There are only so many hours in a day making it crucial to have the skills to make the most out of your time. To be productive in todays workplace you either have to work longer hours or work harder- if you’re anything like me, you prefer the latter.
Figuring out how to maximize your time at work doesn’t take a genius, however it does require more deliberation on how you will manage the time you are given. Thankfully we live in a technology based world that provides us with resources to help us keep track of responsibilities and make our work day run smoothly.
Following these 6 simple but effective strategies will ensure you are making the most out of the time you are given in the work day.
- Identify and Focus your Goals
One tool that is often overlooked is a "To Do" list. Making yourself a “To Do” list keeps your daily tasks organized so you can efficiently complete everything. The list should include items like your tasks, long-term projects with due dates, and items that need immediate action. Make sure your list is prioritized and has proper deadlines to keep yourself accountable for all responsibilities. Structuring your day around this list will help you stay focused and give you a set goal of what needs to be achieved.
- Use a Calendar to Manage Appointments
Technology is a wonderful thing isn’t it? Today we're able to sync the calendars on our phones with the calendars on our computers and with email event invites. This tool can keep you on task whether you’re working from the office or on a business trip across the country. Calendars can be used as a reference to scan your availability to effectively divvy out your time to not overbook yourself with meetings or miss appointments.
- Invest in a Dependable Communication System
Communication is hands down one of the most crucial aspects of business operations. Any lack of an effective communication system will hinder your ability to achieve the simplest of goals. Taking advantage of a dependable communication system will increase internal and external productivity through features such as instant messaging and video conferencing. For example, a VoIP phone system allows for easy intra-office communication as well as seamless integration with email and CRM.
- Take a Lunch!
Okay I get it, you’re on a roll. You’ve just finished 5 of your seemingly endless "To Do" list and you don’t want to lose any motivation. But what about that grumbling sound coming from your stomach and the shakiness in your hands from caffeine overload? That’s a sure sign you need to step away from your desk and take a break. Removing yourself from your work and thinking about anything else, even for a short time, allows you to relax and reboot. Being stressed out and hungry is only going to negatively impact your job performance and efficiency.
- Be Proactive, Not Reactive.
Set aside time for responding to emails and answering phone calls without letting them determine how your day is going to be shaped. Allowing phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will not allow you to accomplish everything you have planned. Every phone call may not be crucial- just don’t ignore your boss! During work hours, turn off your notifications on your smart phone. I promise that your Old Navy coupons and what your Aunt in Colorado is doing will still be there once the work day is over.
- Minimize Interruptions
Having office friends makes the work day less agonizing. Having them pop their head into your office to chat may seem innocuous, but these brief interruptions are actually affecting the flow of your productivity. Minimizing interruptions such as too many catch up session will allow the flow of your day to be smooth. You may feel like you're missing out on some office gossip but you'll thank yourself for staying on task at the end of the day.
If you find yourself needing to increase productivity at work, apply these 6 tips to your daily routine. Take a step back and truly think about the ways you can work smarter, not harder.