Unfortunately, there are only so many work hours in a day so you need to make each one count. You only have two ways to increase your output – you can either work harder for longer, or learn to work smarter.

Personally, we ‘ll take the second option!

Increasing productivity isn’t magic. It just requires taking a look at your workflows and process, along with better time management. Here are five tips for improving your productivity and working smarter!

  1. Set Self-Imposed Deadlines – While too much stress can be a bad thing, manageable, self-imposed stress can help you to focus on a task. Set self-directed deadlines for open-ended projects and stick to them! Make sure deadlines are realistic. You might just surprise yourself with how focused you can be when watching the clock!
  2. Set Meeting Boundaries – Meetings can be big time wasters, yet we still attend them, and inevitably complain about it! Before booking a meeting, ask yourself whether you can get the job done with a phone call, via email or with a web-based meeting, which can be more productive.
  3. Focus on a Task and Stop Multi-tasking – We often think multi-tasking is an important skill for increasing productivity, but actually the opposite may be true. Psychologists have found that attempting to do several tasks simultaneously can result in productivity losses. Instead, make it a habit to complete a task before moving on to your next project.
  4. Use Your Commute – Many of us take the train or bus to get to work and we spend our commute “Facebooking” or playing online games. Instead, why not use this time productively. Create your daily to-do list, answer emails or brainstorm your next big project.
  5. Give Up On Perfection – It’s common to want to perfect a task, but the reality is, nothing is ever truly perfect. Rather than chasing this dream, bang out your tasks to the best of your ability and move on to the next. It’s always better to complete a task and move it off of your to-do list. If you need to tweak it, you can always go back and fix it later.

If you feel the need to up your productivity, don’t immediately default to working harder for longer hours. Take a step back and think about how you can work smarter!