Work Smarter Not Harder: How To Overcome Productivity Killers
The world is loaded with distractions that prevent you from getting your work done and have a negative impact on your productivity. Getting the most out of every day is about working smarter not harder.
As your work day is finishing up, how many times have you thought ‘I couldn’t get anything done today’? If you’ve noticed that you or your team’s productivity is decreasing, they have probably felt the same way. So why is it that everyone seems to be working more yet they are accomplishing less?
The truth is there are some common productivity killers preventing you from getting the most out of your day. Read on to find out how you can get the most out of your day.
Lack of Sleep
Many studies have shown that sleeping more will improve your productivity. The McKinsey Global Institute conducted a study which showed a direct correlation between getting less sleep and workplace inefficiency. The prefrontal cortex, where the problem-solving functions of the brain are housed, is degraded if you don’t get enough sleep.
Start winding down about 90 minutes before you want to be asleep. This includes turning off electronic devices like TV’s, iPads and phones. In addition, don’t keep your phone next to your bed at night so you’re not tempted to look at it. When you use your phone the LED screen gives off blue light, which studies have shown can damage your vision and suppress the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. It’s best to read or meditate before bed so you can fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed.
Poor Food Choices
You have inevitably heard that you are what you eat. A nutritious diet filled with a healthy variety of foods can help you feel alert and satisfied all day.
The first meal of the day is what gets your metabolism going and replenishes your blood sugar levels, which helps you focus and be productive throughout the day. When your blood sugar levels are low it becomes harder to focus and you’re more likely to feel impatient, tired and irritable. Eating a balanced high-fiber carbohydrate with lean protein breakfast will raise your sugar levels slowly, avoiding the dreaded mid-morning crash.
A fatty and sugary lunch will make you sleepy, so aim to have a high protein lunch with healthy fats and low carbohydrates instead.
Company meetings, departmental meetings, team meetings and client meetings fill-up most of our calendars. On paper they make a lot of sense, but in reality meetings often tend to be unproductive time wasters. In many cases meetings are places where productivity goes to die. Unfortunately, the long rambling meetings still seems like the default for many workplaces. To combat this time suck, try to keep meetings short and to the point. Consider conducting standing meetings instead of sitting around a table. Also, come prepared with the items you need to discuss and always establish a clear action plan before closing any meeting.
Social Media and Internet
In the business world today, the use of personal technology has been a huge benefit for employees and employers looking to embrace mobility and flexibility in the office. But with more technology comes more responsibility and poorly managed technology can eat away at your productivity. Turning off non-business related notifications and silencing your phone for extended periods of time are effective ways to limit distractions. Resist the urge to spend much of your work day in front of a computer screen (or phone) compulsively checking social media or news feeds when you should be focused on your ever-growing task list.
Most importantly, it is important to do your best to minimize distractions so you can focus on your tasks at hand. It’s not always easy to determine why your productivity is suffering, but by paying attention to the above productivity killers you can begin working smarter and not harder.