A team with every member having good productivity levels throughout the work day is bliss for managers. Such a team enables you to streamline projects, ensure quicker deliveries, and take new clients onboard. But (there’s always a but) this is an ideal case, and we don’t live in an ideal world.
Research proves that an employee only hits peak productivity for about 3 hours every day. Your team will perform exceptionally well on the day they’re working on their favorite projects. However, as soon as they’re handed a more challenging task, their performances begin to plummet.
Ideally, you want a team with persistent performance, and that’s where productivity hacks can really help.
What is a Productivity Hack?
A productivity hack is a method to increase the efficiency of your team which leads to quick and effective outputs. These techniques eventually transform into a system that collectively foster a productive behavior in your team.
However, for productivity hacks to work, you first need to eliminate the underlying problems that are causing unproductivity in the first place.
What Kills Employees’ Productivity Every Day?
Good productivity is not as simple as we sometimes make it to be because there are several factors involved in it. Let’s look at some of the biggest factors that add up to kill your team’s productivity over time.
A common notion at most workplaces is that taking too many breaks leads to unproductivity. This is mostly because people think that sitting on their workstations all-day long will get most work done. You wish.
Don’t get us wrong. Inconsistent breaks do affect productivity, but not if they are organized well. Your employees should take multiple breaks during the day and each break should be well-planned. For instance, the highly popular and proven effective Pomodoro technique states that you should split your day into 25+5-minute routines: work for 25 minutes with 100% focus, which means no phones, no gossip, no social media – just pure one-hundred percent focus on work, for 25 minutes straight.
And then when the time’s up, take a short 5-minute break, where you get up for a coffee maybe? Check up on your social media, or do whatever you like to release some tension. After every four cycles, take a slightly longer 15-minute break and start over.
Here’s a Pomodoro timer to start with. Thank us later.
In hybrid or remote working environments, employees often keep changing their workstations. For instance, during the COVID-19 lockdown, one of our employees shared that he initially made his bed the workstation, then moved to the couch nearby, and then his dining table in the lounge. He suffered a significant decline in productivity during this time before he finally settled for a dedicated computer table as his workstation.
Recommended read: Remote Working Culture: Productivity Killer or Enhancer?
Your brain associates each part of the house or office space with a particular act: your couch may be associated with watching television or your bed with reading a book, etc. Trying to work in these places makes it difficult for your brain to focus and impedes productivity. On the other hand, when you sit on a dedicated workstation, your brain finds it easier to get into the work mode in full gear, increasing your focus and productivity both.
Attempting to Multitask
Let’s be honest: multi-tasking is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some of us do it well, but others, not so much. A research titled ‘Profiles in extraordinary multitasking ability’ by the Department of Psychology, University of Utah, found that only 2.5% of people multitask effectively.
Divided focus not only brings down productivity, but also affects the quality of the output, and compromising in either of these areas can be costly for your business. A better and more promising way is to divide tasks into short sprints (one task per sprint). Once that task is completed, you can move on to the next sprint. This will keep work more organized and also allow you to ensure progress on multiple tasks during the day.
How Can I Increase My Productivity Instantly?
For starters, get rid of the productivity killers we’ve discussed above. You can simultaneously use these best productivity hacks in 2023 to take your team’s performance to a whole new level. We’ve covered 6 smart business hacks for productivity boost below.
Hack #1: Designate Time for Secondary Tasks
The primary tasks of your job have the highest weightage in calculating productivity levels, and the best way to do that is by designating a specific time for secondary tasks.
Let me explain.
The biggest hurdle to doing any job is the extra tasks that tag along with it: attending short frequent meetings, manually logging timesheets, taking calls, answering emails, etc. Now, whether you’re a developer or a content writer, all the tasks we mentioned are secondary, and these are also the ones that impede your team’s productivity the most.
An excellent hack for this is to designate specific times for these tasks, so you know precisely when to work on them. This allows you to focus on the primary job tasks with sheer focus because you already have a dedicated time slot to deal with all the less-important and redundant tasks.
Pro tip: try to have meeting-less days so your team can work wholeheartedly on writing those codes or executing that campaign to the best of their abilities.
Hack #2 Use Time-tracking Tools
The fact of the matter is, employees hate logging timesheets. It’s tedious, takes a lot of time, and is often inaccurate. Modern managers have, therefore, turned to automatic time-trackers that remembers your team’s activities and logs them quickly with a few simple clicks.
It requires little effort and saves ample time to be used in tasks that have a significant weightage in their productivity.
Pro tip: use time tracking tools that respect your team’s privacy. Trusting your employees with work will go a long way in scaling productivity.
Hack #3 Track and Tailor Energy (through flexible timings)
There’s always one part of the day when an employee is most productive. For morning people, this time could be anywhere between 6am and 10am. Night-owls will be more active during the latter hours of the day.
You can offer your team flexible timings so employees can work at times when they’re most productive. This will increase their work efficiency, quicken delivery times, and improve work quality by a significant margin. The idea is for employees to work when their energy levels are highest as it can significantly boost productivity levels of your team.
Hack #4 Prioritize Work
Tasks and projects from different clients or departments often get jumbled together, making progress tracking difficult, which eventually leads to messed up timelines. This, of course, affects your team’s productivity a lot. An excellent way to deal with this unending issue is to get back to the basics – prioritizing.
While planning projects, segment them based on priority.
You can start by making three tiers: high, medium, and low. The high-priority tasks lists should contain the ones that are nearing deadline and need to be completed as soon as possible. You can also add high-paying projects in this tier. These are the tasks that your team should work on first.
Then comes the ‘medium-priority’ tier which includes tasks that are important, but can be held off for some time. The tier-two tasks are second in line and should be worked on once the high-priority tasks are completed.
The last tier should contain tasks that are of the lowest priority. These tasks can be set aside until all the other work is done. Low-priority tasks are often administrative. They don’t contribute to your revenue but need to be done to streamline the flow of work.
Pro tip: Most low-priority tasks in an organization like filling out timesheets can be automated so you don’t have to worry about them at all.
Hack #5 Follow the 80/20 Rule in Productivity (the Pareto Principle)
We applied this principle to peak our team’s productivity levels. It states that 80% of the outputs come from 20% of the high-priority work your team does. (refer to hack #4)
The rest of the work (medium and low-priority tasks) contributes the least in your overall outputs.
So how does this relate to productivity? Well, according to the Pareto Principle, your core focus should be on the high-priority tasks, which is where you should allocate the most time and resources. The rest 80% of the tasks can be catered to later.
Note: this is a subjective approach and not a hard-and-fast mathematical rule. Applying the Pareto Principle is mainly about knowing where to focus more while working.
A Few Productivity Tips for Procrastinators
We understand that a lot of employees procrastinate and that’s natural. In fact, studies suggest that around 15% to 20% procrastinate. But fret not, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve that will help you and your team conquer this state of unproductivity.
Build deadlines for yourself and stick to them: we’re not talking about the deadlines your managers have set for you. We’re talking about setting deadlines for yourself by yourself and then pace accordingly. With a milestone in mind, you’ll be able to improve your focus and be more productive.
Break tasks into small chunks: your manager breaks projects into smaller tasks and assigns them to you. Follow the same approach and break those tasks into even smaller chunks. Take one chunk at a time and focus on it wholeheartedly. This approach will enable you to become more productive and get more work done in less time.
Follow the pomodoro technique: procrastinators find it difficult to stay focused for longer periods of time. Use the pomodoro technique which allows short 5-minute breaks after every 25 minutes and eventually get more work done in the day.
Follow the 2-minute rule: this rule states that tasks you can do in under 2-minutes should be tackled right away. Deferring them will cause them to add-up, eventually turning them into one big task that will take an hour or more (which will trigger procrastination).
The Best Tool to Help You Improve Team Productivity
What if we tell you that there’s a tool that can help you achieve productivity by giving your deep insights about your employees and their work rates?
Meet timegram, a privacy-first time tracking and project management tool that gives your detailed insights into the time you actually spent working, the tasks you completed in that time, the time you took on each project.
This data directly translates into hours worked against your actual capacity, your project completion ratio, and tasks where you have a good grasp on.
How does it affect productivity, you ask? Well, having this information at your fingertips at the end of each day will allow you to reflect on your performance and identify areas where you are or aren’t able to perform.
Want to learn more about timegram? Dive deeper into the tool’s features here.
If you’re ready to become more productive, opt for our free trial today.
How can I get productive overnight?
Getting productive overnight may be a far-fetched idea, but you can surely start. The key here is persistence. Follow our productivity hacks and you’ll be good to go.
How can I concentrate for 2 hours straight?
Although concentrating for 2 hours straight is not recommended for optimal productivity, you can still do it by cutting out all distractions like a noisy environment, social media, your PS5 console, etc.
What time of day is your brain the sharpest?
You are the best person to answer this. Different people are productive at different times of the day. Opt for a trial and error approach and try working at different times to find out your most productive time of the day.
What are the 3 D’s of productivity?
Do it: start your high-priority tasks right away
Defer it: keep your secondary tasks for later
Delegate it: assign administrative tasks to others or automate them