We are all under pressure to be more productive at work in this modern, high tech, super fast microwave society, where we are expected to get things done now and we can’t wait for the kettle to boil so hot taps were invented with instant boiling water for your instant coffee. One answer has been to spend more time working. In the UK, when we look at full time workers statistics, we work the longest hours per week in the EU. However, in terms of productivity index per hour worked, the UK is average in the league, according to the Office of National Statistics. There are numerous ways to improve productivity at work, here are just six we have chosen as they are simple changes to adopt which could save a lot of time over the long run.
- Work in short bursts.
Rather than continuously working for hours through a task, break it down into a 25-minute time period followed by a 5-minute break. Repeating this time management technique known as the Pomodoro technique, encourages a sense of urgency and helps keep focus.
- The 2-minute rule.
If a task is going to take no more than 2 minutes to complete, do it immediately. According to entrepreneur Steve Olenski doing this takes less time than going back to the task.
- Say no to meetings.
Think back to the meetings you’ve attended. How many could you have avoided at no detriment to other attendees.
- Forget Multitasking.
We think of multitasking as working more efficiently. However, psychologists have found this can be less efficient than being fully committed to one task until completion, only then moving on to the next. An example of this that many may recognise is reading and replying to emails whilst engaged in a telephone conversation.
- Turn off Notifications.
Email, voicemail, text, all have notifications that cause distraction, turn them off and set aside a time to check all of them at once.
- Minimise Interruptions (as best you can).
Ways to achieve this will vary depending on your office environment, but if you are able to close your door when you have important tasks or deadlines to get completed generally people understand this as a do not disturb signal. If, however you work in an open planned office you can email other colleagues that you are unavailable for the next 25 minutes and if it is urgent please speak to another colleague.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort”. – Paul j. Meyer.