The advent of workplaces dominated by technology has brought a shift in the expectations—and illusions—of productivity. Despite the availability of efficient systems to streamline tasks, many workers admit to being sidetracked during their workday. Here are a few tips for staying on track and getting the most out of the time you spend at the office.
Calculate how much time you’re devoting to certain parts of your workday. Is email correspondence bogging you down for several hours? Once you have a clear picture of how you are spending your hours at the office, you can develop an effective schedule during which to accomplish those time-sucking tasks while maximizing the rest of your day.
Write It Down
A to-do list floating around in your head can become overwhelming and immobilizing. The physical act of writing things down and crossing items off the list one-by-one helps you sail smoothly through tasks. There is no right way to do it, which gives you the freedom to find the method that works best for you; keep a old-fashioned planner, use the notes function on your smartphone or tap into the plethora of apps that offer different strategies to help you create a reminder list and stick to it.
You’re Not a Robot
The human body does not do well with prolonged multitasking. One of the strategies for being more productive is to work for an hour to an hour and a half, then take a short break. With availability of technology on your laptop at home or your smartphone in your pocket comes the temptation and convenience to work long after you’ve left your desk for the day, but that doesn’t mean you should. A rich life outside of work is rewarding and motivating; know where to draw the line and leave the office at the office.
Change the Clock
When possible, explore flextime with your employer. Getting to work before your colleagues or arriving later and staying after hours can be life changing. Consider working at some point on the weekend and taking a day off during the week; this gives you the benefit of getting personal tasks done while others are at work.
Whether it is fewer distractions or less rush-hour traffic, a slight change in your schedule can help you increase your focus, find your flow and reap a greater sense of accomplishment.
Psychologists have determined that multitasking can squelch productivity. According to the American Psychological Association, our brains are not designed for heavy-duty, prolonged task juggling. It’s easy to think spinning a bunch of plates at once will yield a high return, but in reality, it’s not an effective way to handle tasks. Instead, stay focused on one job at a time and only move on once it’s completed.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The more the merrier! Have trusted people in your corner to whom you can assign important tasks. Find colleagues who excel in certain areas and tap into their strengths rather than attempting to manage a whole project on your own. With various wheels in motion, jobs can get done more efficiently.
Before reserving the conference room, determine the importance of the upcoming meeting. Is it beneficial for employees and the company? Will it help solve a problem or clear up confusion? If the answer is no, see if a resolution can be made via group text, email or other correspondence. If a meeting is a must, create an agenda and share it with participants ahead of time so everyone can bring their prepared thoughts and ideas to the table. Also, set a time limit by which to adjourn the meeting with a solution in place.