4th February 2022

How co-workers improve productivity levels 

It’s an age-old conundrum for good reason: How can we improve our productivity at work. Regardless of whether you are employed, self-employed, co-working or working out of the cupboard under the stairs, sometimes it can feel challenging to remain consistently productive.  

Some people experience a fairly consistent level of low to moderate level of productivity but for others there’s a cycle of extreme high levels of productivity, which are sometimes followed by periods of burnout. The trick is balancing ‘staying well’ and relatively productive – it’s a fine balance. 

Ultimately we want to be striving for something that’s obtainable. Nothing too complicated, nothing too taxing, but something that will allow us to be productive yet not feeling the burn. It just requires some focus, good time management skills and a few deliberate approaches that will lead you to a more productive space at work. 

Here are 9 ways (because 10 feels a bit too productive, and we like to keep people guessing) to boost your productivity levels:  

 1. Think smarter not harder

 How is your prioritising? Do you have this nailed or are you hammering away with not much to show for it? Some people like to keep food diaries to track where they are spending their calories. You might like to try keeping a diary to log how much time you spend on different tasks such as client meetings, sending emails, internal meetings, invoices, admin, planning and other day to day tasks you do regularly. Do this over a period of any given working week. Explore how much time you’re spending on your core tasks and consider what you can cut back on and whether there are any changes you can make.  

 2. Boundaries and meetings 

 Speaking of meetings. These can often be one of the biggest time-drainers yet for some reason, we keep booking them in, and then moaning about them. Before you book your next meeting, consider whether you can achieve the same outcomes or actions through another mode such as email, video conferencing or phone. 

 3. Don’t be afraid of breaks

 This might sound a little counterintuitive but actually, from taking regular breaks you can really boost your concentration. There’s even research that shows how taking short breaks during longer pieces of work can aid your performance levels. Whereas, working for long periods without a break will lead to a gradual dip in your performance. 

 4. Drop perfection

 We all have an inner perfectionist keeping standards high. (Even if it doesn’t always feel that way during busy periods.) It’s very common for solopreneurs and co-workers to get a little hung up on trying to perfect a project, when actually, the reality is never far from perfection. Life just isn’t like that. Instead of spending time chasing after this holy grail, try just bashing out the task to the best of your ability, before moving onto your next job. It will feel better to have finished one job and have this ticked off and you can always return to what you started and improve upon it later if you need to.  

 5. The 90-minute rule

 A bit like the 3 second rule, but in other ways, not. Researchers have found that elite performers such as sports people and musicians that work in intervals of around 90 minutes, generally find they are more productive than those who work more than 90 minutes at any given time.  

 6. Feel empowered about your deadlines

 The right amount of stress can actually be a good thing. It can provide us with focus, motivation and help us to reach our goals. When working on an open-ended project, consider giving yourself a deadline to work towards. You might be curious to see how motivated and productive you can be when you’re clock-watching. 

 7. Walk the talk or walk and talk

OK, so we’ve talked about meetings and the possibility in reducing unnecessary meetings. But if and when you do plan meetings, why not consider either standing meetings or else walking ones. (Bear with us.) Standing meetings are said to boost group arousal and decrease territoriality, leading to group performance. For smaller meetings, you might like to encourage colleagues to join you for a walking meeting, to boost exercise and increase oxygen levels – both also good ways to boost serotonin levels.  

 8. Don’t break the “two-minute rule.”

 Entrepreneur Steve Olenski is known for being an advocate of the “two-minute rule”. The idea is to make the most of those small windows of time that you have during your working day. It’s a simple principal, the idea is this: If you have a two minute task on your list (or less), just do it right await. Apparently completing the task immediately reduces the time it takes to return to it later. Plus, we reckon that the motivation and sense of satisfaction you get from ticking off a few simple tasks could easily get you on your way to diving into meatier tasks. 

 9. Pooling your know-how

 One of the great benefits of co-working is of course being surrounded by other professionals that you can learn from, share ideas with and feel inspired by. What better way to become more productive than from pooling your knowledge and allowing a sharing of ideas and talent to make work a little more productive, without the added cost or energy.