We all have things going on. Things that deplete our energy levels and distract us from being productive. You may feel like you’re wading through a fog of burnout you can’t recover from.
We live in a time when work-life balance feels like a myth. Hobbies and professional life swirl in a never-ending cycle demanding care, attention, and constant multitasking. Modern workers combine day jobs, personal projects, and social responsibilities, all of which are equally important and contribute to how fulfilled and productive we feel at the end of the day.
It’s getting harder to stay on top of everything and maintain excellent standards. This article shares three fundamental areas to focus on to improve work performance. We’ll learn to clear our minds, organize our environments, and schedule regular breaks to achieve productivity and harmony, while working from home or in an office.
Why Improving Work Performance Ranks as a Top Professional Goal
For entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals, a considerable amount of self-worth comes from being high-performing team members who contribute significantly to achieving set milestones.
To improve work performance, it's essential to develop and stick to a personal workday routine. This helps to manage your energy levels and reduce decision fatigue. A daily routine automates repetitive tasks and decisions, like what to eat or wear, when to exercise, or when to go buy groceries, leaving you with more time and energy for impactful work.
Workers without a routine or structured daily schedule find it harder to focus for long periods. They feel less in control of what happens during the day, increasing feelings of burnout and overwhelm.
Learning How to Improve Work Performance
The best start to improve work performance is to commit to a routine — a personalized one that works with your lifestyle. Once you have a routine that maximizes your natural rhythm and workflow, you can continue improving on it.
Modern work, especially in the project economy, hinges on how much value you contribute to the bottom line. It's up to each of us to discover our optimal working hours to produce good work and advance our professional development. To achieve this, we must prioritize the following three areas:
- Mind: Clarify what we want most, accept where we are, and practice good habits
- Environment: Organize our work environments and set up systems to support our goals
- Breaks: Take regular breaks to rest, recharge, and gain perspective on our work
Top 3 Focus Areas to Improve Work Performance
When you prepare your mind, organize your environment, and take breaks from work, you directly impact your performance and productivity. By prioritizing these areas, you'll be able to accomplish more in less time — increasing overall performance without increasing work hours.
"You can fool everyone else, but you can't fool your mind."
― David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
Everything we create begins in our minds: the good, the bad, and the unexpected. Ironically, there's nothing like a positive self-improvement or professional winning streak to bring out the imposter syndrome in many professionals.
If you don't feel good enough for your work, you're more likely to self-sabotage and make avoidable mistakes instead of asking for help from other team members. This is why it’s important to prioritize working on your mind. As Naval Ravikant famously tweeted, the quality of your mind is the quality of your life. To do good work, set intentions and prioritize developing a positive mindset.
Begin with self-reflection to observe and resolve your critical inner doubts. Note skill set gaps and pace yourself toward all you hope to achieve. Right now is a great time to set new goals and learn new skills. But go easy with setting stretch goals. Small targets help to sustain a long journey.
Practice habits like journaling to discover what you want and how to improve. Write down your personal and professional goals and areas of improvement. Order them in a hierarchy of impact, and focus on one goal at a time to begin moving in the right direction.
Vague, ambiguous, or too many goals will clutter your mind. Be selective with what you engage with and add to your plate. As you progress with your top goals, you’ll gain more confidence and stamina to achieve more and improve work performance without flat-out hating your life.
"High-quality work produced = (Time spent) x (intensity of focus)"
― Cal Newport, author of Deep Work
Successful professionals adopt strident time management and effective communication skills to create the best work environment they need to succeed. They are quick to say no to non-essential requests and distractions to protect their time and focus on high-value, productive tasks.
Our physical and mental environment significantly impacts the quality of work we produce. Anxious, disorganized minds, like cluttered, disorganized spaces, make it chaotic to get anything done. You may waste time looking for documents that should be easy to find or forget important tasks, causing problems for you or your entire team.
Improve work performance by designing your work environment intentionally. Schedule everything and batch similar work to allow yourself to get into a flow state and practice deep work, which significantly enhances overall job performance.
Those still adapting to working from home can get carried away with not having a defined daily routine. But this kind of ad-hoc project management system creates unnecessary, hectic situations where you have to make more decisions in a day, leading to mental fatigue and burnout.
Remove distractions, like smartphones and social media notifications, from your immediate work environment. Use automation software to eliminate repetitive, low-value work and focus only on completing tasks that move the needle in your job. You can delegate tasks and aspects of your work that deplete your energy using freelance support.
Start small and pace yourself as you design a work environment to support your goals, stack good habits, and maintain momentum.
"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither."
― Alan Cohen, author of Why Your Life Sucks
Breaks are necessary to consistently perform at a high level and improve work performance. Humans were not made to keep going without stopping. The body needs rest as much as it needs movement. A balance between work and play is vital to keep our creative juices, ideas, and engagement flowing.
While goals are invaluable in keeping us productive and contributing to our teams, they can quickly become detrimental if we overwork ourselves and careen off the streets of burnout. If you notice you have no joy completing tasks you used to enjoy, it may be time to take a break to gain some perspective and recharge.
Breaks change the tempo of life and help us enjoy the ride. They're also important for their own sake. When we take breaks, we open ourselves to connect dots and opportunities in ways we may not have been able to without some distance.
For the efficiency-obsessed, productive breaks are the perfect way to eat your cake and have it too. You can use the popular Pomodoro time management technique to incorporate regular short breaks into your workday and increase productivity.
Catching up on your favorite podcasts, brewing tea or coffee, or making phone calls to family and friends are simple, productive break ideas you can implement to stay sharp, even in busy times. The brain needs adequate rest to work efficiently.
Improving Work Performance With Rize
Rize is the ultimate time tracking tool to help you perform deep work and improve your focus and work performance. With Rize, you can easily track your work activity in real-time, gaining more insights about how you work — such as the best times to batch meetings or focus on deeper, more impactful work.
Rize integrates with your calendar to present a comprehensive dashboard showing a breakdown of your real-time productivity. Over time, you can predict and eliminate potential blockers and bottlenecks. You’ll know exactly how long specific tasks take to complete and be able to continuously improve work performance with powerful insights into your work habits.
Are you ready to make the most of your work hours to enhance productivity and reduce distractions? Start with a 14-day free trial of Rize, our intelligent time tracker app, built to help you monitor and improve productivity, focus, and overall job performance.
It's fun and motivating to see how the work you put in translates into real value. What we measure, we can improve.