People pride themselves on how ‘well’ they can multitask. But in reality, it’s said that multitasking is really just ‘task-switching’. “Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity” says Guy Winch, PHD. We never really get ‘into the zone’ when we continue to switch tasks, whereas if we focused on just one task, we would be more attentive towards that task and be completely focused on completing it.
The mid-afternoon slump during the working week is a common occurrence for many up and down the country. Whether this be from waking up early, stuffing yourself full of fatty foods or just generally working very hard and this can wreak havoc on our productivity during the early hours of the afternoon.
, however, can improve your mood, keep you alert and focused, and ultimately, help increase your energy levels. So instead of staring at your screen for another hour, take a walk around the local park, or pick out a gym class for your lunch hour.
9. Nullify interruptions
Busy offices are full of distractions that can take your mind away from your work. Taking steps towards nullifying any interruptions can go a long way to help getting your daily goals completed.
If you have an office with a door, make sure that is closed if you have time sensitive work to get finished. An open door looks inviting to onlookers, so make sure you keep it closed. If possible, working from home can also help you keep focused on the work at hand.
10. Take breaks frequently
Taking breaks might sound counterproductive, but you couldn’t be more wrong. In recent studies, it has been found that brief diversions from a prolonged task can greatly improve your ability to focus. This study debunks decade old studies that said otherwise.
So don’t be hard on yourself for taking a quick break, whether you want to catch up with a friend, enjoy a short walk or even practice some meditation.
11. Listen to music
Listening to music may sound counterproductive but in actual fact it’s been found that nine out of 10 workers perform better when listening to music. Listening to music is uplifting and can improve your emotional state, allowing you to perform better. “Music is a key tool for business success”, Christine Geissmar, operations director at PPL.
12. Track and limit the amount of time spent on tasks
Tracking the amount of time you spent on your daily tasks will enable you to identify the time-wasters. While many of us may think we’re good at timekeeping, once you’ve tracked yourself for a week, you may be surprised just how long you spend on ‘nothing’ tasks.
Pen and paper may be people’s go to for tracking time, but if you desire something a little more fancy, there are countless apps and online tools specifically designed to help you.
13. Utilise your daily commute
For many of us, catching the train or bus is something of a daily occurrence. While it’s tempting to crush some candies or browse the monotonous posts on Facebook, your time could be spent a little more productively.
Instead, why not bust out your emails and make some head way towards that illustrious zero inbox. If you do manage to reach the all important number 0 in your inbox before you’ve even set foot in the office, you’re one step ahead of the game and on your way to a winner of a day.
14. Introduce standing meetings
Meetings, meetings, meetings. Every week, valuable time is wasted in meetings when they we could all be shorter and more effective. Studies have shown that meetings are 34% shorter if you’re standing up.
The quality of each meeting does not suffer as of a result of the way you conduct the meeting (either sitting or standing), so who wouldn’t want to make meetings shorter by standing instead? And as we already know, sitting down for too long each day has been linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic health issues.
15. Stop obsessing over perfection
Gunning for perfection is a hopeless task that inevitably just wastes time. We are all human and that fact goes hand in hand with imperfection. This doesn’t mean you have a free pass to hand in less than your best work. But there has to be a balance between you doing your best and you striving for perfection.
Perfection is a time-waster. If you feel the need to revisit a piece of work later down the line, then do so. A fresh perspective can breathe new light into your work, but don’t sit there for hours on end banging your head against the desk trying to obtain perfection.
If your workload is leaving you stressed, try to resist the temptation to put in more hours. Instead, work smarter with the time you have. As seen above, there is an abundance of actionable ways to improve your productivity.