How to Remain Productive

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Stay productive in the office

In an ever increasingly busy world, time is limited in which to achieve things.  There are limited ways which you can increase your output.  You can work more hours, or you make better use of the hours you work.  Being more productive in your work revolves round limiting impact on your time when you need to focus.   

Tracking tasks

A common approach to increasing productivity can be to form lists.  A simple extension of lists is tracking the amount of time various tasks may take you. You may feel you have a complete handle on how long it takes you to do certain things; but I would bet you will be surprised that when you measure tasks you find that the time they take is usually longer than your first guess.  Why not try it for yourself and see then effect.

Reducing distractions

Turn off alerts, switch your phone to silent and stop in-person interruptions for a block of time.  Focus on the task at hand and the schedule time to reply to e-mails and return calls.  This approach allows you to focus on a single task at a time.    But it also allows you to set your own agenda and schedule and not immediately react to input from others.  For those that cannot switch of certain key calls and communication then use the technology to set an auto text for non-urgent calls, or silent alert for most callers.

This is a difficult one to achieve in the open office environment.  But you might consider blocking some time to work in a quiet area or away from your normal desk to reduce the flow of people when you need to focus.

Make focused task short

Keep your focus time short, 60-120 minutes and no longer.  This allows you to maintain energy and means you are likely to be more productive.  Along with this consider taking breaks.  But 4-5 hours of highly productive focus a day is far better than 12 hours of low value attendance.  Taking breaks between periods of focus helps to maintain productivity; it keeps the subject fresh and can allow reflection.  

It is not reasonable to expect concentration to stay high for long periods.

Set realistic targets

Setting manageable and realistic targets can really aid your productivity. This approach can allow you to focus on the things that matter.  Let’s look at it another way; the tasks you really want to do are those that are urgent, and those that are important.  Urgent tasks need doing immediately.  Important tasks take us forward; these are the tasks that are significant to us making solid progress. There are occasionally tasks that are both urgent and important and these are the tasks that should generally be done first.

But setting your targets is critical to completing those important activities that will make a difference to your performance. So, mapping out time to plan your targets for the week is a good idea. You can even consider mapping out targets for each day.  How you approach this is a personal choice, but adding that focus to your daily activity will help you achieve better things.


Meetings in many organisations just eat up time. Badly run meetings are the enemy of productivity, wasting time and a distraction to your daily activity.  Where you do attend meetings ensure that they are effective and useful.  If you are running a meeting obviously you can drive the agenda. But there will be meetings you are invited to that ramble.  Avoiding meetings altogether can be difficult or impossible, but to minimise the impact always prepare for meetings or seek alternative ways of giving input. For example, meetings that require some travel could become remote meetings via web-based tools.  Other meetings may function perfectly well with some form of submission from you rather than attendance in person.



Being your most productive involves common sense, yet it is something that many people struggle with at some point. Personal and team productivity are two subjects that feature very highly in Internet searches.  It is clear that many people wish to improve this aspect of their working life. This article has discussed a number of ways to tune your own productivity.  It is not comprehensive, but suggested as food for thought.

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