Just about everyone wants to be more productive, but often this can seem quite difficult to pull off. For many of us, our expectations of what we will get done rarely if ever match up to reality, even if we know full well we are capable of pulling it off.

There are a few simple and sometimes surprising steps you can take to help boost your productivity. These include:

New Office Furniture

Renewing office furniture can do a lot to help you be more productive. If your old furniture is looking a bit tired and worn, at the very least it will give you a more pleasant environment in which to work and this can make a genuine difference to your productivity. This is true even if all it does is improve your mood, and even more true if it means you don't have to contend with bits of trim falling off of your furniture and frustrating you all the time. However, depending on your circumstances, a new set of office furniture might have a much more significant and practical impact than that. Furniture is, after all, one of the most prominent and important elements of an office and is something that you must actively interact with throughout most of the working day.

A good example of how this can happen is with a new office chair. If your current chair is distractingly uncomfortable – either because it is past its best or because it was never that great to begin with – this can really eat into your productivity. A new, ergonomic office chair can eliminate this problem and leave you free to focus on your work. It's not just chairs that can make a difference, though. If your desk is not really practical for your needs, for example if it is overcrowded or doesn't give you enough space for storage and organisation, then replacing it with a better and more practical desk can really help you to get things done. Likewise, if keeping things tidy and organised in your office is a problem in general, to the point where you often lose time looking for things, then new furniture to increase the amount of filing and storage space can make a world of difference.

Having a To-Do List

This is one of the basic ways to increase productivity. It's probably one you've heard plenty of times, and have long ago decided to implement. But that raises one important question; have you actually done it? And by “done it,” we mean have you actually, fully implemented a to-do list for your everyday work rather than simply setting reminders on Outlook for appointments and a few things you know very well that you are otherwise just going to forget. Some people do this, but most don't.

Having a full, in-depth to-do list for your day can really help to boost your productivity. It doesn't take very long to create it or to maintain it on an ongoing basis, but it can really encourage you to get things done. You might think there is no point in adding something to your to-do list that you aren't going to forget to do anyway, but the odd thing will still inevitably slip through the net now and again even if you were sure you would remember it. More importantly, to-do lists go far beyond just making sure you don't forget anything. They make it easier for you to consider all the things you need to do at once and form a structure for your day, working out how to go about the various tasks on the list in the most efficient and effective way possible. They also allow you to clearly see your own progress, ticking things off off the list and watching it grow shorter, and this is a very good way to encourage productivity and help you assess your own progress.

Have a Structure for Your Day

Structured days and a methodical approach are key ingredients for maximum productivity. Don't approach tasks one at a time, or even just in order of urgency unless it is actually necessary. Think about how the time in your day could be best spent, how arranging different tasks to coincide with or immediately follow one another, and generally about how tasks could be arranged into a clear and efficient structure. Most likely, you already do this to some degree – thinking things like “while I'm doing A, I might as well do B since I'm already in the right place” is the most common example. However, this normally takes place as and when you think of it. You may well find that your day could be better-structured and more efficiently run if you started each morning by consciously and actively thinking about how your day could best be structured and which tasks could be more efficiently handled together.

The above step of creating a to-do list is a valuable tool here. It allows you to see a clear and definitive list of all the things you need to get done in the coming day in order to better plan out how they can relate to one another, and helps you be more certain you aren't forgetting to consider anything. Simply having a physical list in front of you can also be useful in stimulating your brain and encouraging you to effectively visualise the connections and relationships between different tasks. The beauty of digital to-do lists, such as the task list on Microsoft Outlook or a series of reminders on your phone, is that you can easily rearrange the order of the list, add notes to various tasks, and modify or combine various items in order to make your to-do list accurately reflect the structure that you give to your day and act as a guide to help you make sure you proceed as planned.

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