The recent spell of hot UK weather has been much appreciated, but has made working in a warm office environment a bit trickier. Here’s some quick tips to avoid the common pitfalls for productivity that are helping the LevyColes team stay on top of their workloads and deadlines…
1. Avoiding the biggest job of the day – perhaps the biggest barrier to productivity is avoiding the most important task of the day, in favour of smaller, less important tasks. We kid ourselves about getting these smaller tasks ‘off our desk’ but by the end of the day all we’ve done is complete a handful of small tasks and now the important one is late!
Solution – Challenge yourself to begin this big task in the morning whilst you are fresher, avoiding emails and meetings until you have made a decent dent on it. Or ask yourself why are you putting it off, do you not understand it fully? If so ask the person who tasked you for more information. Does it seem overwhelmingly large? Then break it into smaller tasks and challenge yourself to complete them.
2. Obsessively checking email – this is a major cause of distraction for most of us in the work day. It causes you to jump from one task to the next and often without a wider view of the prioritisation of the importance of the tasks.
Solution – Set times during the day to field emails and the rest of the day to complete larger tasks.
3. Responding to app notifications – this is another major distraction during the day. Interruptions during a task can take 15 minutes to recover from and in this highly connected world there is no end of social updates. But ask yourself really, is a message from your partner about what to eat for dinner, or an update on your friends latest hairdo really more important than missing that deadline?
Solution – Switch off your phone during important tasks, or switch of app notifications and set a time you will check them during the day.
4. Filling your day with meetings – anyone who works in an office is guilty of this one right? You open your calendar and its choc full of meetings! How will you get your tasks done today? Simple answer – you won’t, meaning staying late or working over the weekend!
Solution – Meetings should be short, sweet and to the point. Only book a meeting if absolutely necessary, be sure to only include people who have to be there, add an agenda so people can prepare and post the meeting minutes afterwards. If you haven’t organised the meeting and you don’t think its relevant, go back to the meeting organiser and challenge them for an agenda.
5. Not Prioritising – Detailed all your goals but now overwhelmed with how many you have and have reverted to doing the simplest first? Also you can begin flitting from one task to another leading to countless tasks started but none finished, missed deadlines and instead of keeping everyone happy, everyone is still waiting for your input of task. Sound familiar?
Solution – Take the time to prioritise your goals quickly in the morning before you start work and at the end of the day, to decide what you will tackle tomorrow.
6. Poor Planning – Whether you are failing to plan at all, or planning so much that unexpected tasks throw everything out of sync, planning is critical.
Solution – Take the time to list and map out what needs to be done at the start of your week. What do you need to achieve? Break this into chunks to achieve throughout the week. Planning tools like Asana, Trello or Planner can help. Plan for 5 hours of work every day to leave room for the unexpected tasks.
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