You've probably heard the saying, "Work smarter, not harder". If you're looking to boost your productivity at work, it's time to take this saying to heart.

Increased productivity will help you achieve more in the same amount of time that you're normally at work. These tips will get you on the right track to doing more in less time.

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1. Keep a to-do list for your tasks.

When you start your day, organize your responsibilities into a to-do list. This helps you remember what you have to do, as well as plan out when you're going to work on each item. Cross off each item as you complete it. This serves as a motivator to keep you working and completing your other tasks.

Without crossing off what you finish, you can get lost during the day and feel like you haven't completed anything big. This serves as a reminder of your productivity and keeps you motivated to keep working to cross off everything on your list.


2. Find the time you work best.

Take time to determine the part of the day that you work the best. This can be right when you get into the office, after lunch, or any other part of the day. If you have a task that you're dreading or need to be at your best for, complete it during that time. You'll get a tough task out of the way when its easiest, letting you work at your best throughout the day.


3. Work on one thing at a time.

Although we all think we're good at multitasking, its been shown to be one of the worst things we can do for productivity. When we're focusing on multiple things at once, we don't give enough energy and effort into one specific task. What is left is an inefficient use of time and effort spread across multiple projects at once.

Data backs this up as well. Psychologists have found that we lose 20% of our productivity time due to context switching between tasks. That means answering emails while working on a presentation will eliminate 20% of your productivity while adding a third task eliminates 40% of your productivity. When we switch tasks, our brains can't focus on the required skills and mindset that each different task needs. In the process of adjusting, we lose valuable time of effective work that could be used on one specific item.


4. Group similar tasks together.

This doesn't mean that you should do similar tasks at the same time. However, you should be grouping similar tasks together to increase your efficiency. We know that filling out data in a spreadsheet requires less creative thinking than a project brainstorm. That means you shouldn't be doing those two activities back to back.

Instead, group activities of like requirements together. Update reports, answer emails and do repetitive tasks in the same period. Group more creative and free-thinking activities together as well. That way your brain will be in the right mindset to work as effectively as possible.


5. Take a break every couple of hours.

Think of work as a workout. You have all of the individual exercises that you need to do, so you segment them into their own sections. Between those sections, you take a break to rest your muscles and get water before you're ready to move on to the next exercise. You'd never try to complete your whole routine without any breaks, as you'd hurt yourself.

Work should be the same way. When you finish a task, take a quick break to get water and decompress. Without taking steps to keep yourself relaxed, you'll run yourself into the ground. Besides, we all could make an effort to drink more water.


6. Don't be afraid to delegate or say no.

Part of being productive is taking on what you can handle. Although we'd all like to get everything done we possibly can, it's not realistic to take on projects and work from everyone around you. If you're feeling overwhelmed, check to see if you can delegate any work or let others know that you won't be able to take specific things on.

Working effectively with others requires teams to share the load. If you have too much work, your team will understand if you ask someone to help you with it. Buy them a coffee as a thank you to build team camaraderie.


7. Eat a healthy breakfast and exercise.

Living a healthy lifestyle is one step towards working effectively. Exercise helps you be more alert, providing the focus and clarity you need to be on top of tasks. Eating healthy and exercise are both two factors that support better sleep, which comes in handy for office productivity.

Anyone who's had a bad night of sleep can attest to their performance at work the next day. Getting the right amount of sleep helps you be more alert, making it easy to get your work done in the most effective way possible.


8. Ask for help when you need it.

There's nothing worse than struggling with a project while other work stacks up. To avoid this, ask questions as soon as they come up. If you're unsure initially and keep working without getting it answered, you're going to delay the work you have to do even further. Getting these questions answered right away will let you move on to other areas of your work without having to figure everything out yourself and wasting valuable time.


9. Work remotely occasionally.

Sometimes your surroundings are what's stopping you from working at your best. From chatty coworkers to harsh office light, there are plenty of reasons that your office can keep you from working effectively. Working remotely can help alleviate these problems and let you focus on your work where you're most comfortable.

We found that 79% of remote workers do so because it helps them be more productive. You can set your own hours and work when you're most effective. If you're unsure of how to start working remotely, here's a guide to ask how to start.


10. Mute possible distractions.

It's almost impossible to work effectively if your focus is broken every five minutes from Slack messages or emails. You'll be enticed to respond right away and lose your train of thought and focus on what you're working with.

Signal to other team members when you want to focus on some heads-down work. Update your Slack status to show you're focusing and will get back to others later. Block off time on your calendar so your coworkers can know you're unavailable. When you don't have distractions popping up, you can focus without any disruptions.

Try to keep only relevant tabs open in your browser when you're working. It'll help you get less sidetracked and keep you focused on what you're currently working on as well. You won't have to jump tasks because you saw someone put time on your calendar for a meeting next week.

Becoming more productive at work won't happen overnight, but these tips will help you get on the right track. If you're looking for more motivation, here are our best motivational remote work quotes and these productivity playlists next.

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