By Steve Purdy, UK Managing Director, Regus

Productivity in the workplace is a topic that affects each of us, so here are five top tips to help you maximise what you are able to achieve each day.

1. Remember the Pareto Principle

Experience tells us that 20% of our time and effort produces 80% of our output. So we all need to decide where to focus our energies to get that big result. Handily, 20% of a week is one day, so I try to leave myself a day free if I can to concentrate on one project that will make a big difference. (It doesn’t have to be a whole day, just a dedicated chunk of time. It will bring results.)

2. Control your schedule

As well as a to do list I also find a schedule really helps me stay productive. I use the calendar function on my smartphone to create a calendar of what I’m going to do and when. Other colleagues use paper diaries and calendars. (Again there’s no right or wrong way, just your way. Choose how you want to do it and take – and keep – control.)

3. Compartmentalise your emails

Some business leaders like to answer their emails right at the start of the day, like Tim Cook from Apple. Others like to answer them later, or in batches. But one thing that everyone agrees on is that we have to take control of email, or they’ll take control of us. (Can you imagine how much more productive working must have felt like before email was invented?)

4 Have a system

When I look around me at work, I can see some desks that are absolutely clear, while others are completely covered in paper. But the occupants of both kinds are equally efficient. Why? They have a system. They can easily find anything they need because they always know where all the information they need is. (This isn’t the same as saying ‘de-clutter your desk’, because clutter might actually help you. It just means set things up the way you like them to be, not the way other people imagine they should be.)

5. Work flexibly

You might expect me to say this, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Working flexibly is proven to improve productivity, and to improve job satisfaction. I like to work away from base as often as I can – I’m writing this blog from my home office. But I have clients who find working flexible hours keeps them fresh and their job rewarding.