To the procrastinators, the preoccupied and the put-upon, this one is for you. Do you ever feel like your working day slips by without you getting done any of the things you were supposed to do?

Whether it is what’s going on in your own head or around you that is the problem, distractions are easy to come by in the workplace. As a result, your efficiency can take a hit. Let’s look at how to increase productivity at work and explore some of the ways you can make better use of your time.

Creating boundaries and saying ‘no’

If you feel that unfair expectations are being heaped onto you or that the inadequacies or laziness of others is damaging your productivity, you need to start setting some boundaries. The more you take on, the more people will keep giving you. Learn the right time to say ‘no’ and to manage the expectations of your boss or colleagues when it comes to your workload.

Use Google Calendar

It’s so simple and yet it is so underused. Google Calendar is perhaps the easiest calendar available, though your workplace might have another calendaring system in use. Whatever it is, use it. Not only will it help you to stay organised, it will also block out your time so that you don’t get invited to that pointless meeting when you are on deadline for an important piece of work.

Manage your time better

Now that you have blocked out your time in the calendar, it is time to use it more efficiently. Tools like Rescue Time track how you are spending your time, alert you about how long you’ve spent on a particular task and will even block distracting websites on your behalf. For a lower tech version, try the Pomodoro Technique to keep your brain focused on the tasks at hand and make sure you keep working through the to-do list.

Make lists

Whether it is a trusty pad and paper or an app like Wunderlist, keep lists of the jobs you need to do. This will help you to stay organised (and provide a good deal of satisfaction when you tick tasks as complete). Make sure you compile tomorrow’s list at the end of each working day. For a full list of task management apps check out these options.

Switch off your ears

Sometimes it feels like a job could have been done in a quarter of the time if only you had fewer distractions. Whether it is your colleagues chatting away, phones ringing or building work nearby, noise can really divert us from our work. Try ISOLATE® ear protection to block out direct sound, dial down the volume of the world around you and allow you to really concentrate on your work.

Take a closer look.