Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Career TIPs | How To Become Productive At Work?

How To Become Productive At Work

There are often tiny things which leave big impressions. Being an employee, small initiatives on your part can do much to enhance the quality and productivity of work. Last week we discussed why a productive environment is necessary to motivate and make employees industrious at work. This week we will focus on how can employees themselves inculcate productivity in their profession.

Small events keep happening all day long that influence your basic productivity. Starting with the fresh graduates, the article below gives a list of few things that you can do to produce the best work for your company. The article below starts with top three suggestions specifically for fresh graduates. If you want to be a valued & productive employee, read below and see if you can find a suggestion or two that you can implement right now.

"Getting Started":

Start with understanding and doing your assigned job. Fresh graduates are energetic and hardworking towards the idea of changing the world and want to do something big if provided with an opportunity. Mostly, when you enter professional life, all you have is a basic job description that sometimes might not have any meaning to you. That could be a cause of frustration to some new graduates. If you want to be productive, just do what you are told to do. Instead of thinking about work, it is better to start the work that you are told to do and think about it later. Remember, taking the first step is always difficult, but if you do not take that one step you can never achieve your goals.

The fear of being inexperienced:

As a fresh graduate your productivity can sometimes get affected due to inexperience initially. Learning professional requirements during college is completely different from implying them in practical life. But you do not have to worry much. You have colleagues who will help you do your task along the way. They have been in your position before and they do understand that you need help. Ask required questions to better understand your job nature. Once you get started, everything will come in easy.

The benefits of being new:

One of the supreme privileges of being new is that you are somehow allowed to be a little reckless in anything that you do. But it does not mean that your actions and behavior are not checked. Taking risks is always encouraged but being totally reckless will put you in negative books. By being risky, you are showing that you are able to think outside the box and might find a practice that might be contributing well for the company.

Stay Healthy:

Bad health can also be a possible reason for being unproductive. Before you go to work; take your breakfast, rest well and research about your duties. Partying at night, while working at day is a very wrong combination. A healthy body needs a healthy mind. Besides, you need to be extra careful at the start of your career.

Make an appointment with yourself:

Give yourself at least 30 minutes during the day. This will enable you to concentrate and focus your attention on the matters at hand. Ignore the phone and give yourself time to think and concentrate as you tackle your job and projects. These uninterrupted 30 minutes will give fruitful results in the long run.

Utilize your prime time:

We all have a specific time of the day when we have lots of vigor and zest and a greater ability to think and concentrate. Work out when you have your high energy levels and tackle your most important work at that time. Try to arrange meetings, appointments and other activities at another time of the day.

Avoid unplanned meetings:

Spontaneous meetings are real interrupters as well as huge time-wasters and productivity destroyers. They break your concentration, disturb your thought process while undermine your momentum. The next time someone comes into your office or sits by your desk and start making him/herself comfortable, say that you are in the middle of an important project. Then ask if you could get together at a mutually convenient time later in the day or week. This is called a polite excuse, without offending your peers. This will help you manage your time well without any work place complications.

Schedule telephone calls:

Every time your telephone rings it is an interruption. If you are occupied with an important task, it is fine to let the caller leave a message on your voice mail or answering machine. You can always call back after the important task at hand is finished. It will save time and you can talk to the caller with a freer mind and total concentration.

Schedule your meetings with staff and colleagues:

In most offices, time is wasted when people get up from their desks to ask their colleagues a question. This interrupts the work of both parties. Here are some ideas to help you solve this problem:

  • Fix a specific time to meet colleagues for queries. Best is the time slot which does not fall in the peak hours of work. Collect your important queries and ask them during lunch or coffee breaks.
  • Most businesses hold their meetings first thing on a Monday morning, which drains people of their energy and enthusiasm. Have sales and staff meetings later in the week say on Thursdays or Fridays.
  • Give out tomorrow's work on the previous afternoon. This gives people time to organize the following day's work flow and the opportunity to think about what they need to do.

Don't check email:

Unless it is your job requirement, do not check email until after you've completed your top priority works of the day. Then during the day, check your email in batches, say two or three times a day. This way you will get breaks in work and it will not affect your work efficiency.

Take breaks:

It is a fact that taking breaks periodically during the day relax your body and nerves and refreshes you for the tasks ahead. Ensure that you take small breaks all day. It could be a walk to the water cooler from your cubicle/ office or a visit to the photocopy machine/fax/printer.

Planning required:

Establish a routine of listing your daily and weekly tasks. This will allow you to have your most productive week all the time. Start your day an extra 15 minutes early to do this planning everyday. Write down the top 3 important things you must do that day. Plan your upcoming week on Sunday evening. The weekly plan doesn't have to be extremely detailed. Just include the major items. When you have a list at hand you will have a clear vision about how to utilize your day/week effectively with productive results.

Drop unimportant tasks:

Delete the non-essential items from your to-do list. The best way to do this is to prioritize and complete your most important things first. You will observe that irrelevant things will fall away automatically increasing your productivity.

Enjoy your time at work:

Being productive and competitive in business doesn't mean that you have to be serious all the time. Smiling doesn't mean you're not working hard. Be enthusiastic as well as competitive. Stay positive, that way you can face and win challenges better. Choose to enjoy your time at work but not at the expense of lagging behind deadlines. Find others who are like minded and spread good cheer as it is contagious and it grows. Try to avoid gossip and negative chat. It can be tempting, but it doesn't serve anyone well, including yourself.

Pace yourself:

Go slow. Just take one thing at a time and keep moving forward. If you are having a really low day, you might even want to take care of yourself. Take everything in stride, the deadlines, tough bosses, rude clients, slow computers. Do not build an issue out of hay. Do not mourn the challenges of the world. Simply accept that they are there, and just keep moving forward. Be determined and think that this is just another day and tomorrow will be a better one.

Avoid arguments:

Your goal should be "to make progress." Do not loose yourself in trying to "be right" or to "win" the argument. It will only slow you down. Silence is the best policy to avoid any unwanted situation. If you get into an argument anyways try to resolve it in the best possible manner from your end and as early as possible.

Take your vacation time:

Utilize your vacations; they are good break from work and revitalize your body and soul. It will help you maintain work-life balance. Try doing something different. If you always go on a trip, try taking a more local vacation, and really get some good rest time. Or if you always stay local, try visiting a new place. Variety is one of the keys to happiness.

Ask for help:

Be a team player. Don't be afraid to collaborate with others. Don't wait for your company to tell you what to do. Think creatively about how you can work with others to generate a greater result. This strategy reduces work burdens and more ideas are pitched in during discussions which can help manage the task well with productive results.

Face the tough stuff head on:

If you are encountered with a difficult task you might want to bite the bullet and do it. Never put it off on the following day. In fact do it first thing in the morning. It is like jumping into a cold pool. Once you are in the dip you will complete it with all might. Once you are done with it you will feel light, relieved and happy.

Break negative habits:

Observe your routine for a day or two. Make notes of the difficulties you think you are facing, with people? Certain people? Certain circumstances? Then later on during some quiet time, think about one or two things you would like to work on. You cannot change people but you can bring change in your habits. Your peers will notice it and it will yield good results.

Learn from criticism:

Be a sport and never immediately reject critiques from others, even if you do not like or respect them. Sometimes people you do not like may be giving you more honest feedback than you can get from others. Do not take it personally. Never react promptly rather listen, process, and then decide what positive action you might want to take.


Adapting is in the nature of living beings. Those who do not adapt, become extinct. In the professional world, the same is true for companies, whole groups and for individuals. Be open to change and give it a chance. Adapt to new things while using your experience to guide you, and you will have great success.

Upgrade your learning:

Always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and improve your skills. Look for good seminars and training. Then ask you supervisor if you can attend and will they pay for your admission. If your company pays for education, use it! Borrow books from your local library, the company library, or even from your boss. Borrow some motivational audio tapes from your local library. Keep learning to continually renew your enthusiasm.

This message has been posted on HMGoogleGroup by: Junaid Tahir
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