Being productive can feel liberating. Not many people enjoy the boredom and lack of direction that comes with being lazy and static. But even the most industrious workers often find themselves wondering if they're making the most of their time. This is especially true for people who are genuinely proud of the companies they work for and thus strive to be better employees. Here are five simple things that any employee can do to become more productive.
1. Use Technology to Augment Your Skills
There are plenty of technological tools that workers can use to boost their own skillset. For instance, many companies now have apps such as project management software that employees can use to communicate with one another while on the job and collate vital documents. A data wrangling cheat sheet can aid in data preparation tasks even if you're a beginner. If your employer doesn't know about these business automation devices, you could always inform them. Staying current and proactive in your adoption of new technologies is one of the better ways to make yourself more productive.
2. Get Healthier
Over the past year and a half, workplace health has really come into the public mind. Being healthier, though, goes far beyond preventing disease and involves a holistic approach to human wellness. Research has shown that back in 2019, illness-related productivity losses alone total over $530 billion per year in the US. The healthier we are as individuals, the better the whole office becomes. Starting an exercise regimen is always a good idea and can be as simple as walking to nearby places instead of defaulting to driving. Additionally, magnesium, phenylalanine and choline are all nutrients that can positively impact our mental efficiency, so be on the lookout during lunchbreak for foods that contain them.
3. Learn Mindfulness Techniques
Meditation doesn't have to be about spiritual enlightenment. In fact, the power of meditation to help improve brain function is backed by solid science. Basically, even ten minutes per day of meditation helps your mind de-stress and relax, and that's vital to becoming more engaged with the world around you. Fatigue and stress have always been associated with work, and everyone should have enough self-awareness to not overwork themselves. Both that level of self-knowledge and the ability to tackle the problems you do encounter objectively are just two of the benefits to growing in mindfulness through meditation.
4. Be in a Constant Process of Learning
Being a lifelong learner doesn't just benefit yourself. It makes you a more useful worker wherever you choose to apply yourself. In a report by WorkSmarter, 54% of respondents agreed that reskilling and upskilling are the joint responsibility of businesses and their employees. Regular training and re-training have been shown to increase retention through empowering individuals. In other words, the more you know about the work you do, the more likely you are to value that work. Even if there's no training program where you work, engage in self-education whenever possible.
5. Create a Positive Work Environment
Psychological studies have shown that misery is contagious, just like any disease. The good news is that happiness spreads in the same fashion. Depending on your attitude, you can contribute to either a positive or negative environment for everyone, and negativity has never lead to progress. Everyone has legitimate gripes at work, but deal with them in a healthy way by having honest conversations with management if there's an issue. Honor is not a dead concept; be forthright in dealing with everyone else at work. In other words, be the worker that everyone else wants to emulate.
A good employee is someone who can be trusted to get the job complete and to care about their workplace. Everything else comes from those two core qualities. If you're dedicated to growing as a person, you're already on the right track.