Do you attack work with a mindful, purposeful strategy, or is each day more of a “survive and advance” situation?
If you tend be a water-treading, box-ticking hoop-jumper who can never quite emerge from the weeds, try these ideas to gain workday traction—and hopefully satisfaction.
Limit time spent on email and social media. Many people start each day with a SWAT-team sweep of their Outlook apparatus—and then just keep that inbox open all day. If you’re consistently bombarded by notifications, consider the findings of NYU prof Adam Alter, who says it takes “25 minutes to get into the zone of maximum productivity after checking your emails.”
Less email perusing is more, according to University of Columbia researchers, who suggest three check-ins per day to reduce stress.
As we wrote previously on Ragan: “If you’re getting pinged and ponged around by pop-ups all day (email or otherwise), you’ll be continually distracted and derailed. So, disable those notifications that are impossible for our eyeballs to resist.”
If you need help weaning yourself off email or distracting social media sites, there are plenty of apps for that. If apps aren’t your thing, reserve and codify certain times of the day for specific social media sifting to scratch the itch. However you manage to curb your enthusiasm for scrolling, take such distractions seriously. Create a system that minimizes the amount of time you spend doing things that waste time, hamper your productivity and increase your stress.
Increase collaboration, delegation and possibly automation. Make a list of all those recurring, tedious jobs that tend to clot your schedule. With your list in hand, consider:
- Is there anything I can delegate?
- Are there projects on which I can ask for help and collaborate?
- Which tasks might I be able to automate?
Look for tiny ways to streamline your workday. Seek out software that can increase efficiency. Above all, prioritize collaboration to ensure you’re in alignment with your colleagues and to see if any load-sharing might be possible.
It might feel uncomfortable or annoying to constantly keep the team abreast of what you’re working on, but it’s the best, surest way to prevent duplicated effort. Many hands make for light work, though those hands must be fully informed and closely coordinated.
Spend more time and effort on recognition. Genuine appreciation is one of those few things we can all agree on. Everyone likes to feel valued and validated.
However, to get, sometimes you must first give. Be the person in your organization who sparks the recognition train. Consistently express appreciation to colleagues who come through in ways big and small. Make recognition a habit; view it as a pleasurable task that’s part of your job. Recognition is contagious, and so is good morale.
Remember: Boosting productivity, efficiency and effectiveness are all important aspects of editing your workday. But time spent building connections, uplifting spirits and strengthening bonds will yield a more profound ROI.