Good workplace productivity is about learning to work smarter, not harder. The aim is to achieve (or exceed) your goals, keep bosses and stakeholders satisfied, and still get to leave the office at a reasonable hour. A decent work/life balance is important for keeping your mind healthy and driven for better long-term performance. So instead of working longer hours, make the hours that you have really count. Here’s how…
When everything is important, nothing is important. It’s a good idea to give different tasks a priority level. This way, you can organise tasks based on urgency or value. Establish a priority system (numbers or colour coding) so you can be consistent with all your incoming projects.
Plan a Week Ahead
They say that failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so get ahead with some pre-week planning to ensure maximum productivity when Monday rolls around. Allocate time at the end of each working week to prep for the next – the small things make a big difference!
If you get distracted easily, the only way to manage this problem is to completely eradicate distractions from your work area. Block social media sites (there’s an app for that!), turn off phones and other devices, and find a quiet room where you can concentrate.
Set a Time Limit on Meetings
Setting a limit on meeting times not only prevents them from dragging on, but it will also encourage everyone to be more focused inside the meeting room. If you set an hour (and stick to it) for every meeting, people will use the hour efficiently, regardless of how much is on the agenda.
Learn to Manage Emails
Get your emails under control, otherwise they will control you. It’s not productive to keep checking them every 10 minutes or to keep hitting the refresh button. Unless you’re waiting on urgent messages, turn your emails off during those extra busy days.
Start Your Day Earlier
Research shows that early risers are more successful because they get more done. Not only that, but several studies have revealed that a ‘morning person’ is more likely to get higher grades at school than a ‘night owl’. So there’s a strong correlation between mind agility and waking up earlier. Start your day one hour earlier and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can achieve.
Be Strict with Your Calendar
To avoid those unplanned meetings, errands and phone calls, it’s important to be strict with your calendar. This means using it religiously. If something isn’t in your calendar then don’t try to squeeze it in. Instead, spend those precious hours working on what you intended. Otherwise, you can quickly fall behind with work.
It’s hard to break away from your laptop when the work piles up. But taking breaks helps to improve your productivity levels and this has been backed by science, time and time again. We must also remember that being sedentary blocks our creativity. Getting up and moving around increases oxygen to our brain so try to keep active throughout the day and try to hit the gym or go for a stroll at lunchtime.
Juggling more than one thing at a time never ends well. Multitasking simply results in several jobs being done less effectively. So if you can, avoid it. Try to focus on a single task at a time and stick to this rule by time-blocking. Allocate blocks of time to each project and don’t diverge until you’ve completed the first.