six tips to increase office productivity

October 8, 2013

tips for office productivity

There are some days I swear I have no idea what I accomplished that day — you know when the whole thing is a blur, when there’s a million meetings or emails, and you just can’t get a minute to get a major project done — and yet there are other days when I feel like I’ve conquered the world. Those are good days. I have high standards in my office for #gsd (getting shit done, as Meg refers to it), and while I can certainly procrastinate like the best of them, I have a few tricks to ensure I #gsd when I need to.

Six tips for a more productive work day: 

1. Make lists. Who doesn’t love crossing an item off a to-do list? I have been known to add an item on a to-do list just to cross it off (truth), but ultimately there is no better system than making a to-do list. Since I work at a PR firm I organize mine by client with a separate section for office tasks (invoicing, proposals, RSVP for an event, etc). From there, I often highlight the top 3-4 items to accomplish, and review at the end of the day; at this point, I either make a new to-do list and/or highlight new items for the next day. Having your to-do list ready when you walk in the door is huge; just hit the ground running.

2. Give yourself a breather. Taking a break — particularly after a productive spurt or completing a job — can be critical to long-lasting productivity. Don’t diminish the importance of a few minutes of fresh air, going out to lunch, grabbing a coffee, checking your social platforms or anything else that takes you away from your monitor or desk space to stretch your legs for a few.

3. Disable your email system function that shows you new messages filtering in…. or close your inbox. Distractions! I know, you’ll feel like you’re missing out (#fomo), and what if someone has to get something from you urgently, or needs something urgent? It’s called the phone, and hopefully they’ll use it. I tell myself, if I was in a meeting I could be unavailable for 1-2 hours and somehow people are OK with it. Give yourself the same freedom even if you’re at your desk. You’ll be incredibly more productive if you’re not jumping back and forth between a million tasks and topics.

4. Learn how to nicely tell people to get away. I mean this in the nicest way possible. Desk visitors, be it to gossip for a few during their break, or to ask you a question — so they can get their job done — is hindering you getting yours done. Be honest, and nicely ask desk visitors if you can stop by in a few minutes when you’re done with a project. Smile and say, “I’m just in the zone.” {smile is key!}

5. Invest in your space. Within your control, is your space inviting, inspiring and ‘you’? Whether it’s a cubicle, an office space or just a desk, find ways to make it yours. Keep a stash of all the supplies you regularly use, including your favorite pens, key phone numbers or data you regularly cite, a few happy photos or momentos, and tada, you’re done. Just be aware of clutter. Create folders with labels or another organization system that doesn’t clutter your space; it clutters your brain, too.

6. Fuel Up. It’s easy to walk out the door without eating breakfast but there’s a reason why nutritionists constantly call it the most important meal of the day. I regularly eat a pb&j sandwich on a 100% whole grain english muffin for breakfast because it’s fast, healthy and filling. I take a banana or apple, too.

What do you eat to stay fueled? And, any other tips for you to #gsd? Would love for you to comment in the area below. 


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  • Robin Bradley Hansel

    Great tips, Alyson! Thanks. The shutting down email alerts is a critical one for me.

  • Lyddiegal

    Yes, emails are a huge distraction, but I also have a problem where if I don’t respond right away, I might forget about it until the next morning and then I feel super guilty.

  • sandyalamode

    i need to do the invest in your space one! my work space is a huge mess!

    Sandy a la Mode

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