Five ways to be more productive at work

Spoiler alert: start with the heart. Work days are so dressed-in-stress over the onslaught of emails, meetings and urgent action items, what role could that little pump possibly play in our levels of productivity?

Interestingly, if we’re not motivated by some degree of positive, heart-felt enjoyment in our role, then the natural pressures we feel function less as efficiency drivers and more as mental blockades to our productivity. Essentially, it’s as if we’re driving through each work day with the handbrake on

But it’s easily remedied. Here are five ways to ensure that you snap-pop with efficiency:

  1. Assess your job’s ‘passion factor’

Examine your role. Are you in the right place to exercise your professional strengths, skills, and passions, or are you a round peg, trying hard to fit into a square hole?

When are you at your most dynamic, inspired, vibrant and energised? When do you snap through your to-do list with piercing goal focus? For most of us, it’s when we’re doing a job that we enjoy – one that fills us with a sense of both purpose and passion. Take time to explore and find yours.

  1. Debunk your productivity myth

This is the false story we believe about our workload and use to justify our inefficiency. A common myth is “No-one has as much work as I do” (the familiar victim syndrome). The truth might simply be that we’re in the wrong role to exercise our core strengths or perhaps we just aren’t managing our time as well as we could.

Identify your ‘story’. Once we drop the myth, the door opens to a new personal reality and fresh solutions.

  1. Have a strategic plan

Without a clear view of what we want each work day to look like in terms of outcomes, the demands of others easily intervene and the day simply happens TO us. Being a powerless ride-along is not something any of us ever intended to allow.

Instead, try this:

  1. a) Think strategically. Make a list of the key objectives of your role and create a pie chart that demonstrates exactly what to spend time on and what to avoid.


  1. b) Become the director of your own movie and script the efficiency of your day, as you WANT it to be – clearly and in detail. If you can imagination it, you can take the steps to make it real.


  1. Explore new time-efficiency techniques

Explore fresh ways of doing things. If you haven’t yet come across these methods, they might help: The Pomodoro Technique, Ken Hudson’s Blitz-it Techniques and email-management best practice such as ‘How Harry Got Organised’.

  1. Take full ownership of your time

Empower yourself to take a stand.

  1. a) Stop being the ‘yes’ person. Say ‘no’ gracefully to demands that aren’t within your set of priorities.


  1. b) Release your perfectionist. Give yourself permission to work without time-wasting ‘analysis paralysis’.


  1. c) Stop procrastinating. You’ll carry the weight of an important task until you complete it – so just drop the load now and get it done!

Muffy Churches is the author of Coach Yourself, and is an internationally renowned integrative success coach. Born in the USA and settled in Sydney, she works as a corporate trainer, executive coach, speaker, author and counsellor. She has extensive experience in inspiring and initiating positive behavioural change in clients around the world. To find out more, go to or email

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