It is a fact that modern workplaces are increasingly coming up with unprecedented challenges for both employers as well as freelancers and employees. New working models are being established, remote working and hybrid working are gaining momentum at a fast pace and globalization of team working is also a common phenomenon. With the advent of social media and various modern content distribution and communication channels, it is very easy to get distracted by the tons of information which comes in every day. At the same time establishing a work-life balance is of paramount importance for the overall health and prosperity of the individual.
With the above thoughts in mind, I believe it is useful to summarize the top five (5) steps which you can take every day to optimize your productivity in the modern workplace:
- Plan ahead and manage your projects. It is never a good idea to leave everything for the last minute. A good professional is a good planner. You should always plan ahead of time and understand the requirements of each project, break down each project into manageable tasks and organize the execution of tasks by making use of project/task management tools which make sense to you and your team, such as Microsoft Outlook. Do you have anxiety over the next project? Do your homework, test things in a lab if needed, be a proactive player and plan for project implementation dates, taking into account the X factor, which is very common in real life projects’ timelines.
- Avoid distractions and time wasters. It is very each to get distracted by that email which just came in and seems to be urgent. It is not very easy to separate the really urgent stuff from the time wasters. It would be good to establish a zone-out phase during your work day when you will have no distractions from email and you will be focusing on what is really important and of high priority. Really urgent tasks can be dealt with by phone if needed. Also other time wasters in today’s modern workplace include the social media any single piece of information from the Web which can come in and break your productivity momentum. Try to stay away from these well-disguised time killing traps and stay on course. Try to introduce yourself to new health habits, such as walking, daily physical exercise and healthy dietary choices.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Doing multiple things at the same time does not work for anyone, not even for computer CPUs. Everyone and everything is actually doing one thing at a time. Humans and designed to be efficient single tasking beings and not multitasking. For this reason it is significant to prioritize your work and always focus on the most important tasks first, one at a time. Everything else can wait for its turn. Trying out meditation or other breathing and inner focus techniques will certainly be of benefit to any professional on the quest to finding focus.
- Take a break and walk. Never underestimate the importance of frequent breaks throughout your working day. Keeping physically active is equally important as being mentally busy. Make it your top priority to take frequent breaks and take a walk out in the nature (if you have this luxury). The quality of your breathing is essential and it is easy to lose balance. Keeping a healthy breathing rhythm throughout the day is a challenging task but probably the most important one to accomplish. Furthermore, the social interaction element with your family, friends and working peers can contribute to your mental well-being and improve your performance during the day.
- Find purpose. Probably this is the hardest factor for anyone to master, however it is true that accomplished and successful professionals have managed a way to find purpose in their lives through their profession. Always seek to answer the why, why you are doing what you are doing, try to take a step back and see the big picture during times of turmoil and establish goals in your workplace which align with your greater goals in life. Finding fulfillment in what you do every day is the single most important factor which will reward you in your career in the long run.