8 Ground Rules on how to Be Productive at Work

Written by Freelancing Writer and Editor : Olayinka Sodiq

It’s easy to fall prey to distractions and disruptions at work, We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach, with the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office. Here’s how to be productive at work?

Although we don’t have a foolproof system that can eliminate diversions and disturbances, we do have eight ground rules that can be applied to help boost your productivity levels.

What does being Productive mean?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employers and employees alike across the globe. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re productive, it simply means you’re busier, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in a short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions, it involves working smarter, not harder. Productivity is achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

8 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to log out from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.


Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be completed as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time. That’s because of your lack of focus and concentration due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time for other tasks.

Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will motivate you to complete other tasks eagerly.

Manage Interruptions.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is the time that can be used to do something useful, sometimes you have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. Meanwhile, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

You’ll be surprised at how many things you can resolve through an email or a quick phone call, but that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

Only brainstorming or in-depth discussion requires an in-person meeting.

Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. You will be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible and also streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, hold important data and keep employees connected.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place and if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and their impact on productivity.

Some examples of tools are:


  • Slackfor team chat and collaboration
  • Samepage for video conference software
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do.
  • Wekan – For an open source option.
Database Management
  • Zoho Creator for a free online database.
  • Ninox – For a variety of templates.
  • QuintaDB – For a web-form builder and CRM.
Time Tracking

Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30-second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, and the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Organize and Declutter

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and embrace information.

Your work environment should ensure you have your system of the organization are in order, so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items, being organized ensures you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it.

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