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7 habits of highly efficient office workers

7 habits of highly efficient office workers

By Samsung Australia,  05.08.2015.

Everyone wants to be the high performer, but boosting your own productivity can be tricky when all you’ve got to go on is “work harder”. To help, we've taken the time to identify seven habits that often characterise highly efficient office workers.

1. Stop multitasking

Research has shown the brain can't process two dissimilar streams of information simultaneously and that short-term memory can only hold five to nine items at a time. Sorry, but multitasking just means you're phoning in several tasks at once. Instead, improve your productivity by focusing on one task at a time and clearing it from the deck.

2. Manage your time effectively

With better planning, you probably won't feel the need to multitask. Time management techniques, such as the urgent and important time-management matrix, are widely available on the internet – it's simply a matter choosing one and rigidly sticking to it. Many high performers also like to take 10-minute breaks between tasks to digest information and reflect. Get to know your limits with respect to what you can achieve every 50 minutes, and be prepared to delegate tasks or say no to new activities.

3. Be mindful

Activities such as meditation can greatly help to increase productivity. World-renowned neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris is a huge proponent of mindfulness, which involves focusing on the present moment in a non-judgemental way. It is great for productivity and can also benefit your mental health.

4. Improve your communication skills

Communication is the foundation of all relationships, and effectively engaging with people can help boost productivity. Communication starts with listening – focus all your energy on the person communicating with you and don't redirect the conversation to your concerns. And you can always learn something new about communicating by talking to someone new.

5. Become a team player

Remember the old saying: "There's no 'I' in team"? Well, becoming a good team member is all about being inclusive and respecting others' opinions. Try to take time out of your day to get to know your peers. Acknowledge the team indirectly when talking about work by using the first-person plural, "we". You could also try assigning team members roles such as researcher, implementer and motivator, rather than setting up a traditional manager/worker dynamic. This helps people feel part of a larger project instead of an individual serving a leader.

6. Focus on what's important

A good way to spike your productivity is to break down your usual tasks into micro-tasks. Then start eliminating the micro-tasks that don't get you to the end result. This follows the Pareto principle where roughly 80 per cent of the effects come from 20 per cent of the causes. Start working out which of your tasks comprise the 20 per cent that will make you the most productive and focus on these first.

7. Know how to take a break

Learning to switch off is just as important as switching on. In this tech-driven world, work often follows you around like a bad smell. Taking time to focus on unwinding activities such as hobbies or rigorous exercise can help you return to work refreshed and energised.

Do you have any productivity tips or tricks not mentioned here? Share them and make the world a more efficient place.