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6 ways to increase productivity at work

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Verena Dirnberger

Head of HR

Everybody wants to be as productive as possible in their daily work. Since your workdays only have limited hours, saving time is crucial. That's why we all want to “work smarter, not harder.” But how do you do that? Glad you asked ;) There are different tools and proven methods to help you improve efficiency as well as accuracy in your everyday work life.

We've rounded up six tips with simple strategies for you which can be easily implemented in your daily life.

1. Work with to-do lists

You might think: “Tell me something I don’t know yet ...” But let us explain why you should, and how you can, make to-do lists work for you.

Do you know the feeling when crossing out an item on list of things you need to tackle? Yes, right? And does it make you happy and motivate you to accomplish even more that day? Yes! That’s the reason why a to-do list can help you boost productivity.

These lists are a proven technique to organize your day and feel a sense of accomplishment whenever you can check off a task. They also help organize your work when you feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of assignments you need to tackle, as they simplify your schedule and make your tasks feel less of a challenge. However, to-do lists are just a first step on the way to increased productivity—they are a great start, but they can only do so much.

Pro tip: Start with the biggest topic on the list. Why? Checking off the most feared or tedious or urgent task of the workday helps you focus on other duties without that dreadful, pressing task in the back of your mind and makes you more efficient.

2. Avoid multitasking

Once you’ve organized your daily to dos, focus on one topic at a time. Multitasking is a myth. Or at least that it makes you more efficient. When you try to do several things at once, you fulfill each task with less efficiency and precision. In the end, you'll need more time to complete each item on the list than when concentrating on one specific task at the time.

3. Take breaks

Okay, you know now that it’s vital to write down all your tasks, then focus on one at a time to get them done. What else helps you boost productivity?

Take breaks! This is very important because allowing yourself to relax between tasks greatly increases your productivity. Your brain needs pauses to maintain a high level of concentration, so if you try to finalize your projects without little time-outs you might not be able to deliver the best possible results. Make time to lean back and take some deep breaths every now and then to render your workdays less exhausting—while increasing your work quality and professional success.

4. Limit distractions

It seems obvious that minimizing interruptions and distractions in the office to the best of your abilities will help you maximize your efficiency, but making this actually happen is often harder than one might think.

Colleagues may pop into your office several times a day, or you may have to live with overhearing loud conversations from colleagues in a shared office space. And then there are all those messages and notifications that pop up on your screen. You can easily reduce some of these distractions though:

  • Close the door if you have one in your office to keep outside noises to a minimum and indicate that you’re focusing on a task.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones in a shared office.
  • Block “focus time” on your calendar and let your colleagues know that you are not available during these time slots.
  • Silence instant messages, don’t allow desktop notifications, or close certain applications whenever you need to focus one specific topic.

5. Organize your workspace

A messy desk or office is another kind of distraction—and all distractions have negative effects on your productivity. An organized workspace, on the other hand, can well boost your work efficiency and is also said to reduce stress. Not only because it feels good to work in a tidy office space but also because you don’t need to waste time looking for specific items, for example.

6. Use your devices to boost productivity

Understanding the capabilities of your devices and the tools available for them can increase your productivity, too. We often do tasks by hand on a daily basis which we could actually automate or make more efficient with a simple tool.

Typing emails, filling out forms, or answering support requests are typical tasks where a tool like the Typinator can help you add frequently used email addresses or phrases with a simple shortcut. Plus, it also checks for (and corrects) typos while you are typing. Try out our Typinator app for free now if you believe it could make you more productive! (We’re convinced it does.)

Do you also get confused with the endless amount of keyboard shortcuts different programs use? Dreaming of a handy overview of all available shortcuts of your most-used apps and programs? Then you’ll love KeyCue. Long-press the “command” key to open a window with a list of all available keyboard shortcuts for the app you’re currently using. What’s even better: You can change them and adapt them to your needs if the standard shortcuts don’t feel right for you. Check out KeyCue for free if this sounds like something you need!

Do you need certain special characters in your messages and end up copy-pasting them from the search engine results? No need to google special characters anymore with PopChar. PopChar shows you every font installed on your device and allows you to search for available (special) characters. It also has a drawing option in case you don’t know the name of a character. Sounds cool? Try out PopChar for free and check out the world of possibilities it opens up!

And the moral of this blogpost …

… is that there are so many ways, but also really great tools, that help you work smarter, not harder.

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