11 Ways to Be More Productive During Working Hours & Say Goodbye to OT

Last Updated on 2020-11-26 , 7:36 pm

Kee chui if you find this familiar: in your office, there’s always that one person who can work, like, two times faster, and yet submitting the same quality of work every single time. And because of this, this fellow always leaves the office on the dot, because he’s often completed his day’s tasks by 3:00 p.m.

And soon, this fellow will be promoted, and a few years later, you see him on TV as the CEO of some big company.

And kee chui if you think he’s just smarter than most of us.

Yet you? You work OT like crazy.

Here’s the bad news: no, the person who could do a lot more could have an IQ lower than you. He’s fast not because he’s smart, or that he has bought some more hours from the Time God in NTUC FairPrice—he’s fast and good simply because he knows these hacks.

Having said that, you could be that person to be on TV instead should you implement these hacks. And I’m not exaggerating when I say this without boasting: They really do work.

If you prefer to watch instead, we’ve done a video on this topic:

Still here because you’ve not enough data?

Here you go.

Set Daily Goals

Don’t you find this common: it’s 5:30 p.m., and you’ve not done any work, yet you felt like the busiest man in the office today. If you’ve set yourself a goal of needing to complete, say, five tasks today, you’ll ingrain the goal in your mind, and you’ll find yourself busy working instead of busy clearing unimportant emails and attending unrelated meetings.

Plan your day and stick it to

If you think you don’t even have time to plan, here’s what you should know right now: when you plan one minute, you save nine minutes. While planning seems like a waste of time to some, in which that time could be used to do some actual work, it has been proven again and again that planning actually saves time.

So stop thinking that planning is a waste of time!

Redesign your job

Employers who don’t do your job may not foresee obstacles affecting your productivity. But you can. If you think your job is inefficiently planned, proactively do something about it.

Plan your external meetings in the same area on the same day. Don’t waste time walking around the office to different departments if you can streamline your journey in a neat sequence.

Sick of doing reports that no one reads? Redesign your reports to focus on the top three things the reader needs to know, and minimise irrelevant info.

NTUC Labour MP Patrick Tay has also reminded employers to be mindful to redesign jobs to “do more with less” and help their shrinking and ageing workforce. Productivity isn’t about working longer, harder. Why not use digital tools to make your work easier?

Don’t seek for perfection—do one good one

One of the main reasons why you’re taking too long to complete a task is that you’re seeking for perfection—you think it’s not good enough and redo a proposal twenty times. Here’s the ticket: follow the NS style of “do one good one and f*** off”.

Do it once, check through and submit. Redoing it, or rechecking it twenty times, might make you sound like you’re one heck of a meticulous and thoughtful worker, but if you take ten hours to complete a one-hour task, you’re actually not performing well.

Start work early when no one is in the office

Unless you’ve your own office room, chances are, you’ll be distracted by your colleagues who want you to know how cute their nieces are every few hours. You can either just tell everyone coldly that you don’t want to be disturbed, or come to work earlier and work while no one is around.

Trust me, if you come to the office one hour earlier, you’ll complete five hours’ worth of work in that hour. Just look at the high-performing workers and you’ll realize they most likely are already in the office before you reach.

Set deadlines for ALL your tasks

Even if this means going for your smoke break. When you’ve a deadline, you’ll subconsciously force yourself to complete whatever tasks you’ve got in hand faster, because you’re now bound by a time limit.

And never, ever wait for your bosses to set deadlines for you. If you want to be a boss, you need to do what a boss does, too.

Focus. Focus. And focus.

When you work, work. If you want to, download a countdown app, and when it’s counting down, ensure that you’re doing absolutely nothing except the task. Things like turning your head to stare into space is considered cheating as well, because that two-second stare can turn into a ten-minute daydream.

While this might be mentally exhausting, you’ll get more time to rest after work. In fact, a lot more time.

Remove all digital distraction

How many of you make sure you reply to your WhatsApp messages within minutes? Many, I guess. Well, if you’re focusing on a task and also focusing on replying to your messages, I can assure you that a one-hour task is going to balloon into a two-hour task.

Set specific times to reply to messages and emails. If you realize, high-performing workers usually reply messages after a while and not immediately, because when they work, they work. They don’t reply to messages (unless it’s urgent lah—don’t tell me telling your wife to buy a bottle of milk is urgent?)

Don’t overwork; instead, work for only seven hours a day

It’s never a matter of how many hours you need to squeeze into your workday, but how much work you can squeeze into your hours. Stories of people working 20 hours a day and sleeping 4 hours a night are just, well, stories to impress you.

The truth is, if you want more work done, you should focus on getting more done in an hour. Once you’ve worked more than ten hours, you’re supposed to be so tired that you won’t want to work anymore, which leads to the next point.

Make sure you’ve enough rest

I can’t emphasize this more: don’t believe in those stories about those egotistic people who claim that they work 20 hours a day. Yes, they might work 20 hours a day, but if you focus, you can do what they do in 20 hours in an hour.

Instead, make sure every single hour of yours is a quality hour: fully charged, fully driven and fully focused. Over here in Goody Feed, we never believe in long hours—we believe in quality hours. When we work, we work. When we play, no one is supposed to talk about work.

Learn, learn and learn even more

The worst worker is one who thinks he knows it all; well, and that explains why he’s not performing. Learning might seem like a waste of time, but it’s the same as planning: learn one hour a week and save ten hours a week.

Learning can come in different ways: whether it’s reading a book, watching YouTube videos (you know, those educational ones lah) or attending a course. In fact, courses can be free if you learn to find them; for example, if you’re a Singaporean working adult above 25, you’ll have $500 worth of SkilllsFuture credits!

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