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Increasing productivity is a top priority for every business, from the multi-billion-dollar conglomerates to the humble local solopreneur. A perennial question employers and their employees are continually asking is how to increase productivity at work. Will extra cups of coffee help you do more at work? Or can you achieve more at work by using powerful list-making apps?

Why is there so much emphasis on productivity at work? Companies devote a sizeable amount of resources to measuring productivity at work as it helps them identify workers who are doing more to move the organization towards its goals. You sure want to be among the high achievers and enjoy the perks that come with that recognition.

But how do you rev up your productivity sustainably and ethically without damaging your health or drawing the wrought of other people at your place of work? There are thousands of productivity advice out there- many depend on the workplace atmosphere, and there are hundreds that you can implement by yourself.

Let’s look at five habits that could transform you into the go-to person regarding productivity at the workplace.

Come early, leave later

Do you live in an overpopulated city with large vehicular traffic and humans bumping into each other in the mornings and evenings? You could use this habit to skyrocket your productivity levels.

One of the easiest and most effective ways of increasing your productivity at work is to arrive early and stay later. Coming to work early helps you achieve two things. First, you beat the early morning traffic and the energy-sapping fatigue it causes at work. Secondly, you have some quiet, distraction-free time to begin the day’s work, bubbling with energy, creativity and a strong enthusiasm to conquer your day. By the time your co-workers arrive at the office, you would have checked some important tasks off your to-do list for the day. Research suggests that one of the biggest factors that reduce productivity in the workplace comes from interruptions from colleagues, but you can give yourself a good head start when you arrive earlier.

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This also applies to close time. Rather than join the hundreds of thousands of other tired workers heading home at rush hour, you could spend an extra hour at your desk to allow the traffic to lighten up before leaving the office. Doing this can help add 2-3 extra hours to your productive time at work, considerably boosting your productivity, and could also make you one of the highest paid employees in your organization and industry.

Plan the next day tonight

In every human endeavour, planning is a crucial element of any successful project to the extent that failing to plan has been equated to planning to fail. You could start your day on a strong footing by spending some minutes planning how to spend it the night before. It’s surprising how much you can achieve with a 10-minute to-do list, but most people don’t cultivate this habit, and it tells on their productivity.

Make a habit of prioritizing your tasks for the next day on a to-do list, making sure to place the most important tasks at the top of the list and allocate time for each task accordingly. Prioritizing your tasks will not only increase your productivity at work, but it will also help you become more efficient at allocating your time to other aspects of your life such as family time, volunteer work, and exercise. In short, planning can help you achieve more by getting the most important tasks done faster.

Stop multitasking

Are you a staunch believer in multitasking? Are you really at your best when you are listening to music and writing a report at the same time? Well, research suggests you might be mistaken. Several studies, including this study from Stanford, strongly suggest that multitasking is actually bad for productivity and could lower your general intelligence.

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While multitasking can seem natural to most people as we can cook and have a conversation on the phone simultaneously or eat and pay our bills online, research shows it doesn’t translate to getting more done. Another research suggests that people who multitask achieve a subpar performance at all the tasks they do simultaneously, however, we are under the illusion that we can get more done by multitasking.

The reasons for this anomaly is biological. Our brains are not wired to take on more than one task at a time, which leads to underperformance whenever we try doing multiple tasks simultaneously.

While many believe they can accomplish more by multitasking, the reality is the opposite. To enhance productivity at work, focus on one task at a time.

Take breaks

Research suggests that taking breaks after working for one or two hours can increase productivity at work. The brain becomes numb after concentrating on a specific task for too long, reducing your efficiency. By taking regular breaks from work, you help the brain reset so it can start afresh with more vigour. Taking a break can also help your mind soak in input from the surrounding, increasing your creativity and effectiveness at work.

One great way of taking breaks is to leave your office for lunch. The change in environment can help relieve stress, sharpen your focus, and get your creative juices flowing for the rest of the day. If that is not possible, consider taking a short walk away from the monotony of your desk area to clear your head.

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Always have your goals in sight

We all have lofty goals that are dear to our heart and essential to our professional success. Once you are clear about your goals, make sure they are always in sight at all times. You may write down your goals on a postcard that you stick to your desk, on your phone, in a notebook, or a note card that you keep in your wallet. Wherever you prefer to keep them, be sure to have your goals somewhere you can always see them throughout the day. This strategy aims to spur you to put more effort into achieving your goals.

Make an effort always to outperform yourself with every passing day since what got you here won’t get you farther. The best of yesterday belongs to the past. Your goal should be to become that one person that delivers so much value your workplace sees you as indispensable to their success.

You can achieve it. Believe in your abilities and make a conscious effort always to improve your productivity at work, and you will become a highly productive person capable of living your dreams and attaining your highest potential.

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