Protecting the time before work to be healthy, the time during work to be productive, and the time after work to plan and enjoy oneself are critical to performing well in today’s workplaces. Here are six fundamental secrets to better productivity in today’s competitive work environments.
- Engage physical fitness and a high-energy diet each morning before work. No more excuses. Breaking a sweat and getting the blood moving before you start each work day dramatically increases your energy and thought processes. Oxygen flows from the lungs to the brain to stimulate fresh ideas. A short workout combined with a healthy breakfast, smoothie, or piece of fruit is equally essential to jump-starting your metabolism and feeding your mind. Morning exercise also benefits posture, poise and alertness on the job, contributing to better sleep at night.
- Ramp up your reading. Proactively reading multiple books at one time stimulates intersecting concepts, news and ideas. A monthly reading list also improves your baseline education. Drink deeply from contemporary books, white papers, industry journals, and articles that directly relate to your company, career and job description. Well-read employees are also able to carry on relevant conversations with their colleagues and customers, adding tremendous value to their company. Taking the time required to sit quietly and read can be a considerable challenge, yet it is essential.
- Complete all your work before 6 p.m. each business day: Managing your time, deferring drop-in visitors and staying focused on critical daily tasks is difficult but crucial. Deferring personal interruptions, social media chatter, and extracurricular activities until after 6 p.m. is perhaps the most fundamental secret to job performance today. Planning a trip, updating Facebook, texts to friends, or managing a charity fundraiser during business hours is not conducive to modern job performance. Completing your work by 6 p.m. is also conducive to good sleep, a healthy morning routine and perhaps a promotion. (Readers with job schedules that exist outside normal business hours should define their own ideal “6 p.m.” accordingly.)
- Pay close attention to what your boss, your customers, and their primary constituents want. Amid the clutter of texts, tweets and office gossip, employees that focus on their boss’s instructions and their customers’ preferences are the heroes of modern job performance. Employees that invest extra time listening to their bosses and customers learn exactly what is expected of them. Rather than randomly working each day, modern job performers translate what their bosses and customers need into clear plans of action. Getting the right job done quickly and efficiently is essential to carrying out company strategy and delivering value to today’s paying customers each day. One step further, understanding what your boss’s bosses and what your customers’ customers expect from each of them will dramatically improve your modern job performance.
- Contribute to your technology, communications and resource efficiency every day. Improving your own, your office’s, and your department’s best use of available software, hardware, data, and raw materials is an ongoing process and discipline akin to body building or marathon running. The secret is to be cognizant of the resources available to you. The best job performers push themselves to learn exactly how to leverage today’s modern technology, software, and communication devices to perform better work –– to the benefit of their bosses and customers. Modern job performers actually read the manual, research advanced how-to articles online, and even take a class to better use their company’s investments in technology, data management, and communications resources.
- Make exciting plans for your time away from work. Good times with family and friends are what make life worth living. Exciting plans also serve as daily reward for the constant effort you invest in your job. Working harder and smarter also enables one to play harder and smarter, and to enjoy the fruits of their work.
Using the time before work to be healthy, the time during work to be über-productive, and the time after work to plan and enjoy oneself are critical to thriving and surviving in today’s optimum performance workplaces.
What are some of your favorite tips for being more productive at work?
Baron Christopher Hanson is the principal and lead strategist at RedBaron Advisors in Charleston, S.C., and Palm Beach, Fla. A former rugby player, Harvard graduate, and expert on workplace and small-business turnarounds, Hanson has written for Harvard Business Review and SmartBrief considerably. He can be reached for consulting roles and speaking gigs via e-mail or over Twitter @RBC_ThinkTank.