On the Job

How to be more productive faster

Every person has their own way of thinking, which means what boosts your productivity may be an awful approach for a colleague. That said, there are some great common strategies that can considerably speed up how quickly you get things done.

First, bulk all your similar tasks together. Have a bunch of phone calls to do? Set aside a set number of hours for it on the calendar. The same can be said for emails, traveling errands and so on. It is easy to skip this simple strategy when you are reacting to new needs (and putting out fires) rather than planning out your most effective approach. And the more routine your weekly schedule, the more likely you can plan entire days based on a specific task.

Second, do not multitask. A ridiculous amount of research shows that human brains don’t multitask, but rather pick up one task, drop it quickly, and then focus on the other task, before dropping that quickly and starting the cycle over again. The results from multitasking are wasted energy from the rapid cycle and less productivity on all tasks. Instead, focus on one thing and one thing only, keeping your concentration entirely on completing your goal.

Third, keep a schedule of your most productive times of the day and, perhaps, the week. Sure, most of us identify as “morning people” or “night people”, but you’ll want to go deeper than the superficial understanding. Look at your work day today and pay attention to which couple of hours you were the most productive, and then do the same exercise throughout the upcoming week. Chances are that you’ll see a pattern in when your productivity gets a boost. Know when your mind is naturally the sharpest and build your schedule around that time.