How to Turn Your Workspace into Productivity Area in 20 steps

03 july 2019, 18:00 ∙ 7 min read

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George Weiss

Expert sleeper. Seasoned traveler. Vegan athlete. Finds life miraculous and people fascinating.

According to statistics, almost 70% of employees are not satisfied with the jobs. Large bulk of surveys and research indicates that the main reason for this is lack of the inner drive in workers. Most of us refuse to identify areas needing improvement in ourselves and fall victims of the illusion that someone else is in charge of their success. This passive approach slows us down.

At times, especially hard ones, it seems impossible that we can ever pull everything together, become accomplished in everything that truly matter to us. We want financial freedom and a life full of joy and no matter how good we are at what we do, or our attitude to our jobs, we all feel the same sometimes. We hate it.

Even if we feel lousy at work, we have the power to change that and re-motivate, re-engage ourselves. Try these 20 steps at work and

Get Your To Do Lists Right

Nothing can beat the age old to do lists. Some of us have LOTS of these lying around, somewhere:). Most often than not, they’re your best bet, really.

Write down three utmost priority tasks in spreadsheet, let each super-task be a title of a column divided by subtasks - steps required to achieve your master task. Make sure each goal in this list is SMART - specific, manageable, attainable, relevant to all other goals (this can be personal goals or your company goals), and timebound (have deadlines).

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Stop Multitasking

That should ring the bell for all of us! We’ve all been multitasking at work for numerous occasions, and maybe that turned up alright for us. But most of multitasking between the top priority tasks and less urgent tasks can leave you depleted of energy. When it’s not lazer-sharp on the most priority goals, we tend to deviate too far and spend more of our precious time and energy on something that accomplishes nothing or close to that.

Workplace pic 1

Master unitasking instead. Write down what exactly is the favorable outcome for all substeps of your goal. Imagine yourself accomplishing each particular step one after another. Try to figure out what would be the best logical step after you’re finished.

Avoid Distractions

This is way harder than it sounds. Our instant reward craving brain likes to be distracted, especially if there’s so much of everything out there that it dims fun (which there are, you have to admit, a lot:))

Focus is the fundamental aspect of productivity. The more we train ourselves to dwell longer on a task, the better is the focus of our attention. This doesn’t mean we get all tunneled-visioned and narrow-sighted, on the contrary, the more mental capacities we source to one task, the more the output we can deliver.

Manage Interruptions

Interruptions are inevitable. You have your colleagues, bosses, and family members thinking it’s the right time to call you when it’s really the opposite. Try this and your work won’t suffer from frequent interruptions: make a sticky note (yes, the one on your PC or a phone app will do as well) for every person that you interact with during your work days.

Make a small list of the top questions that you need to get sorted out with this person. The next time they pop in, focus on discussing these questions, all at once. This way, you’ll have one meaningful conversation with them instead of many small distractions during the day.

Praise Your Accomplishment More

It’s easy to forget what we already achieved, especially when are goals are ambitious. One of the main reason we fail is our own negative view of self and our capabilities. We tend to overemphasize our shortcomings and become so obsessed of them that we forget to focus on our good sides. The bad thing is, our brain learns to associate ourselves with bad stuff.

Praise yourself more. Associate good things with and more good stuff will follow. Keep a log of things done and completed projects. Reflect on your success so far. Think of all these actions as stepping stones of your further greater success.

Set Milestones

There’s no point trying to figure out the whole picture, the whole journey to your success. After all, you may wake up one day and your goals might be not what they were yesterday. This shouldn’t stop you from planning ahead and setting own milestones.

The point is to break your large inconceivable goals into smaller attainable chunks and celebrate each of them once reached. You can come up with your very personal success metrics just to keep up the good morale.

Reward yourself for hitting every milestone you set for yourself and reflect on the whole path more often.

Put yourself in your boss’s shoes

Sometimes it’s too easy to blame it all on someone. Usually it’s someone superior. Why is that? We’re playing it safe for ourselves and avoid big responsibilities that come hand in hand with big success in life. We forget that other people don’t mean us any harm, and that in fact their intentions are good even towards us as well.

Once we train ourselves to be more empathetic and thoughtful of people around, this entire paradigm can change for good. If we as much as have an innocent idea that all the people care about our well-being, not matter how far you might feel yourself from such a concept, it will become your reality.

Maybe you just need to have an honest talk with your boss, ask them how they feel about you and what skill you might need. You’ll never learn if you won’t ask questions like that.

Get a Mentor/Be a Mentor

To be a good mentor is to inspire mentees. To be a great mentor is to keep being mentored all the time. Mentors help us see new angels and generate innovation. They provide us their experience and so should each of us share his own experience with someone who might need it.

If you have a unique work experience in your area you probably know how important it is to spread knowledge. Because the more you share, the more you receive in return.

Become an Expert Listener

Effective communication is everything in teams and work environments. One of the most critical aspects of communication is listening. Pay attention to how you listen to other people. Do you interrupt or change the topic?

Wanna know the secret of effective listening? Pay attention to what people are trying to say, not what they’re saying actually. That really is the whole secret.

Aim for Clarity

We should never be embarrassed to ask questions if we don’t fully understand something. In order to get the task down it is paramount that you understand it absolutely clear. This gives confidence. Confidence gives consistency. And consistency is what actually get everything done.

Ask questions, re-evaluate goals, discuss how you can better achieve these goals.

Take time to research

Your goals and milestones should always be backed by a fair amount of homework. Researching beforehand gives you space of deciding the best course of action and spares time tremendously.

It’s like showing up on meetings unprepared - waste of everyone’s time.

Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Becoming someone you always felt you were meant to be is impossible without self-reflections. Time letters are the perfect tool for that. Be honest with yourself, improvise, write where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years, even further than that.

Workplace pic 2

Write what you think will be and should be different? To become the person you always wanted to be is impossible without first making that person up

Identify Your Blind Spots

Sometimes it’s lack of attention to details that can hold us down. We’re complex social creatures and not everything we tend to value about ourselves is seen that way from other people's perspective. For example, your free-hearted communication might be seen as over-sharing, or your terseness can be taken as hostility by others.

To identify these areas try asking for feedback about your work, communication, and anything you’d want to clarify. None of this will matter if you’re not open to make changes, or course.


That’s called Einstellung Effect - seeing and doing things just because we’ve always done it this way, even if there’s obviously a better solution. Successful people always try to manage their time as best as they can by automating most of their everyday processes, making them more simple and less time-consuming.

Think about your email and the way you can automate your correspondence and spend minutes in your inbox instead of hours every day. Do you think successful people don’t read their email?

Ask If It Can be Done Better

Challenge your every step and every decision prior to taking it. Ask yourself if there’s a better approach to it. What kind of results will it give? Who/what can help you with it?

Remember that stupid “Everything that can be invented has been invented” quote form the Head of the 1889 US Potent Bureau? Always believe that things can be improved.

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Know Your Competition

It’s nothing to be worried about. The better your competition is, the more good stuff you can learn from them:)

Help Others Excel

Sometimes the best thing we can do be inspired is to inspire others. Give credit where credit is due, and never miss a chance to congratulate your coworkers. Be supportive to your team.


Have a reading list covering the areas of your personal interest and professional development. Read. Read. Read.

Give Yourself Down Time

Burn-outs happen. Your physical and mental health is more for your success that anything, really. Plan vacation when you feel your productivity levels wan off.

Take regular breaks and try doing active stuff outside of the office. Regular meditation breaks can do wonders to your creativity and productivity.

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Practice Humility

It’s the thing with high achievers, they are more prone to self-promotion. And it may not be an entirely bad thing in certain situations, but focusing on personal success and putting it over your team members, their skills and contributions is a huge mistake.

Great teams is what actually make great products and companies. Collectives of egos too big to settle under one roof is what ruined many great startups.

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