Do you get to the end of the work day and find that you’ve only done half of the tasks you set out to do?
If you answered ‘yes’, then you probably also feel stressed and frustrated that you are not doing the work you are ‘supposed’ to be doing. Yet, when was the last time you sat down and studied ‘how’ you spend your time?
Most of us start the day by checking our emails while we gulp down some coffee. It could be 1 – 2 hours before we start doing our ‘real’ work. We’ll look at our messages and start with the one that is screaming the loudest. Then, more email notifications pop up so we respond to those. After that, it’s time for lunch. The afternoon goes by in much the same way. We’ve been busy all day but not really achieved anything.
The trouble with emails
Emails are a handy way to share information but they can also be a huge distraction when used ineffectively.
In Australia, around 55% of workers check their email every 10 minutes. Then, it takes up to 24 minutes to refocus on the original task. The numbers don’t add up, do they?
The other habit many of us fail to do well is to schedule time for different tasks – and stick to the plan!
The 2 most effective productivity habits you can start today
The good news is that there are 2 simple habits you can develop that will dramatically improve your productivity very quickly – email batching and time blocking.
1. Email batching
Instead of checking your emails throughout the day, set aside specific times to read them in ‘batches’. This allows you to focus 100% on your tasks as you do them, and then focus fully on your emails and replies. You can concentrate better and are less likely to make mistakes.
When you scan through your inbox, you’ll likely find that most of the messages are junk or need no response from you. Delete them!
For the other messages, ask yourself, “How long can I go before replying?”. If it is 2 hours, then schedule some time to check your inbox every 2 hours and turn off your notifications in the meantime. Many people can manage with only checking twice a day.
When viewing your messages, if you can respond within 5 minutes, then go ahead and do it on the spot. If not, schedule a time to deal with that task or delegate it.
2. Time blocking
At the start of each week:
· List all the things you want to achieve that week and prioritise them.
· Find a diary or calendar that suits your needs and block out specific times to do each task.
· Include as much as you can and be realistic about your expectations.
· Also, be flexible as plans can change suddenly and allow yourself time for rest, too.
Once you start to work more efficiently, you’ll likely find that you can achieve much more in less time.
These 2 habit changes will soon turn from always being reactive to being very proactive. You’ll be in control of your time and your stress levels will be much healthier. Plus, increasing your workplace productivity gives your greater prospects for career development. Why not get started today?
Call to action…
To learn more about how you can become more time-efficient at work, head to The Mentor List, where you’ll find an in-depth interview with Cholena Orr – one of Australia’s leading experts in workplace productivity. Cholena discusses these tips in detail and shares many more that are guaranteed to boost your performance sky-high.
Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au/cholena
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