10 Ways to Be More Productive at Work

Have you ever asked yourself, how to be more productive at work? We’re always chasing that accomplished feeling you get after a really productive day.

You know those days—the ones where you earned the heck out of your paycheck and were reminded that you really are the right person for the job? It’s validating! Plus, you’ll feel the benefits of your productivity long after you’ve clocked out. 

When you’ve made the most of your work day, you create more space to hone in on your hobbies and be fully present during your downtime. 

So how do you make peak productivity your new normal? We’ll show you!

But this isn’t your typical productivity article. We know that you know multitasking never works. The hardest part is just getting started and maybe you need to set boundaries with TikTok.

In this article, we’ve taken the most common productivity hacks a step further with in-depth tips to make formative and long-lasting changes in your work ethic. We’ll break down the importance of boosting your efficiency at work and share 10 proven productivity strategies to tackle each day head-on.

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Why is Productivity Important?

There is no limit to the importance of productivity in your life.

And we’re not talking about the toxic productivity that scares you into working 12-hour days and determines your value by the number of sales calls you make. 

Spoiler alert: that’s not real productivity!

Real productivity emphasizes the value of work-life balance, setting SMART goals, and creating healthy boundaries with your job. So when you’re on the clock, you’re dedicating uninterrupted time to your professional tasks. And when the work day is over, you can close your laptop (without any pressure to log on after dinner) and truly decompress.

drag and drop tasks on a clickup table
Drag and drop tasks on a ClickUp Table View for simple organization

Healthy productivity also helps you move through tasks effectively. It provides you with the knowledge you need to leverage professional resources, minimize wasted effort, and make fast decisions about your workflow.

The goal is for your new productivity tips to become second nature—and over time, concepts like task prioritization, time management, and stress management will no longer hold you back during the week. 

The collective impact of this would be significant, to say the least! In fact, the American Institute of Stress found that 41% of workers feel less productive when they’re stressed, contributing to billions of dollars in lost revenue across the U.S. economy. 😳

On the bright side, meaningful productivity habits are proven to improve mental health and help you gain control of your workload. It’s also linked to personal growth, higher job satisfaction, and increased innovation!

Seriously, any productivity hack is better than no productivity hack—so you have nothing to lose with a little trial and error to find the strategies that align with your work style

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10 Productivity Tips on How to Be More Productive at Work

Here’s the thing—simply downloading a Pomodoro Timer isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, browse through the many productivity tools designed to increase your efficiency and find fulfillment at work. This might come in the form of a calendar app, a Chrome Extension, whiteboard software, or a habit tracker to measure your productivity

Or if you’re using ClickUp, it’s all of the above! ⬆️

ClickUp Docs, Chat, and List view in ClickUp
Monitor project updates, manage workflows, and collaborate with the team, all from your ClickUp Workspace

Once you’ve chosen your preferred software, it’s time to get to work, and we’re here to help with 10 of our favorite strategies to form productive habits. 

1. Make the most of your brainstorming sessions

No matter how long you stare at a blank page, your next great idea will never magically appear. Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything. 😅

This struggle is often felt during the ideation phase of a new concept or in any brainstorming session. It isn’t limited to project management processes, though!

Content writers feel the same pressure searching for fresh takes on hot topics, marketing teams feel it at the start of campaigns, and designers feel it with every new design request! We’re all on our own painfully long quest to down our creative walls—that’s where ideation techniques enter the equation.

Strategies like mind mapping, round robins, storyboarding, and brainwriting were created to help you reach your best ideas faster. Many of these practices are best performed with the help of brainstorming tools like digital whiteboard software with features to: 

The best tools also come loaded with a treasure trove of pre-built templates to layer on top of your clean canvas and guide you through the ideation strategy of your choice. 

ClickUp Whiteboards for Assigning Users and Tasks
Use ClickUp Whiteboards to boost creativity, assign tasks, tag assignees, and enhance your productivity

ClickUp Whiteboards are the ideal example of this. With thousands of productivity templates to jump-start your creativity alongside the team, Whiteboards are designed to help you capture and share your ideas the moment inspiration strikes.

Especially in the early stages of your project, resources like the Mood Board Template by ClickUp provide the space, functionality, and structure to dive into any concept. 

You also have the power to act on your ideas instantly using Whiteboards in ClickUp with the unique ability to convert any note, text, or shape on your board into an actionable task! So you’ll waste no time aligning your new ideas with your workflow for maximum productivity. 

Bonus: Check out 10 Free Mood Board Templates to Organize Your Ideas

2. Optimize your communication methods

Speaking of collaboration in the workplace—it’s time to lead with efficiency when it comes to all forms of team communication.

Sorry to break it to you, but email likely isn’t the best way to get ahold of your work peers. 🫣

Consider the level of urgency behind your message, the context, and whether it’s even necessary before hitting send. Here’s a quick breakdown of when and why to use different communication channels:

  • Use ClickUp Chat or instant messaging when you need to reach someone fast. This is also a great option if you need to share sensitive or personal feedback!
Communicate with your team with the instant messaging feature, Chat view, in ClickUp
Share updates, links, and reactions to consolidate conversations with Chat view in ClickUp
  • Assign comments in tasks, documents, or drafts to share granular updates on a task’s progress or share feedback. This provides more transparency and accountability to everyone involved like watchers, other assignees, and project managers!
  • Avoid comments for updates your team will already be notified of (i.e., commenting that you’ve added feedback or completed a task that’s already been moved to the Done status). If the message isn’t necessary, save your time, and just don’t send it!
Assigned Comments in ClickUp Dos
Assigned comments ensure that action items are not lost, no matter where they are created
  • Make a screen recording for messages that are better said in a 30-second video than a 10-sentence DM! The subtext of any text can be difficult to gauge, rather than typing out a lengthy question or complex concept, help out your visual-first peers by recording and narrating your issue to get to the point quicker. Oh, and did we mention that ClickUp has a feature to serve this exact use case?
Share screen recordings to convey your message precisely without the need for an email chain or in-person meeting with Clip by ClickUp
Share screen recordings to convey your message without the need for an email chain or in-person meeting with Clip by ClickUp
  • Create a Clip in ClickUp of any browser window and instantly narrate your message as you record. When you’re finished, you’ll have the option to copy the Clip URL to share in any comment or chat conversation. Even choose to create an individual task to address your Clip! Keep this feature top of mind the next time you encounter a bug or want to walk a team member through a multi-step process. 🏆

3. Identify your top priorities and delegate where you can

Task prioritization will likely be an ongoing challenge throughout your productivity journey. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by the bulk of your workload by identifying ways to break up your most time-consuming tasks into smaller action items—and start with the most important activities on your to-do list!

Your most pressing tasks might feel like the scariest ones to tackle, but narrowing them down to their first steps or subtasks will help you ease into the workflow at a comfortable pace. 

Task priorities in ClickUp are here to support you in this effort with visual flags to differentiate your small tasks from the most urgent to-dos. Once you’ve taken stock of your task List, you can group and filter for top-priority tasks in ClickUp to get to the root of your work faster.

Color coded task urgency statuses in ClickUp
Task priorities in ClickUp show which tasks to be done ASAP

But task prioritization doesn’t stop there! As you’re scrolling through your tasks, look for areas where you can trim the excess off your plate. Ask yourself:

  • Can any of these tasks be delegated to another team member?
  • Can any of these tasks be consolidated or eliminated entirely?

Processes are never set in stone, and taking inventory of your most important tasks is a great way to start streamlining your workflow!

4. Take repetitive tasks off your plate with Automations

Workflow automations assign defined triggers and actions to routine items that exist to simply move your processes from one task to the next. These are generally the repetitive tasks that weigh down your week and require mindless actions to complete. AKA, busy work. 

ClickUp custom automation example
Automations automatically trigger results when an action takes place in ClickUp

Automations help you put these tasks on autopilot, and ClickUp has its own Automations feature to help you customize these actions however you’d like! Automatically add or change things like status, assignee, or priority when a task is tagged, assigned, or updated to speed up workflows.

5. Find a time management technique that works for you

There’s no “one size fits all” time management technique. The type of work you do might not even support every technique! And on the other end of the spectrum, it’s possible that your time management sweet spot lies in a combination of multiple techniques stacked on top of each other. 

Here are a few of the most common time management techniques to test out in your workweek:

Method 1: Time Blocking

This time management strategy helps you take your to-do list one task at a time by dividing your workday into designated time blocks for each item or category. This way, each activity will receive the undivided attention it deserves, rather than code-switching between tasks or getting distracted!

If you’re new to this method, Calendar view in ClickUp will be your time-blocking BFF.

Use the Home feature for an hour-by-hour breakdown of your daily Calendar or add a Calendar view to any List or Folder for the big picture view of your activities over the next week, month, and beyond. 

ClickUp Content Management Template - Calendar View
Use The ClickUp Content Management Template to view custom calendars across multiple channels

Method 2: The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique takes an abbreviated approach to time blocking. The basics of this technique involve setting a 20-25-minute timer for uninterrupted work on a single task. Once the timer runs out, you’re rewarded with a five-minute mental break to avoid burnout!

This isn’t just an effective way to schedule your time—it’s a reminder to take frequent breaks! 

ClickUp’s many time tracking features can help you take this productivity tip off the ground with built-in timers to oversee the time you’ve spent on specific tasks, time estimates to forecast your day, and a comprehensive Chrome Extension to account for the time you’ve spent in other browser windows. ⏱️ 

Method 3: The 80/20 Rule

Also called the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule assumes that 80% of the results on any task will come from just 20% of the effort it required. By defining what that 20% looks like, you can maximize your productivity by delegating, minimizing, or even eliminating the other 80%. This leaves a clutter-free environment for activities with a bigger impact on your day. 

Method 4: Eisenhower Matrix

Created by Dwight Eisenhower and made famous by Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the Eisenhower Matrix categorizes tasks by their level of importance and relevancy to determine how you should spend your day.

Organize your ideas and create an action plan using ClickUp’s Eisenhower Matrix Template

This 2×2 matrix diagram is made up of four quadrants:

  • Quadrant one represents tasks to plan for in the future
  • Quadrant two represents your top priority tasks
  • Quadrant three represents tasks to eliminate from your list altogether
  • Quadrant four represents your opportunity for delegating tasks to others

No need to make your matrix from scratch, though! The Eisenhower Matrix Template by ClickUp automatically applies a formatted diagram to your digital whiteboard. This isolates your important tasks in no time.

Link tasks directly to each quadrant for easy access, add Doc or Web Cards to justify your choices, then easily share your diagram with the team. The next thing you know, everyone has visibility into a project’s urgent to-do list items. 

And if you’re looking for an extra hand in setting up your new time management process—start with a time-tracking template

6. Create a custom framework that aligns with your work habits

They say comparison is the thief of joy, and your peak productivity follows the same principle! Instead of navigating your to-do list from someone else’s framework, create your own! Customizing your daily schedule and personal processes is one of the best-kept secrets productive people use to stay efficient.

Over 15 views in ClickUp
Visualize your tasks with over 15 views in ClickUp including List, Board, and Calendar

Look for features like multiple project views in your productivity platform to visualize your tasks and progress in high-level ways that make sense to you. Whether it be an interactive list, Kanban board, Gantt chart, or calendar, there are virtually endless methods for organizing your activities and taking ownership of your time. 

7. Leverage generative AI to complete tasks

Hear us out… 🙏🏻

AI isn’t here to replace you, it’s here to increase productivity and make your work life so much easier! 

The advancement of AI tools isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! In this case, you won’t be sorry.

It’s likely that your favorite productivity apps have already adopted AI as it is. Maybe you noticed it the last time you edited the curb out of a photo or used it to generate a sales report. Either way, AI is your all-in-one virtual assistant to help productive people work faster. 

How to Maximize Employee Productivity with AI

Tools like ClickUp AI are easy to love with hundreds of intuitive and research-backed prompts for any role and use case. Summarize meeting notes, write promotional emails, find SEO-driven blog topics, create presentation outlines, and so much more. Plus, with features to personalize, format, edit, and elevate your writing, you’ll never look back!

8. Make a plan and create to do lists

Failing to plan is planning to fail! No matter how small your project or task may seem.

Creating a productivity plan for your workday is the first step in prioritizing tasks and allocating your time at the basic level. By planning ahead you can anticipate bottlenecks, delays, or challenges that may hinder your progress. It also gives you the opportunity to budget extra time for larger activities before it’s too late!

You don’t have to create detailed roadmaps for each day, but setting productivity goals will ensure you’re aligned with your team’s immediate objectives and the org’s long-term vision. 

Plan, track, and organize your tasks using ClickUp’s Action Plan Template

Having an action plan in place encourages you to take a mental step back from your workload. This lets you distribute your energy more efficiently and it will ultimately prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Resources like the Action Plan Template by ClickUp can even be copied and reused each week to take inventory of important tasks that are on deck, in progress, or complete. 

9. Schedule breaks to pause and reflect

The philosopher John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” 

Meaning, it’s just as important to look back as it is to plan ahead—so important that research found employees who spent 15 minutes reflecting on their day were 23% more productive at work than those who didn’t in a 10-day period. 

Learning from your successes as well as your mistakes will keep you on an upward trajectory with your productivity at all times. Setbacks and challenges will happen no matter what—but highly productive people will view each delay as an opportunity to grow and avoid making the same mistakes twice. 

ClickUp Sprint Retro Template Example
Use this ClickUp Whiteboard template to better manage and collaborate on your agile retros

On a personal level, you can set aside time at the end of each day or the start of the week to reflect on which productivity hacks worked and which didn’t. You can do this in private, finding a quiet place at home or at the office to look back on your efficiency. But like finding the perfect brainstorming strategy, there are several simple practices for meaningful self-reflection that you can use and revisit week after week. 

Some self-reflection best practices include:

  • Writing your thoughts down on paper or in a digital note-taking app to capture details and process your thoughts
  • Start-Stop-Continue charts to analyze your work behaviors and adjust your strategy as needed. Think of this as your own personal retrospective meeting to celebrate your wins and target areas for improvement
  • Conduct a personal SWOT analysis to identify your greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your efficiency

And of course, never underestimate the power of good old-fashioned journaling!

10. Disconnect from your distractions and take a break

Last but not least—remember to disconnect from the screen and take regular breaks! Being intentional with your break time will have a massively positive impact on your productivity at work.

To approach your work with a fresh perspective, stimulate different parts of your mind or just see how you feel after you move your body for a few minutes. Seriously, have you stood up from your office chair today?

Filling your downtime with social media or your favorite streaming service may be tempting, but will only lead to short-lived gratification. Instead of catching up on your favorite telenovela over lunch, try redirecting that time to take a brief walk around the block with a podcast, throw the ball for your dog, or try a five-minute meditation. 

Reminders in ClickUp
Easily set up reminders with ClickUp’s “R” command

Especially if you’re someone who frequently forgets to step away from your desk until 5 p.m., schedule breaks by setting a daily Reminder in ClickUp to mentally reset!

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Kickstart Your Productivity at Work

If you’re looking to make positive and long-term changes to your work habits by improving productivity, then eliminating your distractions simply isn’t enough to stay focused. 

What’s more, not all productivity strategies will have the same impact on productive people across teams or between peers! It takes time, trial and error, and careful reflection to identify the tips that are right for you. Not to mention, there’s only so far you can take your productivity without the help of designated software to track your progress!

ClickUp is the only productivity platform powerful enough to bring all of your work together across apps into one, collaborative Workspace. Its rich set of built-in tools helps you take control over your productivity with features to develop your best ideas, track your to-do list, customize processes, automate routine work, and so much more. 

And ClickUp can do it all at no cost! Access tons of productivity features, a vast Template Library, and over 1,000 integrations when you sign up for ClickUp today.

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