Time is precious in our busy workplaces and following these tips will help ensure you are maximising the productivity of your day.
- Plan your day … every day
You know the drill – you get into work, check your emails and you are then dictated to for the rest of the day by your inbox. The upshot is that you get caught up with other people’s agendas and neglect your priorities.
Instead, use the first 15 to 20 minutes of every day to plan your day and don’t start other work until your plan is in place. To-do lists are important and digital tools such as MS Outlook and Google Tasks can assist with synchronising emails, calendars and jobs.
Tackling the easier things on your to-do list first often makes sense because crossing things off your list creates a sense of accomplishment and momentum. But make sure that the more complicated projects are not always pushed to the back of the line.
- Have an action plan … and follow it
It’s one thing to have a to-do list, but some people focus too much on the list itself and not enough on following up and scheduling when tasks must start and finish. Setting a definite schedule gives you peace of mind and also let others who are working simultaneously on projects know that there is a deadline. That brings us to delegating or outsourcing. Many workers are trying to juggle a multitude of tasks that should never been on their to-do list in the first place. Learn how to assign jobs to your peers.
- Switch off email and social media … now
Email and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are wonderful tools for communication and generating business, but they can be very distracting. So control them rather than letting them control you. Try checking your emails once in the morning, once after lunch and once before you leave the office. This allows you to respond promptly to important issues while actually getting work done. Likewise, limit your time on social media unless you are specifically using them to ramp up business.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings … or keep them short
Meetings can take up an enormous amount of workers’ time, yet many lack a purpose, stray off the agenda and run over schedule. If you must have a meeting, try to keep it as short as possible and don’t schedule it for an hour if it is likely to require only 40 minutes because it will inevitably drag on to fill the allotted time. If possible, schedule meetings at your offices rather than travelling to other venues – this can be a real-time-saver.
- Ignore meaningless tasks … and know when to call time on a project
The truth is that some jobs are a waste of time, and they are done simply because of habit and poor management. Be objective about some of your tasks and whether they are truly valuable. It is also important to know when an important project has been successfully completed and to avoid the temptation to continue working on it in search for perfection. Stop and move on.