Five productivity tips your boss wishes you knew

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Productivity is a topic that holds enduring fascination for a lot of people. How do we do more, create more, and push ourselves to increase our daily output?

We know that finding the key to enhanced productivity would benefit our lives – both on a personal and a professional level. Beyond the usual articles about time management, there may be aspects of your working life that you can tailor to enhance your output – things you may not have considered that can make a tangible difference to your mindset, and ultimately, your output. Here are five things you – and your boss – will wish you’d discovered a long time ago.

The time is now

We’ve all heard the saying ‘there’s no time like the present,’ and this is never truer than when it comes unlocking productivity. How much time do you waste in the office and even at home procrastinating, debating what to do with yourself, and revisiting things? Combat this by implementing a ‘touch it once’ rule. Aim to process everything – incoming email, bills on the doormat, a messy kitchen – only once. If you ‘touch it’ (either physically or digitally) deal with it there and then, and you’ll quickly see how much time you gain back in a day. So, don’t open that email and flag it to reply to later. Don’t pick the post up and leave it on the mantlepiece to sift through later. Deal with things straight away. If you’re a planner, you may also find yourself waiting for ‘the right time’ to do something – whether that’s beginning a project, or even having an awkward conversation. The secret? The right time is now. Taking swift action creates a positive feedback loop with an instant sense of achievement that spurs you on to do even more.

Eliminate energy vampires

Not to alarm you, but we’re surrounded by vampires, all day, every day. Now, this isn’t an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course, but there are people and objects out there whose unconscious aim is to steal the time and energy that you want to conserve. It could be that overly-chatty colleague. It could be that box set you’re not enjoying but are watching anyway. It could be the junk foods you’re eating that are making you feel sluggish and unfocused. It could be the messy desk in front of you. It could even be Facebook. Whatever your personal set of vampires, you must get rid of them, or you’ll never be able truly to make your time your own. Learn to set boundaries for the things that drain you and minimise the time you spend with negative people who sap your Joie de vive.

Cut environmental stress

Most people underestimate the impact of their working and home environments on their stress levels. Mess creates a distraction. Bad design, poor lighting, and uncomfortable seating can all add up to micro-drains on our energy – they don’t seem like significant issues individually. But collectively they can be a productivity killer. If you are serious about realising your goals, perhaps it’s time to invest in a fresh design that can be functional, harmonious and inspirational – find ideas at for office space.

Take back the power

Being a leader is all about your mindset, and a lot of the work is learning how to control situations and exercise your personal power. Becoming more productive relies on you developing this approach too. Firstly, learn to say no to incoming requests. Don’t give in to your people-pleasing instincts if they aren’t going to benefit you. You are in control of your own time, so don’t allow incoming requests to derail your time management. Also, learn to bow out of meetings or create a tightly focused agenda for ones that are necessary. Each morning, take the time to set your non-negotiable goals for the day. Understand exactly what your priorities are, and it becomes much clearer what you’re spending your time doing that isn’t contributing to that – and you then need to eliminate anything that isn’t going to get you closer to a daily goal. It can seem hard to get used to, but once you’ve practiced this laser focus, it becomes much easier. Also, don’t fall into the trap of letting email rule your life. Check it at predetermined times where you can process it all in blocks rather than being distracted every two minutes by whatever is new in – turn off those notifications so that you don’t get pulled into things outside of the time you’ve allowed for it. Find more books about time management techniques over at

Create more time

You might be thinking – impossible! And while it’s true that everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, how you divide that time and get the most out of it is your personal choice. Something that most leaders of large firms have in common is an early wake-up call. It’s not impossible to start your day earlier – you just need to create the habit. What could you do with an extra hour each day? Time to pursue personal goals, get a head start on that urgent project or even to fit in some exercise. Create a morning routine that makes you want to jump out of bed earlier. Claw back time that gets wasted – think about how you could use your commute. Listen to business podcasts or a great audiobook with a service like . You could even learn a language

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