How to Achieve Greater Office Productivity

July 21, 2010 Business and Management 2 comments


Do you know how you can increase your productivity?

Do you know how you can do more with less (time)?

Do you know how you can be better and faster (though not necessarily cheaper)?

The three-step answers can be surprisingly simple. They are:

1) Shut up – at least during the time when you need to complete the task at hand.

2) Shut down – all Facebook, Twitter, Blog, MSN, Gmail, and Youtube windows on your computer/mobile screens.

3) Shut out – all unnecessary chatter, gossips, music and other auditory/visual/olfactory distractions.

In an open office environment, this can be fiendishly difficult. After all, one should mingle with one’s coworkers and colleagues, catch up with each other on a social level, and establish camaraderie and esprit de corps.

There will also be meetings, discussions and brainstorming sessions that we need to participate in. Plus, of course, the emails where one proffers deep insights, intelligent discourse and invaluable points of view.

No man or woman is an island – especially in today’s context which emphasise group efforts over individual prima donnas.

However, you do need to prioritise. Trying to do everything in drips and draps is the surest way to leave everything half-baked. Or undone.

First, carve out the hours of your work day for specific activities. Establish clear goals on what you need to accomplish before the end of the work day. Stick to them as much as possible.

If you need peace and quiet to work on a particular piece of work, consider coming in earlier than the rest of the team so that you have an uninterrupted stretch to work on. The plus point is that you may get to go home earlier.

Where possible, time your coffee breaks such that you – not your colleague, buddy or the coffee lady – determine when, where and how long your social interactions should be. If checking emails are breaking your rhythm, consider doing that only during specific intervals (instead of every other minute).

Of course, you cannot just keep quiet and smile when a colleague speaks to you. That is considered rude and a huge no-no in the book on office etiquette! Well…if you really do need to focus – and the office is like a fish market – consider asking your boss for permission to work offsite in an environment where there is peace and quiet. I am sure that he or she wouldn’t mind your temporary absence if the end result is better quality work in a shorter timespan.

Do you have any tips on working more productively and efficiently? Do you also agree with my points above?

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. A very timely post for the social media-overwhelmed!

    I have a slightly diff method to point 3. To keep focus, I always plugged in into music or Arabic Quranic recitations. Music must be something I am very familiar with so as not to get distracted. I don’t understand most of Arabic so it helps.

    Also, the sight of earphones in my ears is a good sign for ‘Stay Away’. But this trick only to be used when necessary, otherwise others might think you’re obnoxious or unfriendly.

  2. i agree with isman on using headphones. I use tht whn i don’t wanna be disturbed. Hehe.. #2 doesn’t apply to me most of the time. Unless i’m doing reports or proposals. Heh.. But my other tips for productivity would actually be to leave the office if u can, n work from another location – sometimes a change of scenery helps!

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