We’ve written blogs on improving organizational productivity through technology, but this blog focuses on personal productivity and overcoming the challenges associated with both a lack of preparedness and a failure to move past daily distractions. Improving employee productivity in the workplace is the key to individual and organizational success.
The truth is: Some days, the office can be a challenging place to accomplish anything. But, the secret to creating healthier work habits and promoting work productivity involves a little planning, commitment and consistency combined with these quick tips:
Start Every Day With A “Brain Dump”
Ease into the workday with a morning coffee, and write down everything that’s in your head, including projects, deadlines, meetings and even unrelated work items, like an after-work shopping list and upcoming birthdays. Clear your head and get comfortable with the day’s duties. Brain overload leads to an inability to capture great ideas and capitalize on opportunities.
Once everything is out on a piece of paper, start to prioritize. What needs to be accomplished by day’s end? Which items can wait? For work that can be pushed to tomorrow or next week, set electronic reminders to get them completed. Then, tackle the essential tasks with clarity and focus.
Work On Your Time Management Skills
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This holds true not just for meetings and deadlines, but also for teeing up a hectic workday. Besides setting up your tasks for the day, create a running to-do list that involves your deadlines and important meetings. A common problem for any employee is preparing for meetings but failing to schedule time to work on preparation items.
In every office, there’s the running joke of having a meeting to talk about a meeting. Yet, it’s important to schedule time to make a schedule. Learning to coordinate and divide your time effectively between everything that needs to be accomplished in a day or a week enables you to meet unforeseen challenges with grace.
Communicate On Schedule
If you’re always checking your inbox when new emails come in or answering phone calls without screening them, you probably aren’t very focused on the task in front of you. Giving into distractions makes meeting deadlines more difficult. Check your email once every hour or twice a day. Whatever the frequency, make it minimal to maximize your time. Even try setting a timer so you don’t go over.
Once it’s time to go back to work, shut off electronic notifications and silence your phone. It’s important to use technology to your benefit, but don’t let it control your day or be a determinant of your work ethic.
Organize Your Electronic Files
Have desktop clutter and an inbox full of emails that you’ve read but never filed away for follow-up or deletion? These derail any chance at maintaining focus. If you have to, make a list – electronic or written – of emails that need to be addressed today and ones that can wait. Refrain from keeping emails in your inbox that don’t require action. Organize old emails by client and department.
As for your personal computer, organize the electronic files on your computer alphabetically, by client or file type. Be sure to archive old items to maximize visual space and computer data. You may even have your own sorting system that works for you. If you do, let us know by leaving a comment below.
End Every Day With Another “Brain Dump”
Ending the day with another “brain dump” helps you prepare for the next day. Update that to-do list and reorganize your desktop and inbox. Be sure to clean up your desk and cubicle clutter, too. A clean workspace gives off a shine that reeks of preparedness – and that’s the point.
You can’t encourage other employees to support work productivity if you aren’t exercising the same strategy yourself. You also can’t depend on your external environment to change if you aren’t invested in your own principles.
Start using the tips above to increase your productivity and success at work. Your infectious new attitude is likely to inspire those around you to adopt a new point of view on preparedness.
Personal productivity, combined with the right technology tools, is an unmatched asset for any company. Are your employees fully equipped for everyday success? Maximize office productivity by discussing current hurdles with a PointMan™.