We all know the feeling: You're starting your workday feeling motivated and ready to go!
And then you happen to glance at your phone and see a text from a friend that you simply must respond to ASAP. Then? Maybe you get caught up scrolling through TikTok or peeking at Insta.
After that, you turn back to your computer to get to work but quickly get distracted by a funny meme a colleague sent you.
Next thing you know, it's lunchtime and you haven't done a thing! Talk about an unproductive morning.
Good productivity allows individuals to avoid distractions like these — and the procrastination they bring. With the right productivity tips, you can concentrate on your work and get tasks done quickly.
When individuals are productive, the whole team can be productive, avoiding bottlenecks and improving overall output. But how do we achieve good productivity?
Sometimes we struggle with it ourselves, to be honest. That said, we've found some tips that work. Read on for our best productivity hacks.
Why does productivity matter?
Productivity isn't just a buzzword thrown around by managers. Done right, it can help individuals and teams do their work faster and with better quality — and get greater satisfaction out of the process.
People who do things that add value and meaning to their work are happier. Studies show that people are increasingly seeking purpose through their professions. Other research shows that happier employees are more productive!
On top of that, productive individuals will get greater satisfaction through their day-to-day tasks, resulting in better mental health. In fact, research shows that dissatisfaction can lead to health problems by middle age — yikes! We all want to avoid that.
Satisfied, productive employees will also be able to work faster and eliminate bottlenecks, creating a more harmonious workspace overall. This means happier teams that work better together.
Finally, productivity benefits the company as a whole. Happier employees mean less turnover, reducing human resource burdens. Plus, more productive teams get more done, boosting output and (maybe!) profits.
12 productivity hacks that actually work
Talking about productivity is one thing. Actually making it happen? That's another story altogether. The key to success is breaking productivity down into actionable steps. Here are some small things you can do to boost your own productivity.
1. Plan your day ahead of time
Make a plan every day for exactly what you'll do, when you'll do it, and how long it will take. This lets you organize your time, ensures you don't miss important tasks, and keeps you on track, maintaining overall productivity. You can use a productivity planner to structure your day, making a to-do list and then charting out how to tackle it.
2. Jot down the top three tasks of the day
Hey, it happens to the best of us: You plan to get 10 things done in the day but only complete six by the time 5 p.m. rolls around. To avoid working late, set three main tasks or goals for the given day and prioritize them. This also helps you boost productivity, ensuring you're focused on important tasks while still fresh.
3. Work in short bursts
If you're slogging away at your desk for hours at a time, it's normal that you'll get tired and lose steam. To avoid those mini burnouts, commit to working in short bursts and using the rest of the day for breaks. Try the Pomodoro technique: Break your day into 25-minute chunks of high-volume productivity, separated by short rest periods (five-minute breaks) to refresh your fuel tank.
4. Do the easiest task first (or not!)
Many people prefer getting easy tasks out of the way first, freeing up their concentration to focus on more complex jobs. However, others like to get the tough stuff done first, while their minds are still fresh and not distracted by other duties. Figure out which method works best for you and stick to it. You might have to try some trial and error to get it right.
5. Eliminate possible distractions with a website blocker
Let's face it: The workday is filled with distractions. There’s coffee to be consumed, blogs to read, and social media to scroll. Eliminate some of these distractions with a website blocker. Set a defined amount of time during which you aren't allowed to access certain websites. With fewer distractions, you stay focused and productive.
6. Stop multitasking
You might think that multitasking lets you do more, boosting productivity. Think again! In fact, you often work slower when dividing your attention between multiple duties. On top of that, research suggests performance suffers when multitasking. Instead, try single-tasking: Pick one deliverable to work on at a time and focus on that.
7. Choose the right project management tools
Productivity apps and task management software like Asana or Trello let you digitally chart tasks, assign deadlines, and make notes — so you know exactly what to do every day. These productivity tools are also collaborative, letting project teams easily see who's doing what. This eliminates the need for boring meetings and endless email follow-ups — saving time, streamlining workflows, and boosting productivity.
8. Choose the right collaboration tools
Tech-driven collaboration tools remove many hurdles of daily work life. For example, Google Drive makes it easy to share documents in a single shared cloud space, while chat app Slack nixes the need for tedious emails. Meanwhile, Hugo simplifies meeting preplanning by providing organization templates and simplifying note-taking, saving time and enhancing productivity.
Recommended reading: Guide to digital collaboration in your organization
9. Tame your email inbox
Email can be a source of constant interruption in your workday. Get a handle on it by setting specific times during which you'll answer emails. Outside those periods, mute your email notifications and concentrate on your work. You can also mute select email notifications, ensuring the most important emails (like those from your boss!) still get through.
10. Learn to say no
Look, we've all had that one teammate who asks for small "favors" constantly. Learning to say no to extra tasks allows you to maintain a sharp focus on your duties. Sometimes, you may even have to say no to your boss. Simply explain that you're at capacity workwise and are worried that your performance will suffer — or you'll miss a deliverable — if you overload.
11. Use your calendar for more than meetings
You probably have a calendar you use to plan meetings and make to-do lists. You can also use your calendar for time management. For example, block off chunks of your day for core duties: checking email, work time, self-care, phone calls, etc. When you have a chunk of work time, mark yourself as unavailable in your calendar so nobody bugs you.
12. Share links the right way
Searching your email or scrolling through meeting notes to find a URL is super annoying (and an obnoxious way to waste time). OSlash makes it easy to create shareable tidbits for all of your important info — like o/daily-standup, o/onboarding, or o/roadmap. You can also use #tags to categorize shortcuts, making them easier to organize.
Boost your productivity with OSlash
OSlash takes long URLs and simplifies them into short snippets, making it easy to navigate your work. These tidbits are also easy to share with other people, ensuring everybody gets on the same page blazingly fast and without confusion.
Plus, the OSlash search function lets you look for URLs across all your apps and devices. The result? Less time wasted and greater productivity. Try OSlash now.