How to increase productivity at work: Ask yourself these questions

How to increase productivity at work was an article topic in the February 6, 2017, issue of the American Occupational Therapists Association’s magazine, AOTA Magazine. Tony Gentry, PhD, OTR/L – an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University – provided a summary of fascinating research on how assistive technology can support people in completing tasks. I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time while reading because every step discussed in there was exactly what needed to happen in order to improve job performance and improve their time management. It was exactly what I work on with my clients.

When I’m teaching clients how to increase productivity at work, we need to discover what their road- blocks are.

The following are some of the “how to increase productivity at work” questions that we work through: 


Regarding productivity, what is it that you’re not accomplishing?

When someone says that they need to “get more organized” or be “more productive,” we need to dive further into specifics. If you can’t articulate what’s bothering you, then it’ll be tough to figure out “the why” and – therefore – the solutions.

How do you want it to be instead?

In chapter three of The Inefficiency Assassin, I walk the reader through the importance of setting specific goals and targets. If you don’t know what the bull’s eye is, how do you know how far or how close you are to reaching it?

What’s getting in the way of you reaching those productivity goals?

This sometimes requires some deep thinking time, but if you can pinpoint “the why” you’ll be able to address your roadblocks head-on.

What steps can we take or what resources can we use to help you make successful time management changes?

It could be that we adjust the time of day that you attempt certain tasks. Or we might switch the order in which you’re attempting to do things because there’s a more efficient way to complete the tasks. Or if you’re having trouble remembering to do these things, we need to look into a reminder system that will work for you.

Dr. Gentry summarized research in which the researchers assessed the participants by using similar questions. Based on the answers, specific applications (apps) were set up on devices (smartphones or tablets) in order to assist the individuals with improving their job performance.

So what’s the big deal about finding an article that basically reiterates what I already know about how to increase productivity at work? Here’s why it was fascinating to me. Back in my teaching days, I attended many courses on how to teach different types of learners. There was a course on emotionally disturbed children, another on the developmentally challenged, the gifted, those with ADD/ADHD, and so on. Each course proposed methods of teaching children with those specific diagnoses. What I discovered when applying what I learned is that many of those “diagnosis-specific” solutions can work for anyone – no matter what their diagnosis was, or even if they didn’t have a diagnosis. Good teaching methods and good solutions should not be limited to certain populations.

And so is the case with the information in the article, which is entitled Mobile Technologies as Workplace Cognitive-Behavioral Aids for People with Autism. It was fascinating to me because the research that was being summarized was specifically for entry-level workers who have an Autism spectrum disorder.

In next week’s post, I’ll summarize Dr. Gentry’s article about which apps were used to help the subjects in the study improve their job performance and independence. If it works for them, it can work for you, too.

For more info about how to increase productivity at work – and other productivity tools and tips – from time management keynote speaker Helene Segura, click here.

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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