Staying productive in the workplace can be a challenge at times; phonecalls, emails and meetings all have their place but can in themselves be interruptions.
Your chances of staying focused can be greatly improved by taking a few simple steps to lighten your workload. It can also help greatly to assess your workspaces and make the most of the right area for the right task…
Act immediately on phone messages — If you can accomplish a task in just a few minutes, do it. The simple use of a huddle space can give the ability for you address an urgent issue with a colleague or two, or to discuss a plan of action.
Don’t sit at your desk all day — It is important to get up, and take a few minutes for a ‘mental break.’ This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change tasks or working areas; it could be something as simple as a sit-stand work station… These short breaks in routine will reinvigorate you and help you be more productive in the long term.
Show and tell — This isn’t just something that our children do in the classroom; it applies to the workplace too. If you work in a team, ensure you all get together in a designated meeting space for a short planned gathering to share information and set goals. Or, for something a little more informal, make use of a compact space or pod in close proximity to individual work points to assemble for a short period of time
Stand up for some phone calls — It is amazing that the simple act of standing during a phone call will actually help shorten the call, thus saving you time. If you are standing you are less likely to be involved in idle chatting and the conversation will be a purposeful interaction… Another good opportunity to maximise use of a sit-stand workstation.
Create and stick to a schedule — Engage with the specific content associated with the task in hand and do not waste time; if a meeting is scheduled for an hour, do everything possible to keep it to an hour. Once meetings start running over, it directly impacts on the rest of your day, and also your colleagues’ too… Perhaps use a designated meeting space that needs to be booked for an allocated time.
Don’t let email take over your day — It is all too easy to instinctively click on a new email the moment we see it appear; this is not always necessary and can cause your concentration to slip away and distract you. If you are focused on a task, tell yourself that you will not check your email for a set amount of time, so that you get through your activity.
Use technology to help you — Could a Skype call help you avoid time away from the office and ultimately save you time during the work day? Could a message be delivered to co-workers via email to avoid an unnecessary meeting? Can you collaborate with colleagues on documents, images and calendars using cloud based filing systems?
Make sure it’s not ‘just another manic monday‘ — Prepare for the week ahead before you leave the office on Friday… The obvious task of keeping a current a to-do list is one of the most efficient ways of keeping track of tasks. It will give you a head start for the week ahead and perhaps be the catalyst to converse with colleagues and keep them up to date… You know you’re humming the song in your head now, so go for it, click on the link, sing along and imagine you’re by a crystal blue Italian stream!!