There are points in life when you are working your butt off, yet still feel like you are being totally unproductive and as if you are wasting your energy. This can happen more often than one might think and it should be the moment for deep introspection. Maybe it’s because of overall job dissatisfaction, maybe it’s due to stress or personal issues, or maybe it’s just lack of time management skills. No matter what the reason is, the worst thing one could do is to do nothing and keep living with that type of discomfort.

Around 100 years ago, Frederick Taylor stressed the importance of efficiency and based on it developed a whole new science, today known as management. Since then, organizations have evolved a lot, but productivity as a KPI still provides us with important information for organizing both businesses and ourselves. That’s why 100 years later, productivity should be still taken very seriously – it should be followed, measured and appropriately managed.

Here are 4 fundamentals to keep in mind for regaining focus and maximizing productivity:

  1. Environment. Work environment should be a place designed solely for productive activities, and it should resemble work. Even freelancers or entrepreneurs should try not to work from home. There are tons of places such as public libraries, coffee shops, business hubs or even benches in park, that can all be used for working. Getting up in the morning, knowing there is a place to go to, will give your day a structure and help with keeping  focus and minimizing procrastination. If going out is not an option, one special part of apartment should be devoted only to work. Being in work environment reminds us to stay productive and subconsciously increases productivity.
  2. Distractions. We’ve all been there – we have so much work to do that instead we decide to arrange our pens in visible spectrum order. This is terrible for productivity. To prevent it from happening, all possible sources of distraction should be removed. Desk should be kept clean, cellphone muted and put away. Closing all the inactive browser tabs and instant messengers, along with playing ambient music, does wonders for concentration. Taking breaks is extremely important, so they should be planned and taken regularly. If something unproductive crosses your mind, write it down so that you can deal with it later.
  3. Organization. Working in a team, thanks to synergy, is always a great way for motivation and productivity boost. Even if job type does not require a team, discussing the case with colleagues and asking them for an opinion can do wonders for productivity. As much as possible should be delegated, because there is no person that can do everything on their own. When it comes to organizing yourself – prioritize your own goals, develop a schedule and stick to it. Planning every activity and keeping them in mind, as well as implementing reward system, will help you push forward when you start getting tired.
  4. State of mind. Positive state of mind is obligatory when it comes to detecting the source of recent drop in productivity. It’s also important to stay positive because there is no is pessimistic or unsatisfied person who is successful at work. The core of the positive state of mind lies in keeping good care of physical and mental health. When it comes to physical health – working out is a great way to reduce stress, and on the plus side, you will look better. Speaking of mental health – some time should be taken daily to focus on your inner self and show gratitude. Read, stay educated and informed and surround yourself with positive and happy people. Despite the fact that this doesn’t help our productivity in an obvious, measurable way, it certainly affects it indirectly.

People often sit at their desks, but they lie to themselves about how productive they actually are. Being unproductive kills motivation and vice versa, so becoming and remaining the most focused version of yourself is a goal you should set no matter what your position in organization is.