Some professionals mistake busyness for productivity when nothing could be further from the truth. Making a whole list of "busy work" may make you feel accomplished, but it can be incredibly unproductive and often is. Meetings, emails, and simple tasks are often bread-and-butter of the typical day in the office, but these tasks can obscure crucial other opportunities. Here are a few ways you can revolutionize your daily productivity, all backed up by experts and research.
1. Decline the Meeting Invitations
Meetings are a somewhat archaic way of communicating with everyone in your office, and they can make your day feel ultra-productive and busy. But the fact of the matter is, meetings tend to be a time-suck with little action to show for the effort. Avoid calling meetings whenever possible, and keep necessary meetings short and to the point. If you do have a clear list of deliverables and follow-up from each meeting, you might want to revisit the reason for holding the meeting in the first place.
2. Don't Try to Multitask
Did you know that you can't multitask? We don't mean you in particular, but humans in general. Researchers say that multitasking should be called "task-switching," and that switching from one task to another exhausts your brain. When you switch from a task, your brain takes a while to refocus and regain your previous level of productivity. The average time it takes to refocus on single task is 22 MINUTES! This means that it's better to stick to one task at a time. One very helpful thing that I have done is give my superior a single, goal-oriented deliverable to start every week. I write it down on my brainstorming board and then email my boss at the beginning of the week. This gives me accountability and it keeps me narrowed to the most important deliverable I have not completed. This does not mean it's the only thing i do; that is not possible. When I do refocus after an interuption, it helps me to instantly get back to the most important task.
3. Take a Break (at the Right Time)
Again, this suggestion may seem counterintuitive when you're gunning for productivity. But taking strategic breaks can make your productivity skyrocket, especially when these breaks clear your mind and allow you to reset mentally. The most productive breaks include getting outside, moving your body, and hydrating. Find a rhythm that works best for you personally. One good suggestion for your office team is to set up Follow Me Printing. "Follow Me" will keep you from having to stop every five minutes to grab a critical document off the printer, but you can also build a routine of regular breaks. Every hour or so, you can get up, take five minutes to grab a drink, have a chat, push all your print jobs out and head back to your desk.
Ronnie Hay is the Marketing Director for UBEO.