Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Ways to Be More Productive at Work in 2020

By Maurie Backman - Jan 17, 2020 at 8:48AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Improve your output -- and outlook -- with these helpful tips.

Your productivity at work is tied to your performance, which means that if you're not all that great at getting things done, your chances of snagging a raise or landing a promotion may be somewhat minimal. Not only that, but learning to maximize your time at the office could lead to a better work-life balance because the more you manage to accomplish, the less likely you'll be to get stuck logging in on weekends or burning the midnight oil on a regular basis.

If your on-the-job productivity could use a boost, here are a few ways to improve in that regard.

1. Set priorities

Identifying the tasks you really need to get done on a daily basis is a good way to ensure that you don't waste time on less important matters. When you arrive at work each morning, sit down and make a list of the things you absolutely have to accomplish that day, and then start plowing through them first. Don't stop to do anything else unless it's an email marked "urgent" or a task you truly know you can complete in 10 minutes or less.

Man typing on a laptop


To pull this off, you may need to push back when other people ask for your help during the day. But in that scenario, it's perfectly reasonable to say that you must complete your priority tasks first and only then can you see if there's time to jump in on something else.

2. Eliminate distractions

Whether you work from home or in an office, distractions can be a huge productivity zapper. Your best bet, therefore, is to identify your greatest distraction sources and work on making them go away.

If your constantly dinging inbox is to blame, turn off email notifications on your screen when you're really trying to focus. If your friends can't stop texting you all afternoon, hide your phone in your desk drawer with its ringer turned to silent.

If chatty co-workers tend to throw you off your game, invest in some noise-canceling headphones or book space in conference rooms with doors that close. And if you find that your brain just naturally starts to wander when you're tasked with difficult work, incorporate scheduled breaks into your day so you get a mental reprieve without running the risk of missing deadlines.

3. Unload the things you aren't good at

Maybe you're a brilliant data analyst but it takes you half an hour to write a paragraph-long summary of the findings you present. Or maybe you're really good at market research but lack the skills needed to throw presentations together without sinking in a ton of time. If you're tasked with doing things you really don't have a natural aptitude for, talk to your manager about making changes.

For example, if you have a copywriter on your team, your boss might agree to let you give that person your data findings so they can summarize them for the team. If you stink at graphics, your manager might enlist the help of a junior-level designer to take that task off your plate so you can focus on the things you're better at. It's never easy to acknowledge your own shortcomings, but if you're willing to be honest with yourself and your boss, it could make for a much more productive existence.

Boosting your productivity won't just help you become a more valuable employee; it'll also give you something to feel good about. And that's reason enough to focus on getting more out of your time on the job.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/16/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.