15 Examples of How To Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Updated February 3, 2023

Learning to optimize your productivity can increase your overall workplace performance and reputation. It can impact your earning potential as well, positioning you for more rapid career advancement. Anyone can increase their productivity by employing specific strategies, although identifying what works best for you can take practice and development. In this article, we discuss the different types of productivity and share 15 examples of how you can increase your own productivity.

What is productivity?

Productivity is a measure of efficiency, usually a person's efficiency, although there are different types of productivity. The most common type of productivity is labor productivity, where you are measuring the productivity of people. Productivity is about completing tasks in less time and with less effort. It can help businesses be more profitable, and if national productivity is increased, it can also raise living standards.

Types of productivity

There are numerous types of productivity, including:

Partial productivity

When a measure of productivity uses only one class of factors, it is called a "partial productivity." In other words, productivity is only measured approximately and not everything is measured. Typical partial productivity measures are things like materials, energy used per unit of production, and worker hours. Labor productivity is also a common partial productivity measure. Labor productivity is equal to the ratio of output volume over labor input use—the total number of hours worked.

Multi-factor productivity

Multi-factor productivity is a measure of economic performance that compares the amount of output to the number of combined inputs that are used to produce the output. This type of productivity measures the input of multiple factors, which could include purchased services, labor, capital, energy and materials.

Total productivity

When you measure all outputs and inputs, it's called total productivity. For a valid measurement of total productivity to be taken, you must consider all production inputs.

Related: 10 Simple Ways To Be More Productive at Work

15 examples of how to increase productivity in the workplace

Here are some examples of how you can increase your own productivity in the workplace:

1. Focus on high-priority tasks

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you organize tasks to decide what your highest-priority, most important tasks are and which things you should delegate and eliminate. Here is an example of what it looks like:

Do: Do this task now.
Decide: Schedule a time to do it.
Delegate: Who can do it for you?
Eliminate: Eliminate it.

2. Reserve 20% of your day for important tasks

Block out 20% of every day to focus on your highest-priority tasks. Even if you aren't able to focus on those high-priority tasks throughout the remainder of your day, you'll still have spent 90 minutes on your top priorities.

Related: The 80/20 Rule Explained and How To Use It (Plus Examples

3. Clean your workspace

A clean, orderly desk and workspace can help you focus better and improve your ability to be productive. In fact, studies show that a clean desk can help you focus on a task more than one and a half times longer.

Read more: How to Address a Disorganized Workspace in 6 Steps

4. Minimize distractions

Turn off your phone and close your email when you are trying to focus on high-priority tasks. Researchers have found that the sound of your phone buzzing—even if you don't look at it—can cause your mind to wander. Close your inbox so you won't have emails distracting you and impacting your focus.

5. Have a plan for meetings

While most meetings don't necessarily have an agenda, it's a good idea to write down in advance what you want to cover at the meeting. Try to limit it to three items or less, and send out notes after the meeting so everyone who attended knows what they're responsible for handling.

Related: The Best Ways to Motivate Your Team

6. Get quality sleep

Quality sleep gives you the ability to focus effectively and accomplish more during the day. Studies have also found that people who didn't get adequate rest were more likely to need sick days throughout the year, impacting their overall productivity.

7. Increase your access to sunlight

Studies have found that workers who sat near a window completed tasks faster and performed better on tasks that involved mental function and memory recall. Consider taking a break during the day to get a few minutes of exposure to sunlight.

8. Exercise regularly

Not only will exercise improve your quality of sleep, but researchers have found that regular exercise allows people to complete problem-solving tasks more quickly.

9. Have a morning routine

Have a morning ritual you follow at the beginning of every day. It could be meditation, reading, exercise or something else. A morning routine helps put you in the right frame of mind to have a productive day.

10. Prepare the night before

At the end of each day, write down three to five things you want to accomplish the following day. You can even go into detail, such as outlining an article you want to write, or writing down the main points you want to cover in a presentation.

Related: 10 Tips for Being More Goal-Oriented at Work

11. Take breaks

Take a break every 90 minutes to two hours. Research shows that's the longest your brain can give a task your complete focus at one time. During your break, get up from your desk, move around, drink water or get outside for some sunshine.

12. Check email only twice daily

Researchers have found that checking email actually gives you a rush of dopamine. This, in turn, compels you to want to check your email again, interrupting the flow of your work. Every day you stop a task to check your email, you impact your productivity levels and also get a rush of dopamine that impacts your energy at the end of the day. Schedule specific times of your day where you'll check and respond to emails before returning to other tasks.

13. Write down your thoughts

Keep a pen and paper close by to write down thoughts as they come to mind. This will allow you to document the idea or task you need to remember without taking up unnecessary brainpower and distracting you from what you're focusing on.

14. Create systems

Systemize your work as much as possible to increase efficiency. This eliminates the need to spend time making decisions, which can improve your day-to-day performance and productivity.

15. Focus on one task at a time

Research has shown that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a task after you have been interrupted. This is why it's important to focus on one task at a time and avoid the temptation to multitask.

Even if you only utilize a handful of these steps, as long as you make them part of your daily routine, you're much more likely to reap the benefits in terms of work productivity.

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