New Year’s Resolutions – 7 Ways to Increase Productivity

December 28, 2016 in
By Katie Conlon

With 2017 right around the corner, there is no better time to focus on your career goals for the year ahead. Increasing your productivity in the coming year can not only make you more accomplished at work, but it can also make you more motivated in your career. Check out these seven tips to help you increase your productivity at work.

1. Set your own goals.

While your manager might have a deadline or end goal set for you, take responsibility of creating some of your own. This practice can break up the time you spend on a project and increase your productivity. You are also more likely to meet the initial goal set by your manager as you strive to meet your own personal goals.

2. Take a break.

Beyond creating your own goals, it is important that you also schedule time for breaks. Research has shown that we only have the capacity to focus on a task for certain amount of time. One study concluded that the highest-performing employees only worked for 52 consecutive minutes before taking a 17-minute break.[1] Going for a walk outside, grabbing a cup of coffee, or even standing up from your desk for a minute are all great options. By allowing your mind a break, you’ll be more likely to be productive when you start back on your task.

3. Decorate your workspace.

Your work environment can directly affect your ability to focus and complete a task. Consider adding pictures of your family, friends, or even your pet to bring some life to your surrounding area. Adding plants or flowers can also brighten up your workspace and help to increase your focus and motivation. 

4. Practice the “two minute” rule.

Productivity consultant David Allen developed the “two minute rule” to help employees become more productive during their workday.[2] The rule states you will be more productive if you tackle the tasks that take less than two minutes to complete first. Studies have shown that pushing off these quick tasks until later can actually draw out the process, making you less productive. Therefore, it can be beneficial to accomplish these tasks before anything else.

5. Identify your time thieves.

Figure out what tasks during the day are taking time away from your productivity at work. Smartphones and social media applications can be huge time thieves. Start out by setting a timer to limit time spent on your phone during work hours. To identify other time thieves in your life, record your tasks in a weekly journal. Then go back to see what tasks were unnecessary or took more time than they should have and discover a routine that keeps you from getting side tracked.

6. Determine a schedule that works for you.

Altering your schedule to fit your most productive times of day can reap many benefits. Log onto your computer before you go to work to get in 30-60 minutes of work before your daily commute. This practice will get you in the work mindset before you even get to the office, and will allow you to jump into a task as soon as you get to your desk. Night owls, however, might benefit from logging on later in the evening. But, most importantly, discover a schedule that works best for you, your organization, and your customers.

7.Focus on solutions, not problems.

Continually focusing on a problem can waste a lot momentum and creative energy. By instead identifying and focusing on a possible solution to the problem, you can avoid wasting time ruminating on the issue. Coming to the table with a possible solution in hand will also support team productivity and collaboration, making it easier for everyone to work towards a final solution.

Practice these tips to make your year more productive and efficient. Your productivity is likely to bring you and your organization more success in 2017, and beyond. FMP Consulting is excited for the New Year and ready to tackle the challenges ahead, partnering with your organization each step of the way.

Katie is an Analyst at FMP Consulting. She previously worked as the Research and Data Visualization Manager at National Journal. Katie received a Master of Science in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida.


[1] Derek Thompson, “A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17,” The Atlantic, September 17, 2014.

[2] Alan Henry, “Use the Two Minute Rule to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done,” Life Hacker, February 2, 2014.