Why Productivity Feels So Good and How to Get Your Hit

February 15, 2023

Disclaimer: This post contains some self-promotional content. It also contains exhaustive details about hitting the sweet, sweet productivity spot *every* time. 

Ever wondered about that rush you feel when you cross off an item from your to-do list? Or when you successfully get through all of the day’s tasks at work? The feeling of being productive is amazing, right? 

But why? 

Research shows achieving personal goals increases emotional well-being. So, when you finish a task, the sense of accomplishment gives you an immediate dopamine shot. This feeling and its psychological effects are so powerful that people with executive dysfunction are often recommended to complete small projects first so they can get the ball rolling without getting task paralysis!

Pictured: Your brain when you check off an item from your list

But there are more reasons as well! Have a look at what else productivity promotes and offers:

  • Antidote to the Side Effects of Procrastination: One of the many benefits of being productive is that it helps overcome feelings of disorganization and impulsiveness, which is often the result of putting work at bay. 
  • Stress Relief: Watching that to-do pile increase can be exhausting. Productivity helps reduce that workload, along with the stress that comes with it. 
  • Self-Esteem: When you finally achieve your company-set goals and milestones, it improves your self-esteem as a valuable member of the team.
  • Autonomy: Working towards productivity improvement provides a sense of control and structure in a world that can feel chaotic and overwhelming. 
  • Fulfilling Career: Being productive in the workplace makes you a better, happier employee and offers opportunities for career growth.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Being productive means using your time effectively, leading to more free time for leisure activities and personal goals.

Now, if the results of productivity are this good, it begets the most obvious question: why doesn’t everyone hop on this bandwagon? Let’s dive into the reasons and discuss how to feel productive at work.

The Delicate Balance between Productivity and a Downwards Spiral into Madness

Well, productivity for every individual is an unleashed beast all of us hate and wish to conquer at the same time. If you treat it like the plague, you’ll be all over the place with work piled up and stress rearing its mighty head. But if you chase and smother it too much, you’ll fall into the spiral of burnout—with stress rearing its mighty head.

Pictured: Very helpful visual formula for the outcomes

You need to find a balance where you work smart enough to be productive instead of falling into the hamster wheel of chasing it down and losing more time fussing over it than actually working.

Pictured: You, when trying to be productive “at all costs”

So, how do you pull a Goldilocks and get it just right? You need to understand that productivity is not the same as being busy. People who make this mistake end up being replaced by the cute but sad hamster in the picture above. 

When you’re productive, you use smart strategies to finish your tasks on time and save hours of unnecessary work. Now, if you completely fill up this extra time with more work, you will burn out. There aren’t any ifs and buts about it. Did you know the average employee is only productive for around 3 hours in an 8-hour shift? No wonder why piling up more work on your plate simply makes you want to give up.

No, no, no, NO.

Sadly, workplaces often synonymize productivity with busyness, which brings about results opposite to what they expected. This, in turn, leads to a domino effect of employers looking at the skewed results and wondering why their productivity improvement efforts are leading to higher churn rates. Or worse—they accept this as a natural outcome and continue to encourage excessive work. 

To Read: When the Candle Burns at Both Ends, Nobody Wins: Don’t Let Your Employees Fall Victim to Burnout

So, let’s talk about why enforcing actual productivity measures is important and how they can benefit a company in the long run.

Importance of Productivity at the Workplace

When employees are productive, they are happier, and companies can expect the following:

  • Better internal communication
  • More tasks accomplished in a day
  • Lower operational costs
  • Reduced employee burnout
  • Increase in employee engagement

Pretty solid benefits, don’t you think? So, how can organizations invest better in employee productivity that doesn’t burn them out?

For the Number-y Nitty-Gritty, Check Out: Why the Greek Gods Sucked at Measuring Employee Engagement Metrics—And How Not to Be a Greek Deity!

What Can Organizations Do to Improve and Maintain Productivity Levels?

Considering there is so much to gain from the productivity of employees, here are some measures organizations can take to boost it:

On an Individual Level

Sometimes, you need to consider an individual approach to make your employees productive in the workplace. 

1. Review Goals One-on-One

Your employees need a clear direction and measurable yearly/quarterly/monthly goals. This way, there will be no ambiguity about their roles and the company’s expectations of them. A good way to ensure all of you are on the same page is to set an update meeting halfway through the year/quarter/month to assess how far along the employee is with their goals and if there is a need for redirection. 

2. Appreciate Good Work

Productivity boosts happiness, but the opposite is also true. When employees are happy, they are more productive in the workplace. According to a Warwick study, as much as 12% more

And one of the best ways to make your team happy is to appreciate their work individually. Tell them they’re doing a great job, and ask them how you can help them if they are stuck somewhere.

On a Company-Wide Level

Companies have a responsibility to provide their employees with the best environment to work in. Here are some ways to foster a productive atmosphere:

1. Minimize Meetings

A single weekly executive meeting can cost a company around 300,000 hours a year. And this doesn’t even include the time taken for the work done to prepare for these meetings.

Pictured: Us when we read the stats. Now probably you, too.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? 

We agree.

Now, if this is the result of a single recurring meeting, imagine how many hours are lost on inefficient ones every day. With 71% of employees maintaining that meetings are unproductive and inefficient, employers need to work on an organization-wide solution. And here are some steps to take:

  • Identify the core problems: It’s important to get input from every employee who attends meetings about the issues they face. Some may have issues with the frequency, while others may not like the way meetings are held. Conduct a survey to identify what areas are most problematic and prioritize mitigating them. 
  • Implement company-wide meeting-free timezones: Set aside specific time bands when no one at the company is allowed to set up meetings. This will automatically cut down the time on group meetings and allow employees to focus on their work better without disruptions. 
  • Minimize and improve meetings, and monitor the progress: Limit the number of meetings an employee needs to attend and look for alternate channels. Use emails for internal messages, tools like Slack or Teams for quick information exchange, and collaborative tools for updates. And as for the necessary meetings you can’t do without, set clear goals and communicate them beforehand so that the members are all ready to dive into work and finish the meeting quickly. 

2. Employee Wellness Programs

Wellness programs are more than a “perk” to entice potential talent. They have a direct impact on employee health, productivity, and performance. They also contribute to lowering healthcare costs!

Source: Statista

If that doesn’t convince you of the merits yet, know that these programs can help retain talent and improve company image by word of mouth. And a staggering 87% of individuals consider a company’s wellness programs when choosing an employer.

With a great program, you can not only attract and retain exceptional talent, but you can also boost productivity. It’s a clear win-win. We really don’t know why anyone would choose not to have this. 

But what should you invest in? While this would certainly depend upon what your employees prefer, here are some ideas:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Remote work provision
  • Free healthy food
  • Fitness activities
  • Mental health support
  • Education and training support
  • “Fun” funds
  • Nap rooms
  • Transportation support for on-premise employees
  • Celebrations for employee achievements
  • Unlimited paid leaves
  • Community involvement
  • Parental support

These are only a few of the many possibilities. Conduct internal surveys, do some test runs and monitor engagement, and then finalize a wellness program to boost employee productivity.

3. Get a Productivity Management Tool

Everything we have discussed above takes an aggregate approach, but what about the efficiency in day-to-day work in remote or hybrid work? This is where timegram can help. This privacy-first time tracking and productivity management tool allows employees to focus on work without feeling micromanaged or “monitored” like a lab specimen. 

Let’s review a couple of features and see how they can foster employee productivity:

1. Automated Time-Tracking

For remote employees, manually starting timers to calculate how much time they spend on a project is a needless chore. With timegram, the process is fully automated, so individuals don’t need to worry about remembering to start or stop the timer and break their focus zone. 

2. Quick Logs

Employees can quickly go through their activities and log them to their respective projects in a matter of a few clicks. No more manual or mental notes about what work you’ve done for your projects.

3. Complete Autonomy

We’re fully onboard with KitKat’s philosophy—have a break. 

It’s completely normal for employees to get some breathing room to browse through social media, take that “Which Wednesday character are you?” quiz, or read that fanfiction they’ve been following for months. We do it, too—it allows us to get back to work with a fresh perspective. 

This is why timegram has a private log for every teammate. Managers will only be able to view the project-relevant log data that employees provide. This gives the latter complete autonomy with what they choose to share, building trust and creating a safer, more productive work environment. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg—timegram has a lot more to offer.

If your employees are still wondering how to feel productive, it’s time to take measures into your hands. Use the tool and techniques above to build an environment that fosters productivity so everyone can feel great at work!

Interested? Take timegram out for a spin with a free trial right here!


What is employee productivity?

Employee productivity is a measurement of an individual’s efficiency in terms of the output they generate during a specific time. 

Efficient vs productive—what’s the difference?

Employee efficiency is calculated by assessing how less time they take for a specific task, while employee productivity evaluates how many tasks an individual can complete in a given time.

What affects employee productivity?

Here are some of the many factors that (negatively and positively) affect productivity in the workplace:

  • Work environment
  • Internal processes
  • Goals
  • Employee wellness
  • Training and development

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Aelia Haider

About the author

Aelia Haider loves content, crafts, and everything crazy. You can usually find this magpie-in-a-human-shell running after something shiny—anything from new marketing tools and info to googly eyes (or a picture with a random parrot).

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