Tips for Staying Sharp and Productive

Julie Shenkman
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Workplace productivity is the concern of every employee at the company—perhaps most of all for the office admin and clerical staff. Admin workers are the connective tissue that holds together any large organization, public or private, and it's up to you to hone your time management skills to prevent the overall workplace productivity from falling. Having you at the top of your game is critical, so here are four ways to stay sharp, boost your workplace productivity, and keep the wheels turning day after day.

It isn't possible to say enough kind words about coffee. This beverage has kept more people working longer hours than perhaps any other substance known to humankind. It's fast, cheap, and widely available and comes in a variety of flavors, sizes, and customization options. The caffeine in coffee will keep you alert and focused at your desk like nothing else. Starting your day with a large cup, followed by a booster shot in the early afternoon, will elevate your heart rate and buy you a few precious hours in which to finish off your project. It might have other benefits as well.

In between shots of coffee, feel free to take short breaks. While your company might have a policy about when a clerical employee is allowed to get up and walk around, there's nothing stopping you from mentally checking out for a few minutes at a time from where you sit. It's in the nature of an administrative job that the tasks typically aren't timed, and your performance will be measured by the results you get rather than by what you do every second, as is often the case for customer service or manufacturing workers. Take advantage of this freedom. A few minutes off every hour or two can do wonders to refocus you on the task at hand.

Another advantage of a clerical position is the varied nature of the assigned tasks. Rather than the rote repetition of certain other professions, you're probably at liberty to switch from one task to another provided that the work all gets done on time. When payroll gets stale, switch to filing. When you've had your fill of that, take a look at your spreadsheets. If you've run through the bulk of your work, offer to help a coworker with something. This tactic will help you switch gears when you need it, and lending a hand to another administrative employee helps streamline workplace productivity.

Above any other factor influencing workplace productivity is motivation. The owners of a company are often the hardest-working people in the office, with their efforts determining the success or failure of the business. While it's rare for an administrative worker to own shares in the company, you can take ownership of your work in other ways. If you're responsible for a new process, for example, then you'll be the most motivated to make it work. If you've promised to meet a deadline, then, in a sense, you've taken ownership of the project. Nothing empowers you like working on your own, and the attitude it fosters will put your time management skills to work boosting the bottom line.

There are more than a few ways to stay sharp on the job if you're an admin worker. The position lends itself to drinking coffee, varying routines, and taking small breaks when you need them. Closely following your own program to boost workplace productivity will have you improving your metrics, getting noticed by management, and getting the job done fast.



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