3 tips to boost your productivity

Moira Dunne outlines three ways you can boost your productivity and hit the final quarter of the year running.

August can be a strange time when it comes to productivity. The business may be slower but there are many distractions too with annual leave, summer events and good weather. It is hard to stay focused as the summer comes to an end.

Whether you are working in a hybrid model or fully remote, it is important to get the best return from the hours you work.

“If you are not happy with your workdays, do something about it. Start by understanding where your time goes each day”

Below we share three tips to boost your productivity. Small, practical changes that you can make right now to take control of your time.

Being productive

Imagine finishing each workday with a sense of achievement, knowing that you had done everything on your list? For many people, that is the simplest definition of being productive. Making a plan and then sticking to it. It helps us deliver the important things in our role, but it also contributes to our well-being.

It can be motivating to have a good day at work. But too often a productive day is followed by a stressful day. A day where everyone else seems to control your time and you end the day with more things on your task list than when you started!

Take Control

Happy worker raises fist in triumph.

If you are not happy with your workdays, do something about it. Start by understanding where your time goes each day. In most busy work environments, there are lots of daily requests and urgent issues. As a result we spend a lot of time in reactive mode responding to others instead of making progress toward our goals.

To change to a more proactive way of working you need to develop good habits. This helps you take control of your time and take charge of your workdays.

Tip 1 – Protect Your Time

To protect your time, it is important to have a plan for your own work. Each week set out the key pieces of work you want to get done. I don’t mean a plan for every minute of every day because this is too inflexible in today’s fast-paced world.

Simply list out the things you want to get done by the end of the week. The targets you absolutely must reach by Friday. What will make you feel productive?

This plan gives you a focus for each day. You will be motivated to complete your tasks to achieve your target by the end of the week.

Tip 2 – Say ‘When’ Not ‘Now’

Without a plan, it is hard to say no when someone asks makes a request. You want to help and may feel compelled to respond immediately. Now your weekly plan will help you quickly assess which work should take priority.

For work that seems like a lower priority to you, ask the requester when they need it. They may say, “straight away” but from time to time you will be surprised. The question prompts them to assess their own timescale. It also lets them know that you don’t automatically drop your current work to respond to each new request.

You are not saying no but negotiating a response time that suits your plan. Use your judgement to decide the best response based on the urgency of the request and sometimes, the requester.

Tip 3 – Make Progress on The Big Things

It can be hard to find time to work on bigger projects or goals. But often this is our most important work. Sometimes we wait for a quiet week or a free block of time in our diary. But of course, those days never come and important work gets pushed out.

So start using your weekly plan to achieve your long-term goals. Include actions to get started on a project. Set a target to complete a goal. Bit by bit, task by task, make progress each week so that when the deadline arrives you have some or all of the work done.

Productivity resources

At beproductive.ie we run lots of workshops and webinars to help Teams examine their Productivity. If you would like to book a session, contact Moira to find the best solution for you. For further tips on productivity, you can access the beproductive.ie blog here.

Moira Dunne
Productivity consultant Moira Dunne is founder and director of beproductive.ie