You might know someone who always seems to get things done. Whether it’s a coworker or a friend, this person finishes their job early and never has to work overtime. They somehow manage to finish half a day’s worth of tasks in just a few hours.

Some of you might describe them as a robot or machine because it’s hard to imagine a human working as quickly as they do. But people like these, who operate at maximum efficiency, actually do exist. If you want to be one of them, there are some habits that you need to change and techniques you need to follow. You can’t become productive overnight, but making changes and following these simple ways will put you into place.

1.      Get enough sleep the night before

Highly productive people get the tasks done because they have the energy to do so. Meanwhile, sleep-deprived people have trouble focusing and can’t work efficiently. If you’re having trouble thinking straight and staying productive at work, you might not be taking care of yourself. It’s time you change your personal habits and get enough sleep every night. Not only does this refuel your energy to get you pumped and ready for work, but it also helps prevent burnout and improves your focus and memory.

2.      Sharpen your brain

One way to increase productivity in work is by keeping your brain sharp. By becoming more knowledgeable and getting better at your craft, you’ll be able to perform better and get the job done faster. You’ll be able to respond more efficiently and make better decisions when you spend time preparing for your job. You can do this by reading books, taking a fluid intelligence test, and investing in training and education.

3.      Streamline your workspace

Before you start your work, take a few minutes each day to clean and organize your workspace. By streamlining your area, you’ll spend less time searching for important items and documents and more time focusing on important tasks. Having a clutter-free area also greatly increases your concentration since there are no distractions that can catch your attention. This simple step can lead to productivity and improved work performance.

4.      Eliminate distractions

The trinkets around your desk and workspace aren’t your only source of distractions. There are more sources of distractions that prevent you from accomplishing what you need to do in a given time. Browsing your phone, checking social media, and looking at notifications, are the most common time-wasting activities that hamper productivity. One strategy to eliminate this is by logging out of all your social media accounts before starting work. Your thoughts are also another source of distraction. You might suddenly want to start a blog or remember a bill that you need to pay. While these are great ideas to remember, you need to focus on work. To help you get back on track, create a distraction list and jot down these thoughts as they arise during work. When you’re on a break, you can come back to them and tackle each thought.

5.      Say goodbye to inefficient communication

As mentioned earlier, social media notifications are a distraction that can affect productivity. But what if these are all emails from work? You can’t just log out of your account and ignore them. It’s also counterproductive to keep on replying to every notification as they come in. Some of you might have experienced setting a meeting and exchanging so many emails just to come up with a time that works for everyone. You might want to consider eliminating inefficient methods and adopting a new way of effective communication. Try using third-party apps that make communication and scheduling events easier.  

6.      Prioritize the most important task first

Before starting your work, list down all your tasks and rank them based on their importance. You need to prioritize the most important task before working on trivial things. Choose the three most urgent or high-priority activities and make sure you finish them by the end of the day. If you only focus on checking off items on your to-do list, you will end up with a mix of important and less important completed tasks.

7.      Don’t multitask

Some might say that multi-tasking or working on more than one thing at once is peak productivity. But that is not true. When you juggle several projects or tasks at once, you spend more of your time transitioning between each activity. Let’s say you’re sending a screenshot to a client, drafting a financial report, and updating your boss on the phone. Every time you switch tasks, you need to take a few minutes to refocus and remember what it was you did before.  This technique can lead to some of those tasks remaining incomplete. You might also produce a low quality work than if you focused solely on one job at a time. By avoiding multitasking and focusing on only one activity at a time, you can finish your task more quickly and do more work.

8.      Time block your schedule

Time blocking your schedule also helps you be more productive. If you’re not familiar with this strategy, all you have to do is set a time limit for each task. You can print out a schedule with 90-minute or 60-minute time blocks. Each task should be done before the time is up. The purpose of this technique is to give you a visual representation of your schedule and help you keep track of the time period for every activity.

9.      Take breaks

Believe it or not, taking breaks also helps make you more productive. If you keep on working without resting, you’ll end up burnt-out and fatigued. When this happens, you’ll no longer have the energy or motivation to continue making progress. Taking a short break allows you to recharge your energy, clear your mind, and be prepared for the next task.

10. Identify your work patterns

Not everyone is the same. Some people are more productive early in the morning, while others work better around 4 pm to 7 pm. You need to identify your work patterns and peak hours. By doing this, you can adjust your next schedule and make better estimations with your time and goals.

If you want to be more productive at work, you have to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be consistent when following these techniques so that it becomes a habit. Once you change your habits and the way you work, focusing on work won’t be as hard as before.