Improving your work productivity. Four tips to help make the most from your working day.
Ever find yourself in a work slump? When you get up and go to work every day, but you’re not really sure what achievement looks like?
Declines in work productivity could be because you’re in a job for a while and no longer find yourself challenged. Or is it a new role and you’re unclear of the expectations and how you can contribute to the success of the organisation? Sometimes we simply find it hard to focus because we feel like we have too much to do and too little time.
There’s all manner of reasons why engagement with our work, and often our employer, ebbs and flows like the tide of the Indian Ocean.
Here are four simple ways to help kick-start your work habits, improve your work productivity and get back on track
1. Acknowledge the distractions and then remove them
If you constantly find yourself participating in social chatter any time of the day, and have an ear for all things footy, Kardashians or Game of Thrones, then it’s time to remove yourself from temptation.
It may not even be you that’s procrastinating, but the sound of others socialising while you have a deadline looming is enough to throw you completely off track.
Try plugging in some headphones and listening to your favourite tracks or, if possible, moving yourself to a quieter location like a meeting space. By acknowledging that you’re distracted, you’ll be able to think more clearly about how to change your immediate environment so you can refocus on the task at hand.
2. Get the quick and trickier tasks done first
My mum taught me as a young kid to start dinner by eating the least appealing item on my plate first. She knew that by doing this, I’d get through all my greens before moving onto the mash. She’s a clever lady. The same can be applied at work.
Make a list of all the activities you need to get done in that day and start by attacking the quick 2 minute tasks and then move to the ones that feel like the hardest to accomplish. There’s a certain improved level of personal satisfaction when you get through a task that you’ve been putting off.
3. Be the boss of your inbox
How many emails do you send and receive a day? Take a guess. 30, 50, 100?
According to Campaign Monitor, about 269 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2017. And Statista predicts that number will hit almost 320 billion daily emails in 2021.
There’s a view that the average person receives about 120 each day. That’s a lot of conversations for you to be across, and many you feel you need to be contributing to. But why?
Firstly, stop the unnecessary cc’ing. If someone needs to be involved in the conversation, include them. If not, give them a quick heads up as you pass them in the kitchen, or better yet pick up the phone. If we all took time to reduce unnecessary, over engagement via email, we would have more time to focus on getting through the work that’s important to us. Unsubscribe to any external email lists you have mysteriously found yourself on. Or create a rule whereby anything that comes to you via a marketing list, that doesn’t interest you, goes straight into a folder for you to peruse when you do find yourself with some available time to catch up.
4. Move with your meetings
Nothing is more inhibiting to work productivity than a calendar full of meetings. Where you just shuffle from one room to another all day and then find it’s nearing ‘end-of-day-o-clock’ and you’ve barely had time to draw breath.
Re-evaluate the value of your meetings and ask if the discussion requires a gathering in a room. Could you avoid the need for a meeting all-together? Or, turn your meetings into active time. Take a walk around the office, building, or block with your colleagues. Or gather those needed together to stand up, stretch and get moving while talking tactics. There’s evidence to suggest that moving or standing together improves group performance and helps break down internal barriers. Brilliant!
Before you find yourself working long into the night unnecessarily, or feeling overwhelmed with a to-do list as long as your arm, take some time to put a few of these simple practices in place. Taking action to work smarter not harder is a step towards feeling happier and healthier at work.
Programmed is a leading Staffing and Maintenance organisation, providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.