Productivity Killers: 4 Ways to Make Better Use of Your Working Hours


Even on the busiest of days, it can be hard not to get distracted by social media, smartphones, chatty colleagues, or personal to-do list items. So how do you keep your professional blinders on and power through your tasks with efficiency? Practice these four tips and witness your productivity skyrocket—easing stress and bringing renewed energy to your daily duties.

  1. Create a sense of peace and quiet.

The office may not be your idea of a tranquil oasis, but for most, focus requires quiet and calm to best lend attention to the task at hand. If you find yourself seated next to talkative coworkers or in the center of a bustling office atrium, consider noise canceling headphones, earplugs, or carving out an empty conference room for your work day. Turning the volume down creates fewer chances for disruption, allowing you to make the best use of your time.

  1. Organize your workspace.

A messy work area breeds anxiety and distraction, but a clean and organized desk inspires efficiency. If you’ve got a busy day ahead, take fifteen minutes and organize your workspace: gather miscellaneous papers into their proper place, dispose of out-of-date or unnecessary documents, or give your keyboard a dusting. Not only does cleaning and organizing your workspace prepare you for the work ahead, it also helps you transition to a productive, goal-oriented mindset.

  1. Create a goal-oriented reward system.

Coffee breaks, coworker catch-up, and social media check-ins tend to break up our workflow on an hourly basis. Instead of trying to go cold turkey on these workplace routines, reframe them as rewards. For every to-do list item you complete, allow yourself a fives minute treat, whether that’s a fresh cup of coffee or a walk around the block. Not only will creating a reward system help you stay motivated throughout the day, it will also provide you with much-needed mental breaks that actually boost long-term productivity.

  1. Take your smartphone off the table.

The number one productivity killer in this day and age? Smartphones. With access to endless social media portals, web browsing, text conversations, and games, smartphones are one-stop shops for distractions. While you may not want to delete apps from your phone, try leaving your smartphone in a locked desk drawer until your next break, or safely in your car. By simply putting your smartphone out of your line of sight, the impulse to distract yourself is muted.

Even though technology and the modern office create ample opportunity for distraction, making these few small adjustments can go a long way in safeguarding your productivity. After all, a productive day allows you to enjoy your time at home and outside the office, without the worry of incomplete tasks and looming deadlines darkening your day. Keep these productivity tricks in mind as you mount your daily to-do list and you’ll be thanking yourself tomorrow.