Let’s face it. We all want to be more productive and efficient at work. Imagine if you could get things done quicker without procrastinating or feeling pressured. Your health and self-care along with other factors can influence productivity. Being organized and having a single-minded focus for each task are skills that increase efficiency in the workplace. Whether you are a retail, hospital or specialty pharmacist, there are several ways to improve your productivity at work.
- Eat that frog. Not literally! This concept was the main theory from the book titled: Eat That Frog! How to Stop Procrastinating And Get More Done in Less Time. This means choosing to do what you dread doing, first. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. The most successful, effective people have the discipline to have a single-minded focus on their most important tasks. Do what is hard first, so that you can enjoy the rest of your day!
- Make self-care a priority. Don’t skip lunch, drink plenty of water, and avoid simple carbohydrates like bagels, pastries, or those afternoon donuts the drug rep brings to the pharmacy. Keeping your energy levels sustained is the key for increased productivity. Consume protein at every meal or snack and select complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar. Examples of complex carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots and berries. If you don’t have time to sit down and eat a meal, make a healthy smoothie or protein shake so you can still have something in your stomach. Skipping meals is the sure-fire way to burn out and reduce your ability to work efficiently.
- Work smarter, not harder. That is what Belle Beth Cooper, the content crafter at Buffer, has in the forefront of her mind when it comes to her work. Buffer is a social media management tool that lets you schedule, automate, and analyze social media updates. This tool saves time and effort to individually post on your Facebook page, Twitter, and LinkedIn. At work, ask yourself, “Is there an easier way to get this done?” “How can I improve the process or strategy?” Then do that!
- Take intentional breaks. Even if it is only 5 or 10 minutes. There have been so many studies done on how breaks and naps can improve mental focus!1 In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells a story about a woodcutter whose saw gets more blunt as time passes. He continues cutting down trees, but isn’t effective. If the woodcutter were to stop sawing, sharpen his saw, and go back to cutting the tree with a sharp blade, he would save time and effort. Covey talks about “sharpening the saw,” which means keeping your mental, emotional, and physical self in balance.
- Chunk down blocks of time to check email. If you are constantly checking your phone or computer, it can be overwhelming. Select 2 times during the day that you can check email (or other task that bombards you), say 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Setting clear-cut boundaries helps you better conserve your energy for other tasks. This technique also minimizes distractions so you aren’t constantly looking at your phone.
Try these simple techniques to improve your productivity and overall well-being!
1. Herrera T. Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One. New York Times. June 23, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/smarter-living/take-naps-at-work-apologize-to-no-one.html