Everyone starts their day with the best of intentions. We will finish that important task, speak to that person, plan that long-term project and so on. But at the end of the day we’ve only accomplished a fraction of what we planned. So we end up coming in to work earlier, staying later, and working at weekends. We are always busy, but are we always productive? Here are five tips that will help you to increase your productivity at work:
1. Schedule time for yourself
Schedule blocks of uninterrupted time during the day. During this time increase your productivity by selecting one thing to do. Close your door, ignore the phone and email and give yourself time to concentrate and focus on this one task.
2. Make the most of your prime time
Your prime time is that time of day when your energy and enthusiasm levels are at there highest, as a result you have a greater ability to think and concentrate. Realise the time of day that you feel like this and use this time to concentrate your efforts on high value tasks. The aim of implementing prime time is largely to reduce stress, allow time for planning and to increase your productivity. Arrange meetings and other activities for other times of the day.
3. Avoid spontaneous meetings
Spontaneous meetings are really interruptions and time-wasters that decrease, not increase your productivity. They destroy your focus, and undermine your momentum. The next time someone comes to your desk and asks for ‘a minute’ tell them you would like to talk, but you need to get this task completed. Then suggest getting together at another mutually convenient time. You will be surprised at the amount of people that will say “it’s not that important” or words to that effect.
4. Plan your telephone calls
Every time the telephone rings it’s an interruption. If you’re focused on the completion of a task and the phone rings, let it go to your answer machine. You can then return the call at a time that is convenient for you.
If you phone someone and get through to their answer machine never leave a message asking them to call you back. If you do this you are giving them permission to manage your time, they will always call back at the most inconvenient time for you.
Instead leave a message outlining what the call is about, and give a time when you will call back. Eight times out of ten they will be waiting for your call, if you miss them again, send an email.
5. Help your staff and colleagues
In offices up and down the country, time is wasted by people asking questions of others, sometimes because it is easier than discovering the answers themselves. This interrupts both parties. Use the tips you solve this problem and help to increase the productivity of your staff and colleagues:
- Put aside unmovable blocks time to meet with people
- Don’t have sales and staff meetings on Monday mornings; it tends to drain people of their energy and enthusiasm. Why not consider having these meetings on a Friday, they can then be used as a motivational recap of the weeks’ successes, and a reminder of what needs to be achieved the following week. Staff can then hit the ground running on a Monday.
- Help others to organise their time by handing out tomorrow’s work on the previous afternoon. This gives them time to organise and prioritise what they need to do and will lead to an increase in productivity.
If you would like more tips on how to increase your productivity, download my free Top 20 Time Management Tips Booklet.
Till Next Time
The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner