It’s hard to keep focused these days what with all the things that are battling for our attention. It’s a challenge to be productive, especially in the office. Just imagine what happens daily at work.
Endless meetings and your trip to the pantry for a water refill suddenly becomes a catch-up with your teammate. Your work inbox never seems to rest with incoming emails and you can’t fight the urge to read them all. Your office seatmate decides to chit chat on the latest episode of the TV series you’re also hooked on. Your smartphone always lights up because of Facebook notifications…and so you end up spending a good 15 minutes of scrolling through your feed.
There are countless distractions in the office. Studies show that a typical employee gets interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds. The same study recorded that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds for employees to get back where they left off. Imagine how much time goes to waste because of interruptions at work. But with some serious work, you can fight them off and increase your office productivity.
Are you ready to up your game in the office?
How to Increase your Productivity in the Workplace
Most people have productivity issues when they are unable to manage their time and attention. They feel that they don’t have enough time to finish their tasks. They are unable to tune out the distractions that interrupt their work.
Those who feel that time is always running out often feel overwhelmed and exhausted. They wish there were more hours in a day. They would then try to “stretch” the time they have. They work 60-hour weeks in the hopes of finishing every last task.
Those who are always distracted can’t focus on doing and finishing one task at a time. What’s worse is they can’t choose what exactly they should be working on. They are not able to make real progress on their most important projects because they get lured into doing the less important ones.
You must learn how to manage your time and attention wisely to achieve optimal productivity at work. There are systems and strategies that can address time and attention concerns. They allow you to zero-in on what you really need to do at the right time.
An effective system that boosts your office productivity will enable you to manage your focus, point the important tasks to your attention, and give you a sense that things are moving to the finish line. A system, such as Kanban, can do a lot for your office productivity woes when implemented correctly. Let’s look at how Kanban helps you achieve this.
Kanban: Your Go-To Office Productivity Hack
You may be thinking that Kanban is only for teams or production work. Truth is, you can apply Kanban to almost anything! Its simplistic yet effective framework makes it adaptable to any process. If you’re totally new to Kanban, don’t fret. We have a step-by-step guide that will quickly get you up to speed.
Now, how can using Kanban help you be more productive at work?
1. Manage Your Focus
An important rule when implementing Kanban is to limit your work-in-progress. When you focus on delivering one task from start to finish, you:
- develop the discipline of getting things done before moving on to the next item in your to-do list,
- prevent your tasks from piling up,
- are forced to work only on what you can,
- prevent yourself from task switching, and
- avoid feeling overwhelmed.
All these are designed to change your mindset and habits when it comes to tackling work. The notion of being “busy” because you “have so much to do” is not a sign of productivity. Productive people are able to see their tasks through and deliver them with quality. Having to switch tasks will only prolong the time you need to work on them. Kanban helps you concentrate on getting the work done on time and with quality.
2. Point the Important Tasks to Your Attention
An important ingredient to achieving optimal office productivity is planning. A good plan is able to help you identify what your priorities are. Kanban’s visual manner of presenting work allows you to know what’s the most important thing that you should be working on.
When you look at your Kanban board, your task cards are ordered according to priority. The most important tasks are on top of the list; ready for pulling. With this setup, you also don’t need to think of what you need to do next. Thus, saving you more time and increasing your productivity.
3. Give You a Sense of Accomplishment
Do you know the secret sauce to productivity? It’s seeing that things are actually getting done.
The act of moving a task card from To Do to In Progress to Done gives you an indication that work is being completed. Because Kanban is a visual and kinesthetic process, it gives you a sense of satisfaction in your work. It’s like your well-deserved pat in the back. And when you feel good about your work, you push yourself to do more of what is giving you that feeling.
Office Productivity Tools and Gadgets
You must have a board when implementing Kanban to increase office productivity. A Kanban board is your ultimate tool throughout the process. You may opt to use a physical or online board. Online Kanban boards have a variety of features that will help you stay productive and on-track with your tasks. Features like work-in-progress limits and due date alerts are just some of them. An online Kanban board is also easy to maintain and you can access it from anywhere. You can take your online Kanban board with you even when you decide to take your work to a nearby coffee shop.
We also recommend you use time-boxing alongside your Kanban practice. Time-boxing will help you stay even more focused on your current task. It’s like tricking your brain that you only have a limited time to work and so you do your best to meet the deadline. A popular time-boxing method is the Pomodoro technique. It makes use of a timer and breaks down work into time intervals. Time intervals are usually 25 minutes in length but you can adjust it according to your needs. There are also breaks in-between which allow your brain to refocus and recharge.
There are also tools you use to cut distractions. A common source of distraction during work is your email inbox. There are apps that can help you manage incoming emails so you don’t become easily distracted by them.
To deal with noise or cubicle chatter, put on your earphones and listen to music. Studies show that classical music is good for concentration. You may also try ambient sounds to drown out the surrounding noise. There are mobile and web apps that come with timers and ambient sounds that can help you be in the zone. The key is choosing music that will help you focus on your work and not be an added source of distraction.
Take your office productivity skills to a whole new level with these strategies. You can make it even more fun if you involve your whole team. If you’re keen on integrating Kanban to your daily routine, you can explore how Personal Kanban can help you.
Be productive at the office, at home, or anywhere you go.