your time correctly. For this, we recommend that you make a list of all the tasks you want to accomplish in your working day. Prepare this list at the same time each day (either the night before or first thing in the morning). We suggest that you always prioritize important tasks because of their urgency and value.

      It is important that you manage one activity at a time and set a realistic time to complete it. Concentrate on this action and give it your full attention. Eliminate distractions and interruptions. Do you constantly check your emails? Allocate an hour or more to this task in your daily schedule. Need to manage calls or meetings with the team? schedule them If you make sure everything has its time and place, you’ll stop feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Time will not be lacking for anything, since you will allow time for everything.

        2. Set goals and deadlines

        In order to organize a trip, it is essential to know the destination and the date of the trip. Knowing where we are going and when we want to get there is the engine that motivates us to continue. Often, we manage projects without establishing these parameters. If we don’t define these factors, it is impossible to know how to prioritize the task. This will lead to an endless accumulation of responsibilities and will cause a snowball effect in which the workload will increase without our being able to slow it down or reduce it.

        For this, we offer determine the end result we want to achieve for each project, the number of stages to be completed and the time corresponding to each stage, in order to establish a provisional completion date. If we break down the activity correctly, into objectives and sub-objectives, organize it correctly, and are consistent and disciplined in the development of each step, we will be able to achieve our objectives effectively.

        3. Assertiveness above all else

        Being assertive involves express ourselves clearly and concisely, with firmness but without hostility. According to psychologist John M. Gottman, communicating effectively is extremely difficult in any type of relationship. One of the ways we fail to be assertive at work or with the team is when we avoid saying “no” for fear of repercussion or disappointing someone. We accept request after request, and when we are unable to keep our word, not only does individual and team productivity suffer, but our credibility and professionalism diminish. To say that does not denote maturity and honesty. Saying it’s not a complete sentence that doesn’t need justification.

        Other ways to be assertive are to be simple and direct when you speak, to express what you need without apologizing, and to stay in control of your emotions. This habit will take a lot of practice and patience, but it will do wonders when it comes to increasing your productivity.

          4. Prioritize your well-being

          If you do not charge the computer, it will eventually shut down and will no longer be able to perform its functions. In the same way, human beings are rechargeable batteries, and we need disconnection and rest to keep delivering results. Routines that enhance rest and digital disconnection are vitally important for us to be productive in our work. For this, we recommend that you be rigorous about the time you go to bed, to give it an adequate duration (about 8 hours), to respect work breaks and to disconnect from work as soon as our day ends. .

          Other activities that promote general well-being (and therefore our productivity) are good nutrition, physical activity and meditation or relaxation. We recommend making these activities part of your daily routine and assigning them a time and place, to make it easier to automate the habit.

          5. Create physical harmony

          If there is chaos in the environment, there is chaos in the mind. Therefore, it is extremely important that you maintain a functional and clean space, as it will help you be more productive and efficient. This way, you will reduce the likelihood of moving an important document or losing a file containing sensitive information.

          You will not waste time on a problem, but you will be able to deal with it directly. For this, we recommend that you assign a functional place to everything that you consider essential in the management of your work. As soon as you stop using it, put it back in its place. You can also apply it to your online space: classify the mail you receive and organize the folders on your computer. Leave everything in its place, in its place place

          6. Practice self-reflection

          Getting results is vital, but it’s even more valuable to reflect on how we achieved our goals. Through self-assessment we can determine which habits are not working and which aspects we need to continue to improve. To develop this habit, you could answer the following questions each week: ¨Is the end result as I imagined it? What would have changed? What do I want to answer?¨ By focusing on the positive and the negative, we will perfect the methodology that will lead us to success.

          In summary, to be more productive, we must create habits that improve our performance. Habit building is a process that requires us to be disciplined and consistent with our actions so that we can automate them. These habits we’ve mentioned to you are just brushstrokes on how you can improve your productivity, but they’re surefire ways to deliver results. Do you dare to implement them?

          Bibliographic references

          • Adecco Outsourcing (May 10, 2022). I Adecco Outsourcing barometer on productivity and efficiency. The institute of the Adecco group.
          • Covey, S. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon & Schuster.
          • Gardner, B., & Lally, P. (2022). Habit and habitual behavior. Journal of Health Psychology.
          • Guerrero, J., & Puerto, YI (2007). Productivity, work and health: the psychosocial perspective. Colombian Journal of Psychology, 16, 203-234.
          • Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C., Potts, H. and Wardle, J. (2010). How habits are formed: modeling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6).
          • Maltz, M. (1960). Psycho-Cybernetics. Simon & Schuster.
          • Maudos, J. (November 2021). Productivity and structural reforms, that is the question. you work

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