What would you say if I could send you home an hour earlier today?
And then every day after that as well?
What would you do with your extra hour?
Below are 5 productivity tips that will save you at least one hour every day.
1. Turn off your pop up alert – Bing!
The noise alert ‘you have mail’ has to be the greatest killer of productivity and concentration known to man. Get rid of the email alert and focus on one task at a time, especially when it requires thought and innovation. Check your emails at specific times throughout the day to enhance productivity and output. For example, only check emails at the start of your day, just before lunch and at the end of the day. One in five people fall into the category of ‘email dependent’ and compulsively check email and panic when they can’t get access.
2. Pick up the phone
Ever had one of those asynchronous email conversations that goes on like a Lleyton Hewitt 5th set tie breaker? Get out of the habit of long games of email tennis. Follow the 2 email rule – if you’re still not sure what to do after 2 emails revert to a really old fashioned way of communicating and pick up the phone and actually have a conversation and work out what needs to be done. Better still, if they work in the cubicle next to you, get out of your chair and go and see them face-to-face.
3. Make your meetings shorter
Why are all meetings scheduled for blocks of 60 minutes. Is it because that fits best with our electronic diaries? Turn your 60 minute meetings in 45 minutes and your 30 minute meetings into 25 minutes. Not only will you will save time spent in meetings but you will also have time to do the follow up admin or actually get to the next meeting on time before it starts.
4. Plan your day before you turn on email
Stop making endless To-Do lists that make you feel stressed about how much you haven’t done! Instead, kick-start each day with a Will-Do list and complete what is most important. Spending 10 to 15 minutes prioritising tasks at the start of each day (before you turn on your email) is a great way to get a clear picture of what really needs to be accomplished. We call this a Daily Warm Up. Then control your time as much as possible and focus on your action list. Get active, not reactive!
Ask the following key questions:
- What are five things I can do today that will make the biggest difference to my job/role/organisation/sales volumes etc?
- What do I do best? How can I stay on this and get support for/outsource the rest?
- Is there anything that needs doing urgently that I’m better off getting someone else to do for me?
- Am I setting up my day to maximise energy levels and boost productivity?
5. Work in isolation
Have you ever noticed how much more productive you are when you don’t have constant interruptions? Once or twice a week isolate yourself from all of the distractions and try chunking your tasks together. Chunking involves focusing on completing one task at a time, or working on similar tasks together. Make a booking in your diary for three to four hours and work in isolation and get rid of interruptions. You can achieve forced isolation by:
- Putting a ‘Do not disturb sign’ on your door or workstation
- Stick headphones in your ears (even if you’re not listening to anything)
- Work in a coffee shop or designated quiet area to avoid the constant daily distractions
- Work from home
- Work in a dedicated quiet area/room
Each of the above tips can help you save at least an hour of wasted/distracted time every day. Imagine how productive you will be if you implement all 5 tips throughout an average working week?
Now, stop reading this article and go and get super productive and leave work an hour earlier – starting today!