One of the things that I have become good at over time is being efficient with my work time. In all of my jobs I have always been slightly against the clock and it has made me very aware of how quickly time flies and keen to use it wisely. In this day and age, there are so many distractions in life, and especially at work, but it makes a lot of sense to use work time well in order to make time for the fun stuff.
In this blog article I am going to explore exactly how you can make much better use of your time by being a bit more organised. If you are anything like me, you will want those dreary jobs out of the way as soon as possible in order to have some more relaxing time and space. I intend to suggest some productivity hacks to make it easier to achieve this.
Where does the time go?
Lately, I have been observing other people working and noticing a few things that slow them down. Whether it is working from home or being swept up in a busy workplace, distractions are everywhere and frequently make simple tasks take a lot longer than they should.
Here are a few things that slow productivity at work:
1) When getting into a specific task, noticing a new email pop up and then indulging in opening it and getting sucked into its content. This results in a period of time being used away from the main task and leads to different tangents that reduce overall efficiency. Productivity levels fall when this kind of thing happens at work.
2) Walking to perform a task and getting sidetracked by a colleague on the way, by stopping for a chat. This is one of those everyday things that causes productivity and time management to diminish.
3) Taking a personal phone call while at work.
4) Deflecting a task, in preference for an easier job. This makes the less popular task drag on and can complicate things if it delays other processes or people end up chasing you for it to be done. Sometimes deflected jobs also get forgotten, causing all sorts of complications later on.
5) Not planning your day properly OR not sticking to your plan.
I could go on and on but will stop there. I am sure that you can think of many other ways in which work tasks can also be delayed or skipped due to distractions. Feel free to mention other examples in the comments below this post.
So, what can we do to keep up our productivity at work? How will we make simple adjustments that improve our efficiency and get things done quicker?
Here are my suggestions for being more productive:
1) Have a simple plan to follow throughout the day. Include some periods of catch-up. If you work from home, pencil in a ‘fake’ meeting to your online timetable, to prevent people from disturbing you for an hour, allowing you to get everything in order.
2) Turn your personal phone off until a dedicated break time. One of my friends was saying that she was alarmed by a news update at work and it stressed her out. When I asked how she knew, she said it had popped up on the phone and she was tempted to read it and then got distracted by it. Turning it off will stop notifications, others calling you and text messages lurking on the screen that may demand your attention.
3) As much as possible, have everything that you need with you so you are ready to go and don’t need to spend part of your day retrieving or searching for things. Nothing is more frustrating and time consuming that being ready to do a task and finding that you are unprepared due to missing something that you need.
4) If someone tries to sidetrack you with a conversation as you make your way to and from the photocopier, ask them to join you and hold that chat next to the copier. Or simply, politely inform them that you are very busy and would love to catch up at lunchtime. Remember – quite simply, some people spend their day trying to get out of being productive. Don’t be one of them.
5) When holding a meeting, be it face-to-face or online, remind everyone politely that there is an agenda and simply stick to it. Recently I overheard a zoom meeting where the first person speaking had a new cat and everyone cooed over it for the next ten minutes or so, delaying the start of the actual meeting.
I love a good chat! However, meetings can drag on and run over if you allow chitchat and off-task discussions. I know that I sound harsh but keeping the pace is important, especially when maintaining a productive mindset. I do wonder how many millions of hours of online meetings are wasted with general gossip and chat which is nothing to do with the meeting focus.
I hope that you have found these simple observations and suggestions useful. I know it can seem insensitive to keep the pace going when you are at work and others want a chat, but I have learned that doing so means getting tasks completed on time. This then leaves plenty of free time after work to socialise and means not having to work late to catch up on errands.
Thank you for taking the time to read my productivity hacks blog post today. Please check Boost Your Income – Side Hustle Suggestions for ideas of how to make extra income in the time you will have saved by being more efficient. Please also consider following my blog for similar future content.