View of a desk lit by sunlight streaming in from a nearby window, with a woman's hands typing at a laptop.
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Here’s how you can be more productive at work

19 Apr 2019

Struggling to focus at work? It’s a common problem, and one that can seem difficult to address, but these productivity tips should help.

You would think that as I write more on the topic of productivity and as my scholarship deepens, I’d morph into some paragon of professional virtue. Surely after you reach a certain threshold, you have absorbed enough knowledge for it to seep into your bones and become a natural part of your working rhythm. I should be as incorruptible as Robespierre, as unflappable and focused as a wizened monk mid-meditation.

Alas, I haven’t transcended the mortal plane and achieved some godly level of focus. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I’m not alone, either. Productivity at work is a common and elusive problem. Whatever your intentions may be, you will likely find yourself occasionally lacking in focus for myriad complicated reasons both physical and psychological. Everything ranging from the lunch you eat to the anxiety you’re feeling about your personal life could be clouding your focus. Viewed that way, it may seem a losing battle to even try and correct it.

Fear not, though, as you aren’t totally powerless. There are a few things you can do to make it easier to be productive at work and, if anything, they may actually make your working life less strenuous.

The overarching themes of many of the most effective productivity tips is that you aren’t a machine and if you want to work to your highest capacity, you need to take care of yourself.

Don’t do overtime. There are so many reasons you shouldn’t be doing overtime – despite how commonplace it is, as research suggests – but if you won’t clock out on time for your own wellbeing, do it for your productivity. If you’re overworked, you’ll eventually burn out, meaning you’ll be less effective in a professional setting and may even have to take some time out to recover. You may think burning the midnight oil will help your productivity, but you stand to suffer a net loss.

Take on less. Boundaries are so important in all facets of life, including your professional one. In a healthy working environment you’re not going to be fired for saying no, and a good manager will appreciate you having the wherewithal to understand your capacity enough to know when you can take on more and when you can’t. If you have too much on your plate, you’ll likely flame out when it’s finished resulting in, again, a net loss.

Even when you do have to keep multiple plates spinning you shouldn’t be spinning those plates simultaneously. Multi-tasking doesn’t magically generate a greater well of focus within you. In fact, it just spreads your capacity to focus too thin for it to make any sense, leaving you with – you guessed it – net loss.

Considering some of these points, and others made in this infographic brought to you by Officevibe, may go a long way to improving your productivity.

productivity infographic

Infographic: Officevibe

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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