• David Verhaag

How to Improve Productivity at Work

In this age of endless distraction, it has never been more important to truly focus at work. Our best workplace productivity comes when we can get and stay in the flow of work. You know those periods of focus. That time when you cranked out a backlog of account updates, wrote a beautiful blog post or sent some smart email updates to your network. Because of the constant distraction, those periods of pure focus often stand out in our memory. Those periods of focus come when you are fully engaged, focused and in the flow of work. Getting and staying there is easier than it sounds. Here are a few ways of improving your workplace productivity.

Turn off the Distractions

Distractions are all around us. Some workplace distractions are obvious and easy to turn off, like your text ringer, Chrome web alerts, and that annoying Slack bell. But some workplace distractions are less obvious. That quick action of opening a new tab to search for information is a simple but obnoxious road to distraction. How often have you opened a new tab to look for information and found yourself lost down the rabbit hole of search? Reducing this distraction isn’t as hard as it sounds. Tools like Olifano are designed to eliminate that reactive distraction of search. By pulling recommended information into the flow of work these tools eliminate the potential for distraction. No new tab. No open-ended search. No risk of getting distracted with the results.

Single Task

We all know that multitasking is a myth. Research has consistently shown that multitaskers lose time. It takes as much as 15 minutes to regain focus once you switch tasks. Multitaskers also lose information and as much as 40% of their productivity by task shifting. Another key to improving workplace productivity comes from not trying to do more but focusing on doing less. A single task focus allows you to work more efficiently and actually accomplish more in the long run because you are not paying the price for task shifting. Chrome extensions like Olifano can make a single task workflow easy to achieve. By eliminating the need to search for information, tools like Olifano keep you in the flow of work and focused on the single task at hand.

Stay Organized

There is some counterintuitive research that suggests that a neat desk is not necessarily more productive and popular writing goes further by suggesting that, “A messy desk is a sign of genius.” This may be true of your physical desktop, though us neatniks find it hard to believe, but applying the same idea of messy is more productive to your computer desktop and computer files sounds more like madness than genius. Organizing your desktop, the folders and files on your Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. may incur some productivity cost to create and maintain but the productivity gain from being able to find what you need when you need it pays off in improved workplace productivity. Solutions like Olifano take this one step further by not only keeping you in the flow of your work but providing quick access to the latest versions of your files, folders, and emails.

Work Windows to GSD

Once you have turned off your text and Chrome alerts it’s time to do the unthinkable. Close the tab with your email and sign out of Slack. Tools for communication and collaboration are absolutely critical in the workplace but they are a constant distraction and have a net negative impact on our workplace productivity. The urge to check email, the icon alerting you that someone said something on Slack, pull us out of the flow of work as quickly as a cat jumping on our keyboard. Creating work windows, periods of time where you are singularly focused on productive work, can be a huge boost to productivity. Try setting an hour or two each day as a work window where you disable the distractions and focus on GSD (getting shit done). Don’t worry, if you need a reminder of an email, tools like Olifano sync with your Gmail or Outlook and provide quick access to the single email you need without the distraction of the 1500 you are better off ignoring.

Less is More

We all know those people who write long, really long, really really long emails. They annoy us. Short and concise emails have proven to be more effective but still many people feel that they need to include the detail, the background, the context, the history and more often than not it is just too much. You can improve your workplace productivity by simply writing shorter emails. Less is more. Less for the reader to read and respond to and less distraction for all of us in sorting through your missive to understand the point. When additional information or context is needed tools like Olifano make it incredibly efficient to simply insert a hyperlink to additional detail. This gives the reader the option of learning more if they need to or simply responding and getting back to their productive day.

Distractions are all around us and if we aren’t careful can cost us our workplace productivity. With a few simple steps and with the support of tools like Olifano, we can get and stay in the flow of work.

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