Organizing workflow properly is one of the most useful skills you need if you want a successful career that allows a convenient work-life balance. Indeed, the ability to do the tasks in a consistent and timely manner is going to make you a reputable, productive, and valuable employee in your organization.
At the same time, the skills of effective productivity management are personally beneficial since they can alleviate the burden of your job’s demands by making you less overwhelmed and eliminating the need to work extra hours, allowing for more quality time for yourself and your family.
In a nutshell, your productivity can determine your success in your professional and personal life as well as your physical and psychological health. But how to achieve it? Some simple adjustments to your usual and habitual daily activities can make a big difference. Read on to know more and learn how to manage your workflow properly.
How to Increase Productivity?
Some of the workflow strategies for increasing productivity are time management and organizational skills. They generally touch upon tracking and prioritizing tasks, setting the right objectives, proper time allocation, and effort distribution.
Such skills, if implemented properly, can ensure quality output at the end of the working day, signifying your overall productivity and efficiency. Below are some tips on how to manage your workflow and enhance productivity.
Top 5 Workflow Management Tips to Stay Productive
Infographics on Top 5 Workflow Management Tips
1. Adopt a Task Management Mindset
The very first advice on managing the workflow is to adopt the right mindset. Accept the idea that you have loads of tasks and you need to manage them all reasonably to achieve success. Be realistic about the entire deal.
Think wisely about what you can and what you cannot do, what are your capacities and abilities, what resources are available, what are the possible constraints, and who you can ask for help. Besides, it is important to be flexible and be able to adapt to any unexpected situations that may suddenly reshape the entire plan for the day that you have been crafting for so long.
Do not panic and be ready to reevaluate the issues and move forward following the new plan.
2. Manage Your List of Tasks
Multitasking is still considered by many employers to be one of the strengths of a qualified employee, signifying their effective task management skills. However, recent research conducted by our case study writing service proves its inefficiency and even harmful to overall productivity. Instead, reasonable and thoughtful management of tasks can improve workflow process.
This can be done in a few simple steps:
- Create a to-do list. An old-school strategy of writing complete lists of tasks to be done is still one of the most effective ways of managing them. This tactic helps to make the workload visible and controllable while adding focus and discipline in completing it.
- Schedule the tasks. Set exact deadlines for each task. Although it may sound like something more than obvious, we sometimes forget to consider their movability or strictness, which may play a huge role in the work process. Strict boundaries are a perfect motivation and a measure of overall productivity.
- Prioritize the tasks. Look at the list of your tasks with clear deadlines and decide which ones are more urgent and/or important, then complete them in that order. The best way to prioritize the completion of the tasks is by sorting them in accordance with the Eisenhower Matrix. Also known as the principle of 4Ds, the matrix allows to distribute them into four categories: Do (should be completed right now), Decide (time for its completion can be decided), Delegate (let someone else do it), and Delete (can be deleted from the list and not completed).
Diagram taken from “The Eisenhower Matrix: Time and Task Management Made Simple”
- Focus on 1 task at a time. Complete the tasks one by one in the order of urgency or/and importance. When you focus on several activities simultaneously, you waste more time on mere transitions between them, which results in delays, incompleteness, or low quality of their completion. On the other hand, concentrating only on one task and dedicating all your attention only to it helps you to cope with it quicker and with a better result, ultimately boosting your productivity.
- Focus on big or more difficult tasks first. This is a trick that has a more psychological effect on your daily work activity. Some people rush to do simpler and more pleasant tasks first. By the middle of their workday, they are already a bit tired, and it gets harder for them to take up another task, especially when they know that it is rather difficult and requires too much time and effort. Thus, while organizing workflow, it is advisable to choose the least appealing task first, when you are still full of energy for productive work. It may be the project that is the most time-consuming, the most difficult, or the scariest for you personally. This way, after its completion, you will get a sense of satisfaction from having coped with this challenge, and the rest of the tasks can be completed even faster and easier.
- Break big tasks into smaller ones. Some big tasks may be rather complex and multilayered. It is reasonable to break them down into smaller and more achievable ones. Add these as the second level into your to-do list and complete them one at a time.
- Delegate tasks. If you are working in a team and have subordinates or colleagues, do not try to do everything yourself. Consider delegating some of the tasks to other people. Make sure to distribute them wisely, considering co-workers’ qualifications, skills, as well as personal attributes.
3. Take Breaks
Even amidst a very loaded plan for the day and a tight schedule, you must take regular breaks at least for a few minutes. Taking and completing tasks one by one, neglecting time-out, will result in fatigue and ultimate burn-out, which will negatively impact not only your productivity but your overall health as well.
To avoid such detrimental effects, plan several 5- to 10-minute breaks during the day between the tasks. They can recharge you after several hours of active work, clear your mind, and fill you up with energy for the next task.
4. Limit Distractions
While the problem is more typical for people who work from home, constant interruptions and distractions may also be a problem in the office. Informal meetings, conversations, and topic discussions with colleagues impede the workflow and lower productivity.
Similarly, television, radio, social media platforms, internet browsing, and text messaging are the greatest time-killers and huge enemies of your efficiency. Thus, one of the important strategies in your personal workflow management is limiting all kinds of disruptions not to get sidelined from your tasks.
Close the door of your office, use headphones if you are working in an open-space office, and turn off all push notifications on your phone, watch, and computer apps, which grab your attention and force you to switch to something else, interrupting and scattering your focus.
5. Stop Being a Perfectionist
Perfection may be a hindrance to the final outcome. At the end of the day, not everything must be 100% ideal. When you turn your work into a constant quest for perfection, you cause delays that only pile up and make things even worse.
Similarly, your constant worries about failure only steal time from the working process, creating more delays. Indeed, some tasks can tolerate minor imperfections without any harm to the overall project, so there is no need to spend extra effort and try to do your utmost. At the same time, even a failure is often a great teacher that can only benefit you.
Time and task mismanagement has a negative impact on your overall productivity and performance, impacting your personal life and health in addition. Thus, to achieve better results at your job and success in work-life balance, adopt a proper mindset and get ready for managing your daily workflow wisely and reasonably.
Stay consistent and allow yourself to develop your skills and abilities. And remember that change is inevitable. So, you need to be able not only to plan but also to adapt and adjust.
- Sarina Schrager, MD, MS and Elizabeth Sadowski, MD. Getting More Done: Strategies to Increase Scholarly Productivity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763375/
- Beat WFH woes: staying productive and connected with your team. https://www.gobusiness.gov.sg/gobusiness-blog/beat-wfh-woes
- Chris Porteous. How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity. https://www.lifehack.org/908844/project-management-mindset
- Kelechi Udoagwu. Task Management Tips: How to Improve Your Task Management Skills. https://www.wrike.com/blog/task-management-skills-tips/#What-are-task-management-skills