14 Dangerous Ways to be More Productive at Work

What extremes do you go to in your workplace to be more productive?

Do you bend the rules? Maybe break them every once in a while?

Sometimes you have to go against the grain.

Sometimes you have to take risks.

Sometimes you need to be a little… dangerous.

A Little Bit Dangerous

Recently, while talking with a small group of corporate workers, I heard their stories of how they sometimes take it to the extreme to get their work done.

They talked about the distractions, the red tape, and the politics of their workplace that kept them from getting their work done.

They went on to describe the tactics, work-arounds, and rule bending that they found necessary to be productive.

Consider your company’s workplace. Is it a conducive environment to get work done?

Or does it present conditions, noise, rules, politics, and more, that actually hinder your workers productivity?

This results in workers trying to get around the system.

They develop alternate ways to work. They bend the rules. They use tools and technologies that the company has not provided.

And they feel like they are being dangerous.

After all, what would happen if management knew what they were doing?

Use at Your Own Risk

When workplaces present obstacles to getting your work done, you need to find ways to be productive in the face of adversity.

You may need to go to extremes to get your work done. You may need to bend the rules or even set your own.

To that end, here are some dangerous suggestions to help you win the battle against workplace inefficiency…

14 Dangerous Ways to be More Productive in Your Workplace

  1. Make Appointments with Yourself – Your boss might get a bit curious if he sees your calendar filled with meetings scheduled with yourself, but blocking your time is key to getting work done. Be bold and schedule meetings not only with yourself but with your projects and tough tasks.
  2. Don’t Check Your Email – What would happen if you turned off the email on your smartphone? What if you only checked your email in the morning, lunch, and close of the day? Would you be more productive?
  3. Close Your Door – Close your door when you need uninterrupted time to work. I am sure some HR types are gasping at this one, but “Open Door Policies” are not about physical doors, rather they are about relationships.
  4. Don’t Answer Your Phone – Your phone is there for your convenience. Not so that anyone (including a solicitor) can interrupt you any time of day. Don’t answer your phone when you are busy. They will leave a message or call back. Trust me.
  5. Don’t Go to that Meeting – What could you be getting done if you skipped that meeting? Next time politely decline and see what happens. You may be surprised, you may not have been needed at that meeting.
  6. Clean Your Workspace – OK, this one may not sound that dangerous, but some will say that having a clean desk will make people think you are not busy. In reality, keeping a clean workspace will not only let you get more done, but will have others thinking you are doubly on top of your job.
  7. Prepare For Your Day – This one will make others think you are dangerous. In fact, it will scare some of your co-workers. Most people walk into their day unprepared and simply “show up.” When you walk into that meeting with documents already reviewed and marked up, your co-workers will perk up in their seats. I usually use a red or green felt pen for added effect, so people are aware I have already reviewed the material at hand.
  8. Be (Way) Early to Meetings – I try to be 10 minutes early to most meetings. This too will scare people. The 2nd or 3rd time they walk into a meeting room and you are already there, it will start to spook them. And you will be amazed how much you can get done in the 10 minutes prior to the meeting.
  9. Go Hide Somewhere – If your cubicle or office is not a productive place to work, then go hide out someplace quiet. Maybe a place where there is less traffic and noise. Many workers have there own productivity place that they go to when they need to concentrate on tough projects.
  10. Over-communicate – Too much can be too much. But, too little can be deadly. Make sure that you keep your boss aware of the status of projects and work. You want them to be ready to answer questions when asked, and be aware in advance of anything that is a problem.
  11. Reach Out and Touch Someone – Don’t send that email. Don’t leave that voicemail. Instead, reach out and touch someone. Go down the hall or to the other floor and see someone in person whenever possible. You may think that picking up the phone is quicker, but the face-to-face will not only get more done, but you might just build a relationship and make someone’s day.
  12. Start New Things – Companies like the status quo. They like the boat steady and not to be rocked. However, if you want to get things done, sometimes you have to be the initiator. You have to be the one to start something new whether it is a new process, procedure, or idea. (See this post about Seth Godin’s “Poke the Box.”)
  13. Stand Out – Companies also like normal. They like conformity. Sometimes you need to stand out to be recognized. I am not saying to wear fluorescent colors and bow-ties, but dare to be different. After all, if everyone else is the same in their appearance, performance, and skills… well, you get the point.
  14. Swim Against the Current – When everyone else is going with the pack, be brave enough to question if you are all going upstream like salmon or whether you are lemmings headed over a cliff. Be brave enough to question things even in the face of the majority.

Let’s Get Dangerous

Some of the tips I provided may not work in your workplace.

Some of them may actually get you in trouble at your company.

But, they may also help you get ahead, be productive, and stand out as an achiever.

So…Be brave. Be productive.

And today… be a little dangerous.

What out-of-the-ordinary or dangerous methods do you use at work to be more productive?

14 thoughts on “14 Dangerous Ways to be More Productive at Work

  1. These are excellent, Craig!

    Ignoring e-mail is so hard to do, but I’ve taken to turning off my sound, closing out my Mail app and turning off my phone. Have also begun setting timers when concentrated chunks of time are needed. I use Alarm Clock 2 for Mac, which leaves a light footprint on my hard drive — it’s completely intuitive, and the alarm sound isn’t jarring.

    I have also started declining meetings, as you suggest in #5. As a freelancer, sometimes I can get in a cycle with a client in which I’m meeting too much about the project (too much talking; not enough doing).

    I really appreciate these reminders about how to be more productive. You rock!

    Carla

    1. @Saidandsung Thanks, Carla!

      I too have been minimizing email more and more. I turned it off on my phone a few weeks ago… and kind of forgot to turn it back on. 🙂

      Only checking email when at desktop or iPad… which is much less frequent.

  2. I often say that my job gets in the way of my job. Sometimes it seems impossible to just focus and do my work because of all the unimportant emails/questions/distractions that keep pulling my attention away every two seconds.

    I’ve definitely taken to checking my email only once an hour. Turning off that little new message pop up box was a HUGE attention reclaimer for me. I also ignore phone calls and intercom buzzes as much as possible. My office is tiny, so if someone really needs something ASAP, they know to come in and tell me in person. The time I wasted switching from one thing to another every 2 seconds made simple tasks take three times as long. Now, I force myself to uni-task as much as possible.

    Another big step for me has been learning to delegate and refuse petty tasks. I’m the sort of person who likes to tackle everything that comes her way, and that’s part of what helped me move up in my company. But now that I’m a little “higher up” and have some more serious tasks that need my attention, I have to learn to let some things go or I’ll never get the important things done. You’d be surprised how many tiny “emergencies” resolve themselves if you don’t jump to take care of them immediately.

    1. @CordeliaCallsIt LOVE that first line… “my job gets in the way of my job.”

      I bet many people would agree with that statement.

      And your last statement about tiny emergencies resolving themselves… is also gold. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. These are excellent, Craig!

    Ignoring e-mail is so hard to do, but I’ve taken to turning off my sound, closing out my Mail app and turning off my phone. Have also begun setting timers when concentrated chunks of time are needed. I use Alarm Clock 2 for Mac, which leaves a light footprint on my hard drive — it’s completely intuitive, and the alarm sound isn’t jarring.

    I have also started declining meetings, as you suggest in #5. As a freelancer, sometimes I can get in a cycle with a client in which I’m meeting too much about the project (too much talking; not enough doing).

    I really appreciate these reminders about how to be more productive. You rock!

    Carla

  4. I often say that my job gets in the way of my job. Sometimes it seems impossible to just focus and do my work because of all the unimportant emails/questions/distractions that keep pulling my attention away every two seconds.

    I’ve definitely taken to checking my email only once an hour. Turning off that little new message pop up box was a HUGE attention reclaimer for me. I also ignore phone calls and intercom buzzes as much as possible. My office is tiny, so if someone really needs something ASAP, they know to come in and tell me in person. The time I wasted switching from one thing to another every 2 seconds made simple tasks take three times as long. Now, I force myself to uni-task as much as possible.

    Another big step for me has been learning to delegate and refuse petty tasks. I’m the sort of person who likes to tackle everything that comes her way, and that’s part of what helped me move up in my company. But now that I’m a little “higher up” and have some more serious tasks that need my attention, I have to learn to let some things go or I’ll never get the important things done. You’d be surprised how many tiny “emergencies” resolve themselves if you don’t jump to take care of them immediately.

  5. @Saidandsung Thanks, Carla!

    I too have been minimizing email more and more. I turned it off on my phone a few weeks ago… and kind of forgot to turn it back on. 🙂

    Only checking email when at desktop or iPad… which is much less frequent.

  6. @CordeliaCallsIt LOVE that first line… “my job gets in the way of my job.”

    I bet many people would agree with that statement.

    And your last statement about tiny emergencies resolving themselves… is also gold. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. A similar rule is to leave your Blackberry on your desk when you go out for lunch. That way you will give your undivided attention to the person with whom you are having lunch.

  8. A similar rule is to leave your Blackberry on your desk when you go out for lunch. That way you will give your undivided attention to the person with whom you are having lunch.

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