10 Ways To Improve Office Productivity And Combat Wintertime Woes

Monday, 19 November 2018 12:28

Daylight savings can really put a damper on your productivity with the days getting shorter and the weather getting drearier. We are much less inclined to do the things, like take an outdoor lunch or a mid-morning trip to the corner coffee shop, that keep our energy levels up throughout the day when it is cold and dark outside. Let us talk about some ways that you can combat the winter weariness and improve your productivity levels at the office.

#1 Set Yourself Up For Success

Before leaving the office at the end of the day, take just a couple minutes to set yourself up for success the following day. Clear off your desk, ensure your inbox is empty and your voicemails have been handled all before leaving the office at the end of the day. All of the little things that could decrease not only your productivity but also your motivation when you come into work the next day can set the tone for the rest of your day. Rather than running out at 5pm and leaving your desk a mess, clean everything up so that you have a clean slate to come into work to the next day.

#2 Use Your Commute Wisely

Whether you walk, take the train, or drive to work, there is time in which you can maximize your productivity for the day that you may not be using. During your commute, create a to-do list for the day that orders your tasks by priority. More than just a to-do list, create a schedule that maximizes your time throughout the day.

#3 Follow The Two-Minute Rule

One of the most popular methods for combating procrastination is the idea of the two-minute rule. Any task that takes less than two minutes to complete should be handled immediately. It will take you longer to come back to these quick, one-off tasks and complete them later than if you just do them right away.

#4 Time Chunking

In addition to completing the quick and menial tasks right away, time chunk the rest of your tasks. Say you have emails that need to be responded to, phone calls to return, and two projects that require your attention. Build a schedule for yourself that allows you to dedicate your full attention to each task. It might look like the following:

8:00-9:00am Handle singular two-minute tasks

9:15-10:45am Project #1

11:00-12:30pm Phone Calls

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:45-3:15pm Project #2

3:30-5:00pm Emails

5:00-5:15pm Clean up and prepare for next day

In approaching your responsibilities this way, you can eliminate the inclination to “multitask” when a phone call comes through or your email alert goes off, knowing that there is a specific time you have dedicated to handle these things. It reduces the interruptions and allows you to get more done faster.

#5 Book Meetings With Yourself

Meetings are one of the biggest deterrents to productivity. A large percentage of face-to-face meetings could have been handled via a phone call or email, saving everyone time. That being said, in order to avoid drop-in meetings or inconveniently scheduled appointments, book meetings with yourself. Your time is valuable so treat it as such. By blocking out “meetings” with yourself, you can ensure that you have sufficient time to get work done without interruptions and it forces scheduling to work around you, rather than you having to adapt your day to fit into intervals that are less convenient.

#6 Work In 90-Minute Intervals

After a certain point of intense focus, you stop being able to produce value. Studies of top performers show that approximately 90 minutes is when most people reach their limit of productivity. As you may notice in the sample schedule above, everything is broken up into 90 minute intervals. Even if a project is not complete, you will likely be more productive by stopping, taking a break, and coming back to it later when your mind and body are refreshed.

#7 Take More Breaks

For many, the idea of taking more breaks to be productive, instead of less, seems counterintuitive. However, even just a brief break between tasks can keep your mind agile as you work throughout the day. Some research has even led to recommendations of taking breaks as often as every 10 minutes for an hour. That may be ideal for your two-minute tasks, but less so for your major projects that require intense focus and diligence. Find out the break interval that works best for you and take them! Whether it is taking a lap around the office, transitioning your sitting desk to a standing position, or grabbing a cup of office coffee, any task that breaks your mind out of the shell of focus and helps you take a breath of fresh air can have benefits in the grand scheme of productivity.

#8 Set Mini Deadlines

Parkinson’s Law says that it is human nature to fill the maximum time allotted to complete a project. This means that we are inclined to procrastinate, even against our best intentions. Setting deadlines for yourself, even earlier than the project deadlines your superiors may have for you, can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and not let tasks get pushed to the back burner.

#9 Turn Off Your Notifications

Your cellphone, most certainly, can be highly distracting. Not only should you put your phone on silent, but you should also put it out of sight. In today’s high-touch culture, we are constantly looking for distraction, even subconsciously. Keeping your phone out of sight will prevent you from tapping that home button to see if anything is going on and breaking you out of your zone.

Additionally, you can turn off push or sound notifications from your email. If something is being sent via email it is not urgent and can wait until your allotted time to respond to requests sent through email. This will, again, prevent you from break the zone of focus with intrusive notifications.

#10 Make The Workplace More Fun

Last, but not least, if you want to encourage and improve productivity in the workplace, find ways to motivate your employees. Whether it’s pizza or a bonus, there are tons of ways to motivate employees to perform well that can fit every budget. Work with your team to find things they’d like and use those as external motivation to keep spirits high.

Improve Productivity And Move Your Bottom Line

From taking regular breaks to scheduling times to execute specific tasks, there are a number of easy ways to make little tweaks to your everyday work style to streamline your productivity. Minor changes can help you get more out of your day, which, in turn, can help you enjoy your time off even more.

To learn more about transforming your office environment and increasing productivity, contact redcup Beverage today and see how office coffee can play a role in creating a positive office culture.