How to Jack Up Your Productivity

April 29, 2010 | by Bernie Macintosh

Tips to Increase Productivity Virtual Assistants Pepper Philippines

When you think about it, man’s constant desire for better, faster, more has never seemed to die down or change. Back when we all lived in caves, we invented the wheel to go places, carry heavier loads, basically do things faster, better, and more. Today, the “wheels” may have changed, but we find ourselves yet again more than ever concerned with “more”. We want more work done for own various reasons. More money. More free time. More time to spend with the kids. More chances of moving up in the world. Okay. Now that we’ve established our motivation, how in the heck do we increase productivity (whether our own or colleagues’, or employees’)?

Truthfully, there are no hard and fast rules to do this, but the thing to remember is that productivity is very much tied to happiness. It’s been scientifically proven that happy workers are more productive ones. And as blogger Alex Kjerulf explains in his post here, once you start liking what you do and enjoying your work, your productivity will soar.

I’ll even let you in on a personal story. I started out as a marketing assistant at a bank. To say the least, it was painfully boring and mind-numbing, consisting mainly of making phone calls to clients, confirming they were depositing huge sums of money, in amounts I would never make in a lifetime if I stayed there. How do you think that impacted my productivity?

So maybe for the first lesson in productivity, it goes something like this:

Productivity = Happiness + Purpose

Any human being who disagrees with the “purpose” part is either Sisyphus or a hamster. So if your job right now feels like you’re running aimlessly in a hamster wheel, it’s time to seek better employment. But hey, if you’re happy with that sort of thing, that’s your thing. I personally would run amok with an AK-47 and take my colleagues hostage. But that’s just me. That’s why I left the job at the bank after a week.

In a nutshell, to increase your productivity, FIRST, choose the sort of work or place yourself in the sort of industry where you’re more likely to do the work you like. Sounds simple, but soaring numbers of unhappy workers say otherwise.

Pick the work you like, and try to make sure it won’t feel like there’s a solid brick wall ahead or above you. Do some research on the company, organization, and industry you want to work in; talk to people and Google the relevant topics on them.

Maybe that’s all more suited for long-term strategies in upping your productivity. So maybe a “nutshell” type list will help boost your productivity now.

Here are a few tips for increasing productivity on the job:

1. Create a work environment that suits you.

Start with a comfortable chair. But please, not a La-Z-boy. Recliners are for vegetating in front of the TV or sleeping, not working. If you can afford one of those fancy Aeron chairs, go for it. The key is to tailor-fit your workspace into a “mechanism” you like using. Remember, unless you’re as brilliant and aggressive as Richard Branson, you and your workspace will be together for quite some time.

Decor, lighting, and use of space are also important. Some people like a lot of light, some like it dark. Some use a lot of shelf space, others tuck things away. Some people like the whole Scandinavian minimalist thing, others like to be crowded with their books, magazines, CDs, pictures of soon-to-be girlfriends (that’s not me…) and heck, even toys. Use what works for you, just be sure to not encroach on anyone else’s space.

2. Make a list.

Yes, a list. You have one for groceries, you have one for the people you hated in high school and swear vengeance (again that’s just me), so why not one for your day-to-day tasks? Most people take it for granted, but successful people swear by it.

And really, there’s a feeling of satisfaction in ticking off a task you’ve completed by day’s end. Don’t rob yourself of that feeling. And why do you think PDAs come and go, but the good old filofax and note pad are still around? The tools change, but the practice doesn’t. Jot down that list now.

3. Put on a little music.

So long as you’re not operating heavy equipment, play your favorite tunes.

Studies on productivity have confirmed that workers who listen to the music they like increased their work output by at least 10%. No wonder Sony Walkmans have been selling like hotcakes, at least until the iPod came along.

You want more proof? I’m listening to Depeche Mode as I type this. Not exactly happy tunes to work by, but it keeps my motor running. Oh, and if you’re the only one who likes the music you’re listening to, get a great pair of earphones. Not everyone in Accounting might be able to balance the books while It’s No Good is blasting.

4. Take a break when you need it.

Breaks are okay, and the operative words being “when you need it”. To keep your own motor running, take a break away from the keyboard. Breathe. Take a short walk, have a smoke, talk to people, grab a small bite. Breaking the monotony (so long as you’re not in the middle of something) helps to keep your ball rolling.

5. Reward yourself a little, from time to time.

Remember what we said about happiness? It doesn’t have to be something big.

Give yourself a little pat on the back when you’ve finished something or feel you done good at work. Never discount the importance of little rewards, it will actually help you with a little “happiness boost” to tackle the next task. This can be anything from a small treat, new CD or article of clothing, desk toy or that vintage GI Joe figure with the kung-fu grip you always wanted as a kid.

6. Keep your eye on the ball.

Yes, ironically, to keep your ball rolling at work, keep your eye on whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, long-term or short-term. Oh, and make the goal more “life-related”, more personal. “Finishing tax reports before the end of the fiscal year” doesn’t sound nearly as exciting a goal as “finally learning to ski in the Pyrennes”. Literally have a picture or collage of what you’re aiming for right there as a desktop wallpaper or put it in a place where you can see it or easily bring it out and stare at it for a minute or two. This is visualization. (Get a copy of the book The Secret and you’ll see what I mean). It doesn’t matter if it’s a shiny new car, that vacation in the Maldives you’ve always wanted, the home you’ve always dreamed of buying, or even the celebrity you want to abduct date. When it comes to goals, you don’t have to be 100% realistic. What’s important is you get yourself jazzed up about work, and the feeling of wanting to work harder, if not smarter, will follow.

Of course, these are just a few tips on short-term fixes for upping your own productivity, and maybe encouraging other people in your team to be more productive. Start with these tips and you may discover your own methods that will help put you on the path to heightened productivity, which (could) translate to success, peace of mind, and long-term happiness.

About Pepper Virtual Assistants

Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.

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16 thoughts on “How to Jack Up Your Productivity

  1. Roan

    I totally agree with the Productivity = Happiness + Purpose part. To increase productivity you might want to take a longer break and perhaps consider nature trip to anywhere where its silent and calm.

    Reply
  2. Renante Belarmino

    Yes, this is right; my study shows that a basis and result with relationship does not exist between job fulfillment and presentation. Instead, the two are related because both satisfaction and performance are the result of employee personality characteristics, such as self-esteem, emotional strength, sociability and meticulousness. In general you will be happy if you find yourself more productive and that is one of a great success in your life.

    Reply
  3. Jaque

    Losing happiness and purpose to your work will not only reduce productivity but also it can lead you to quit the job in worst cases. I also experience this in my first job. I regret the quitting part of my story because now I know there could be solutions which this post sited. But thanks to this. this would surely help cope up with stressful company experience in the futre.

    Reply
  4. Camille T. Capistrano

    Yes, I really do agree that there are really no rules on how to jack up your productivity as long as your happy in your chosen career and you had a purpose on staying. I myself will no longer be functional if in the first place I really hate the job. But if there’s satisfaction and happiness in your career you will soar high and become really productive more than anyone else. I think that’s the secret! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Elvy Delos Reyes

    Music really helps in boosting productivity. Personally, i find that it helps to stimulate my brain cells especially during night shifts. When I find my work tedious and boring, I immediately start playing songs with catchy tunes. I also think that music brings co-workers closer together as a unit as you are sharing another side of yourself at work

    Reply
  6. Norie Grace Lee

    Its truly one of the best things in life when you are being paid to do something that you love or like the most. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and motivation for you to pour out your creative ideas for you to be productive because for sure, it will just come out naturally. But the ugly truth is, not everyone is given the chance to land a job that they like or want simply because they don’t have the option. But thanks to this wonderful article on how to jack up productivity, very informative and helpful in making things lighter in a workplace. Simple and basic but are really the most practical things to do. Maybe not everyone is blessed… but every job is worth the try as long as you are willing to give yourself a chance to like it…

    Reply
  7. Abigail Aberilla

    Yeah. I really believe that happy workers are more productive than those who are not. On the other hand, it isn’t easy to snatch the job that you really want because of the immense competition. As a result, many are working for jobs which they do not really like. Well, if you’re perfectly happy with where you are at right now, then you must be among the very few happy workers. I believe that happiness is a matter of mind-setting. If you choose to be happy with your work then it comes hand in hand (whether you really like your work or not). However, there are also factors which contribute to a worker’s happiness, among which is the compensation at work. If one is compensated enough at work then that’s something to be glad about. In my own opinion, it’s a matter of desensitization. The more that you are exposed to that specific work, the more you get used to it and get attached to it. Through that you will learn to love what you are doing and work will just be a playground for you.

    Reply
  8. CARLOS

    PRODUCTIVITY means achievement. Yes indeed happy workers are more productive than those who are not. In attaining the productivity or your job it entails a series of evaluation, in which a worker does a thing in order to satisfy its own work. I guess complacency doesn’t count here but then discipline should raise its bar over complacency and dullness of such worker. Have fun with the job and impose such thing for ones self and sure enough you reach the goal with lots of colors. As to the tips being presented in the blog, it really helps the worker to very much inspired in working. Those tips makes a comfort comfort zone for a worker. and this is productivity, an achievement of ones self….

    Reply
  9. CARLOS

    PRODUCTIVITY means achievement. Yes indeed happy workers are more productive than those who are not. In attaining the productivity or your job it entails a series of evaluation, in which a worker does a thing in order to satisfy its own work. I guess complacency doesn’t count here but then discipline should raise its bar over complacency and dullness of such worker. Have fun with the job and impose such thing for ones self and sure enough you reach the goal with lots of colors. As to the tips being presented in the blog, it really helps the worker to very much inspired in working. Those tips makes a comfort comfort zone for a worker. And this is productivity, an achievement of ones

    Reply
  10. CARLOS

    PRODUCTIVITY means achievement. Yes indeed happy workers are more productive than those who are not. In attaining the productivity or your job it entails a series of evaluation, in which a worker does a thing in order to satisfy its own work. I guess complacency doesn’t count here but then discipline should raise its bar over complacency and dullness of such worker. Have fun with the job and impose such thing for ones self and sure enough you reach the goal with lots of colors. As to the tips being presented in the blog, it really helps the worker to be very much inspired in working. Those tips makes a comfort comfort zone for a worker. And this is productivity, an achievement of ones self…

    Reply
  11. Karina

    Thank you for this interesting and informative post.

    As my practice to help me increase my productivity at work, I would usually ask my boss about a very specific task he would give. Asking relevant questions are so important because it helps me narrow down the options on what he has on mind. It also helps me to focus more on what is important to do or write about. That way, it increases my productivity because I can actually do a lot in a short time. It saves time in a way that all what you have made and submitted to your boss won’t go to waste because you met his expectations.

    I also read the book ‘The Secret’ which talks about the power of the mind. Instead of thinking, “I CAN’T DO this…”, well, the best way to get what you wanted is to think that “I CAN DO this!” Always see the glass half-full! 🙂

    Reply
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