25 Tips to Become More Productive and Happy at Work
Have you gotten into a rut at work? Would you like to be more engaged, satisfied, and fulfilled in your work? Would you like to be more productive and feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of each day? Well you can. It just takes a desire and commitment to renew your habits and routines. Follow these tips and you’ll see your work life improve. And that improvement will trickle into the rest of your life too.
- Planning. Establish a routine of planning your week and your day. This will allow you to have your most productive week all the time. Start your day an extra 15 minutes early to do this planning everyday. Write down the top 1-3 important things you must do that day. And most importantly, set and reach your Goals! Use the power of intention to get there! (This is what adds jazz to your life! And focusing on your future helps you get through challenging times.)
- Power Question. Keep a question like this at your desk to help you stay focused: “Am I making the most of my time right now?” or “Is this the most productive use of my time?”
- Accept That You’ll Never Finish Your Task List. For perfectionists and overachievers this is as frustrating as a greyhound forever chasing the mechanical bunny around the track. Get off that track. Just make sure you work on your most important stuff first. Let the fluff slide, not your priorities.
- Turn off Your Computer. “What?!” you say. “Everything is done on my computer!” Well is it really? What percentage truly is? Plan to have your computer on only for that amount of time each day. Plan out blocks of time for different computer tasks and work from a checklist to keep you focused. Giving your eyes a rest from the screen will give you more energy for creating. Even if you just close your eyes as you think of a response to an email can help too.
- Don’t Check Email First Thing. Unless this is required in your job, then let it go until after you’ve completed your top priority of the day. And then process email in batches, say two or three times a day.
- Take Breaks. It’s a fact that taking breaks will increase productivity. It’s been proven in studies. If you need to, find someone to help ensure you take a morning and afternoon break.
- Make the Most of Your Commute. How do you spend your commute? Make it positive time. Use it for reading, writing, creative thinking, creative projects, listen to audio books, or, heck, write your own book! If you enjoy your commute, that happiness will spill over into how you feel at work.
- Drop Unimportant Tasks. Delegate or delete the non-essential items from your to-do list. The best way to do this is to always do your most important things first. Somehow, miraculously, extraneous things will fall away.
- Transitions. Make sure you plan in enough time between activities and appointments, and find ways to fail proof being on time.
- Choose Happiness, Humor, Enthusiasm, Gratitude, Kindness, and a Positive Outlook. Being productive and competitive in business doesn’t mean that you have to be serious all the time. Smiling doesn’t mean you’re not working hard. Enthusiasm doesn’t mean you’re not competitive. Being positive doesn’t mean you’re blind to challenges. Choose to enjoy your time at work. Find others who are like this and spread good cheer. It’s contagious and it grows. Try to avoid gossip and negative chat. It can be tempting, but it doesn’t serve anyone well, including yourself.
- Cultivate Compassion for Negative Coworkers. People who are negative are that way for a reason. They may have difficulties you don’t know about. Try to be compassionate and non-judging. If you’re a manager, people still need to meet benchmarks, but you don’t have to dislike them if they are not cutting it. When you encounter a negative person, you have the choice to either be affected by the negativity or to be the one who influences the other person. It’s a decision. Choose to stay positive. Instead of saying (in your head or out loud) “Oh, that Suzy-Q! Her negativity always ruins my day,” try thinking “Poor Suzy-Q. She must have some difficulties. I wish her peace. In spite of her negativity I will try to be a positive influence around her.”
- Pace Yourself, Especially on Bad Days. Go slow. Don’t be in a hurry. Just take one thing at a time and keep moving forward. If you’re having a really low day, you might even want to take care of yourself by playing hooky ! 🙂
- Take Everything in Stride. Deadlines, tough bosses, rude clients, slow computers. Don’t make them into large dramas. Don’t lament the challenges of the world. Simply accept that they are there, and just keep moving forward.
- Conflicts with Others. Let your goal be “to make progress.” Don’t get caught up in trying to “be right” or to “win” the argument. That will just slow you down. In your mind ask yourself, “what will move this conflict forward right now?” And then get busy doing that.
- Take Your Vacation Time. Try doing something different. If you always go on a trip, try taking a more local vacation, and really get some good rest time. Or if you always stay local, try visiting a new place. Variety is one of the keys to happiness.
- Pick Your Battles. Cliche, but true. It’s kind of like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” When you complain or fight on everything, then your power to ask for things is diminished. Save it up for when you really need it.
- Share Your Results. This is not about bragging, but about ensuring that you get credit for the hard work you do. Don’t keep quiet thinking that the right people know what you are doing. Speak up and find ways to let the right people know how you are contributing to the success of the company.
- Ask for Help. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with others. Don’t wait for your company to tell you what to do. Think creatively about how you can work with others to generate a greater result than if you had each worked on this alone.
- Face the Tough Stuff Head On. If there is something difficult that you must do, just bite the bullet and do it. Don’t put it off. Do it first thing in the day. It’s like jumping into a cold pool. Just count to three and do it!
- Ask for More Time. If you are asked a question that stumps you or surprises you, never feel like you have to answer it right away. (unless you absolutely must) Seek more time to think about or research your answer. Simple as this, “I’ll have to get back to you with an answer later.” This will save you from giveing an answer you will regret.
- Breaking Negative Habits. For one day, observe yourself. Where do you face difficulties? With people? Certain people? Certain circumstances? Take notice and then later on during some quiet time, think about one or two things you would like to work on. Set up some kind of reminder system to fail proof it, such as a simple yellow sticky note next to your computer.
- Learn from Criticism. Don’t immediately reject critiques from others, even if you don’t like or respect them. Sometimes people you don’t like may be giving you more honest feedback than you can get from others. Don’t take it personally. Even if it is personal, who cares? Listen, process, and then decide what positive action you might want to take.
- Adapt. Adaptation is the number one survival skill of living organisms. Those that don’t adapt, become extinct. In the work world, the same is true for companies, whole groups, and for individuals. Be open to change. Give it a chance. Adapt to new things while using your experience to guide you, and you will have great success.
- Learning and Improving. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and improve your skills. Look for good seminars and training. Then ask work if you can attend and will they pay for your admission. If your company pays for education, use it! Borrow books from your local library, the company library, or even from your boss. Borrow some motivational audio tapes from your local library. Keep learning to continually renew your enthusiasm.
- Creative Thinking. Is your job boring? If so, take some responsibility in changing that. How can you make it more fun, more creative, more varied, etc.? What can you do that no one has done before? How could you grow enthusiasm at work? What is a new way that you could do old things? What processes could you alter to save time, work and money?
What makes you more productive and happy at work? All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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