10 Strategies for Improving Work Productivity

July 11, 2016 • Zachary Amos


The goal of improving work productivity is easier to set than attain.

Taking on everyday goals requires that a person become a well-tuned work machine removed from distractions and ready with techniques to make things easier. Try out some, or all, of these tricks and see if your overall productivity gets a nice boost.

1. Un-focus On Your Goals

This one sounds a bit insane. We start getting the idea of setting a goal drilled into our heads early in life. Psychological research tells us something altogether different, though. The more goal-oriented we become, the less we tend to meet our goals successfully.

It turns out it’s more effective to stick to things like the process of our projects, instead of keeping an eye on a prize we may not get.

2. Close the Curtains

No, it’s not about finding privacy or keeping light out. In this case, by putting your drapes together you’re cutting out distractions from the outside world. This is especially the case if you live near a main road or a building with high volumes of people, such as schools. It’s a simple fix most people don’t think to make.

3. The Pomodoro Technique

This technique was inspired by Francesco Cirillo. He used a tomato-shaped timer to work on 25-minute tasks without breaks. That’s right — just one task. Once the task is done, take a five-minute break, then start the timer again on a new task. Who knew improving work productivity could be broken down so simply?

4. Be Deliberately Inefficient

As odd as it sounds, sometimes a little bit of slacking off will help increase our effectiveness. We assume that we can get work done with a factory-like mindset, but humans are not machines in an assembly line. These moments of inefficiency are outstanding sources for increasing your overall creative output.

The reality of daily life is that many processes, whether it’s the scientific method or a long trip, rarely work in a linear manner. So it wouldn’t hurt to take a step back. That way, you’ll be able to really think about the task you’re working on.

5. Pause Training

This works almost as a variant of meditation. The distractions and discomforts of the world around you must be attended to. But instead of clearing out all thoughts from your mind, concentrate instead on the one task you want to complete today. Observe the obstacle that’s getting in its way in a physical manner, and then confront it.

There are more details available about how pause training works if this isn’t enough for you, but if this is your first time, just sit down and give it a shot. After all, you can’t hope to start improving work productivity if you can’t accomplish at least one one task each day.

6. Make Yourself Accountable

Having a deadline hanging over your head is always a powerful engine for working efficiently — productivity and accountability are concepts that are very connected to one another. You have to find ways to stay on task because, whether self-imposed or not, the last thing you want is to fail your deadlines and then still be required to answer to others. On a more positive note, you’d be surprised to see how your procrastination evaporates when a deadline is set.

7. Check On Your Work Diet

There’s a direct connection between what we eat and our work performance. The right nutrition becomes the perfect fuel for the day ahead. But what’s the best source of nutrition that can serve that function?

A good rule of thumb is to do a little bit of research on what food fires up your brain the most, but a banana to start your day isn’t a bad idea.

8. Work On-the-Go

Staying mobile can make you productive — perhaps more so than staying in one location. For some people, there’s a certain something about public transportation — trains in particular — that create the sort of ambiance you need to get the work done before you get to your destination.

There has even been a program for writers to ride trains for this specific purpose.

9. Block Access to the Internet

If you have enough self-control to keep away from a browser full of distracting websites, good job! If you can’t stay off Facebook, Twitter or email, though, it might be time to take matters into your own hands and cut yourself off.

There’s a wide variety of apps that can block your browser from accessing distracting websites. The same applies for smartphones — you can find apps that lock you out for periods of time that you decide on in advance.

10. Push the Negative Vibes Away

Finally, remember that we need to be realistic about the fact that, even when you make your process and activity efficient, you won’t finish everything, or you’ll still slack off from time to time. This will produce some guilt and make you feel bummed out.

Answer this tendency by forgiving yourself and let the negativity go. Psychologists have shown in their research that self-forgiveness can help decrease procrastination.

If you can think of any other tips for improving work productivity, feel free to suggest them in the comments section below!