Are Your Workplace Habits Affecting Your Productivity?

Are Your Workplace Habits Affecting Your Productivity?

10/20/15 Laura Gibbons

With increasing demands at work and having to do more with less, it is important to stay focused and productive. And although technology can make our lives easier, it also can tie us down and interfere with our thought processes. So what workplace habits help us be more productive, and which workplace habits hurt us?  First, identify a common feeling(s) that you have at work and then look at behaviors that are contributing to those feelings and to your productivity levels.

Do any of these sound familiar?
I have writer’s block
I can’t think
I can’t focus

If you said yes, check your technology patterns.
In this digital age, being tied to technology can affect our ability to stay focused on work goals. Studies have shown that when we are constantly bombarded with several streams of electronic information – juggling e-mail, instant messaging, reading blogs, interacting on social media and other incoming information – it undermines our brain’s ability to focus because we are unable to filter out what’s irrelevant to the task at hand. This failure to filter means we are slowed down by the irrelevant information resulting in decreased efficiency during the day.

What can you do?
Step away and unplug for 5 minutes, 5 times a day. This may help you revive creativity, focus better, and increase thought processes.

Do you ever feel this way?
I feel so unproductive
What did I even get done today
I’ve started so many things, but haven’t finished one thing

If you said yes, ask yourself if you are trying to multi-task.
When we have so much to do, multi-tasking seems to be the key to functioning most days. But research shows that the brain’s capacity for processing more than one task simultaneously is sharply limited. We might think that we are multi-tasking, but in reality, our brain is rapidly switching its attention resources back and forth from one task to another.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t walk and chew gum, but in general, tasks that require some mental processing seem to be handled sequentially by the brain, not simultaneously. Studies actually suggest that it takes the brain up to 50 percent more time to do two task at once vs. one at a time.

What can you do?
Try to work on one task at a time, giving that task your full attention. Start with 15 minute intervals. To monitor your productivity level, write a to-do list and mark off tasks one at a time and see if you feel more productive at the end of day than when you are so called multi-tasking.

Does this describe your particular day?
I have so much to do
How am I going to get all this done
Where do I start

If you said yes, then take a look at how you schedule your day.
With your task list growing and no more hours in the day, you can easily become overwhelmed and not know even where to begin.  Everything is important, isn’t it!

Stephen Covey shares, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  Essentially, Mr. Covey is suggesting that if it’s important, it must be scheduled just like an important meeting. Otherwise, you run the risk of it not getting done, or at least not on time.

What can you do?
Take time each morning to plan your day. Start with a simple to do list, identifying your two most critical tasks and allocate prime brain time to them. If one task will take 2 hours, schedule that in your day just like an appointment. Keep in mind deadlines, how much time to complete a task, and what time of day you feel most productive. This well help organize your priorities and have a scheduled plan to tackle them.

Do you ever say this to yourself?
I don’t feel challenged
I don’t get excited to come to work
I ‘m forgetting or slowing down

If you said yes, ask yourself if you are stuck in routine.
Sometimes we feel most comfortable in routines, but it is not always best for our minds or our morale. When thoughts, conversations, and activities become routine, our brain gets bored and goes backward. You might have noticed that your productivity has slowed, you are less creative, maybe even forgetful. Remember that changing it up is good for the brain.

What should you do?
Take on a new task at work, volunteer for an upcoming project or assignment, learn a new software program, or cross-train with colleagues. Don’t be scared of change or a new challenge – your brain will thank you for it.

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