4 tips for increasing productivity
Senior Destination Manager for Hawaii and the Western USA, Jennifer Loh, manages in-market visits with local partners while juggling the daily tasks of onboarding new tours and managing API integrations. In this post, she’s compiled her learnings from managing multiple projects into 4 tips on increasing productivity at work.
No matter how organized you are, or how hard you work, there never seems to be enough time in a day to get everything you need done.
When I joined our incredible team at GetYourGuide, I could have never imagined the diverse and exciting projects I would be working on, from flying in-market and meeting with local partners, to reviewing content and onboarding new tours. The work itself is very fun, but it can be challenging to juggle multiple projects. As part of my role as a Destination Manager, I manage the entire sales funnel from research and acquisition to account management.
After my first few months at GetYourGuide, I realized I needed to find a better way to work. I kept asking myself, how could I work smarter and end the day feeling more accomplished? Having a giant to-do list wasn’t effective, and sticking post-it notes all over my desk didn’t help either! So, I turned to the Productivity Planner, which helps you prioritize and accomplish vital tasks throughout the week. The idea is quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, this daily planner helped me learn 4 techniques that can help anyone become more productive!
The biggest thing I’ve learned since using the Productivity Planner is that the foundation of every work day starts with getting organized and being intentional with your work.
The four tips I’m going to share are what my team and I have found to be the most impactful when increasing productivity. Through adopting these techniques, you will become more organized and more intentional with your work.
Tip #1: Eliminate Your Distractions
Now, more than ever, we are all connected. When we get to work, we have our cellphones on our desks, and we likely get a constant stream of text messages from friends and family. Meanwhile, on our computers, we see the constant popping up of both Facebook and calendar notifications. The list goes on and on.
So, what can we do about it?
Turn your phone on airplane mode or “Do Not Disturb” mode
Turn off all your desktop notifications
Close all social media apps while at work
Shut down Slack or company communication when you need to
Don’t be afraid to turn off all communications. If you need to work on a complex project that requires focus and attention, the best thing you can do for yourself is to eliminate distractions so you can get work done.
Tip #2: Prioritize Your Tasks
Unlike a traditional to-do list, being able to prioritize your tasks allows you to see what’s most important and what’s least important in your day. To help you understand how to create your prioritized to-do list, you need to know what your goals are.
Starting with your quarterly goals (at GetYourGuide, we call these our OKRs), what are some projects you need to complete in order to accomplish your OKR’s?
Create a list of projects that directly support your OKR’s.
Break these projects down into supporting tasks that are bite-sized and can be completed in less than 2 hours.
Write down any secondary tasks that might be important to get your work done, but aren’t necessarily impacting your OKR’s directly.
Add in remaining tasks. Save any tasks that might be easy, fun, or creative for last. These tasks should be the last thing you’re doing in the day.
It ends up looking something like this:
Tip #3: Take Breaks Throughout the Day!
Who doesn’t love taking breaks? I know I do!
One of the myths of “working hard” is that you need to work really hard, eat lunch at your desk, and keep your eyes glued to your screen. The reality of it is, when you work like this, you burn your brain out.
There have been numerous scientific studies done on productivity and brain function. The results have varied, but they generally say: the human brain can only focus for 30-45 minutes before it becomes fatigued.
What does this mean for you?
Take a break every 30-45 minutes (varies between individuals)
Drink water on your break
Disconnect from your computer and your cell phone
Stretch your arms, back, and neck
Take a walk around the office
By taking breaks throughout the day, you allow your brain to refuel and you’re able to work at higher productivity levels for longer hours. Rather than working for 4 hours straight and burning out, you can work for 8 or 9 hours without feeling exhausted at the end of the day.
Tip #4: Reflect Daily on Your Work
Lastly, and most importantly, is to reflect on a daily basis. Reflection allows you to understand your work habits, track your work flow, and be able to improve every day on your work efficiency.
Ask yourself these questions:
What went well today?
What didn’t go well?
Why didn’t something go well?
What you can do tomorrow to make sure it doesn't happen again?
Rather than waiting for your manager to provide you feedback on your work, you give yourself daily feedback on how you think you did.
For me, this has been very insightful. I’ve found that I’m more productive because I give myself honest feedback. For example, I have to remind myself “turn your phone on airplane mode” so that I eliminate my distractions. When you’re actively assessing your own work, these type of bad habits become top of mind, and easier to overcome.
These four tips on improving productivity are meant to help you leave work on time, feeling good about what you’ve accomplished in the day.
I challenge you to pick one of these techniques and start using it today. And next week, pick another technique... And then the next week, pick another one... Within a month, you will be practicing all four techniques like a productivity rockstar!