Productivity is critical to your team’s success. Business owners, managers, and executives all want to get the most from their employees, but if you’re failing to implement your own productivity strategies, then challenging your employees to be productive is fruitless.
Everyone wants to get more done in their day and feel accomplished as each day comes to an end. If you and your team are not performing as efficiently as others, or want to accomplish even more throughout the day, consider these tips:
Minimize interruptions Maximize Productivity
This seems self-explanatory, but in this day and age, distractions are everywhere especially online. If you work from a computer, as many do, there is the ever-present lure to check social media, watch videos and surf the web.
Turn off notifications on your computer and phone, limit your time on social media and email. Use social media as a tool to increase productivity at work. Allow yourself a set number of minutes browsing after you accomplish a major task.
As a manager, it can be even harder with the added pressures of managing not only your own distractions but those of your entire team. Here are some strategies you can implement in order to help your team reach their maximum productivity levels:
Edit their workload with Apps
Because it’s your responsibility as a manager or employer to develop an action plan that allows everyone to be more productive, don’t automatically say yes to any job that comes your way. Remember to consider each project with an eye to whether or not it takes advantage of what your team, and only your team, has to offer.
Developing an action plan isn’t the easiest task but apps like Asana or Trello are easy to use and provide convenient access to information employees need consistently on the job. With Asana, you can keep everyone’s tasks organized and know exactly what is going on at all times.
At ProSky, we use software to not only keep track of the tasks we create for ourselves in a safe place, but we can also see what everyone else is doing by creating various groups and inviting different members of the team to be included in those groups. This is a great organizational tool that keeps productivity high with far fewer distractions than emailing or using social media.
There are many technology apps that allow you to prioritize your tasks so you know what needs to get done first. Hazel Siu Organic Performance Specialist at Money Smart suggests to save the day-to-day tasks at the end of the day. She states,
"We all have routine and mundane tasks to do, esp. when you're in entry-mid level. Instead of spending time and energy to do the routine tasks in the morning, save it for the last 1-2 hours of your working hours. With the rush of getting off work, you'll be amazed how fast you can do your daily tasks and perform the best in your most important work."
Take Scheduled Breaks
It might sound counterintuitive to improving productivity, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration and reduce distractions. As long as they are kept to a minimum, research has shown that “taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.”
Allow employees to take a short walk around the office or even down the street for a healthy snack or cup of coffee. Brief breaks can actually increase productivity by allowing you to return to your work with fresh eyes and ready to block out unnecessary distractions.
Bottom line is that when it’s time to work, work! Every company has those employees that chat about everything from office gossip to the latest TV show they binge-watched over the weekend. Although interruptions during the workday are inevitable, minimize them to the best of your ability. If you have an office with a door, keep it closed, let people know that you’re trying to finish a project, sometimes even popping in your headphones (music on or off is your choice) can get coworkers off your back.
Set boundaries for you and your employees and try your very best to abide by them daily. As a manager, your ability to minimize distractions as much as possible can single-handedly increase productivity for your entire team!
Multitasking is a productivity killer. While we often tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill that increases efficiency, it is quite the opposite. Research shows that productivity can be reduced by as much as 40 percent by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks. So instead, make it a habit to commit to a single task before moving on to your next project.
By focusing on one task at a time and giving it your full attention before moving on to something else, you will boost your productivity tenfold and the quality of your work will not suffer. Focus on getting a maximum of 3 things done at a single time, this simple method has helped us at ProSky increase productivity and avoid over-extending ourselves.
One solution that helps with multitasking is to simply prioritize and focus on the most important things that need to get done. Nick Disney, owner of Sell My San Antonio House says it best when saying,
"The best tip for being more productive in the workplace is to stop focusing on how much you can get done and start focusing on getting the most impactful things done. If you can focus on or have your employees focus on five significant things to accomplish each day and prioritize those in front of everything else, you will find your days being more impactful and productive. Start at the beginning of the day by thinking of five key business drivers that you can focus on that day and block specific time to accomplish those tasks. Completing those things are what will make the biggest difference in your business and make you truly more productive."
Stop Unnecessary Meetings
Let’s be honest here, no one likes an unnecessary meeting! Meetings are time vampires and according to Atlassian, “the average office worker spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings". Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or Web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive). As a manager, if you believe that meetings are absolutely needed, then try a different type of approach.
Standing meetings (yes they are exactly what they sound like), can result in increased group participation, more time saved, improved group performance and ultimately higher productivity levels. Same goes for walking meetings which will help encourage your team to get out of the office on a regular basis and enjoy some fresh air. If managers are making an effort to be active or take a break throughout the day, your employees will feel less guilty about stepping away from their desks as well.
Improve your Project Management Systems
Finally, improving your Project Management System through software solutions can cut down on meeting times and allow you to already be in the know on what projects are being prioritized and what everybody needs to do.
A great tool we use to collaborate with is ProSky’s very own platform! With our desk feature, everybody can log in over video and audio chats to work together on various projects. This handy feature also gives teams real-time interaction abilities such as draw/write things on the online whiteboard, take notes, and upload files. If you are an executive, you can have separate groups for your tech, sales, or marketing team as you oversee multiple groups at once.
Achieving clarity around tasks and projects will greatly reduce the number of meetings you need to participate in. Visualizing projects can be helpful too, as it allows your team members to know where things are in the project pipeline, and it empowers them to know what to do next. Having the right software can be a game-changer, take time to review whether or not you have the right infrastructure in place for managing your projects.
If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder. There will be great benefits to your business as productivity improves for you, your team, and the company as a whole.