Time is our most precious commodity. We are all challenged to do more in a shorter amount of time. However, you can take steps to increase productivity which will help you and your management team make the best use of your days.
Here are ten simple ways to get started:
1. Act immediately on phone messages and emails.
If you can accomplish a task in just a few minutes, do it. It is one less thing on your to do list and you will have that immediate sense of accomplishment. If you let too many small activities pile up, you will be “playing catch” up the rest of the day.
2. Get a head-start on tomorrow by preparing before you leave the office today.
The simple task of writing a to-do list is one of the most efficient ways of keeping track of your daily work requirements. By writing out a list for tomorrow before you leave the office at night, you will have an immediate head-start on your next day and be ready for your new priorities.
3. Don’t sit at your desk all day.
It is important to get up, walk around the office and take a few minutes for a “mental break.” These short breaks will reinvigorate you and help you be more productive in the long term.
4. Organize your tasks.
By arranging your workday so that you tackle your most important priorities together, you will save time, be more efficient and ultimately produce higher quality work. In addition, by starting your day with the most important task, you will increase your productivity and get your day off to a good start.
5. Stand up for your phone calls.
It is amazing that the simple act of standing during a phone call will actually help shorten the call, thus saving you time. If you are standing you are less likely to be involved in idle chatting and you will get to the point of the conversation faster.
6. Stick to a schedule.
If a meeting is scheduled for an hour, do everything possible to keep it to an hour. Once meetings start running long, it directly impacts the rest of your schedule for the day, while also impacting your co-workers. A series of meetings that run long will have a snowball effect throughout the day. Also, if you are not required to be at a meeting and you have a more pressing deadline, do not feel guilty about missing the meeting.
7. Learn to say no.
While everyone wants to be a good team player, saying no is sometimes the right thing to do. If you are not the best person to loop in, or if you have other pending deadlines, it is OK to turn down a project. However, it is always beneficial to have an alternate solution or suggestion, so that your management team has a clear vision of what they will need to do to help move their projects forward.
8. Don’t let email take over your day.
We are all so accustomed to email that as soon as we see a new email in our inbox we instinctively click it on, respond and focus on the content of the email. These seemingly tiny activities during the day can quickly add up to large amounts of time that not only cause your day to slip away but also distract you from completing your current task.
If you are focused on a project, tell yourself that you will not check your email for a set amount of time, so that you get through your activity. This will not only save time in the long run, but provide a better result for your current work.
9. Don’t take advantage of Facebook in the office.
Social media is a part of all of our daily lives. However, to save time you must have the discipline to not spend large parts of your day seeing what your friends thought of the latest movie release or what they had for dinner last night. Many companies are moving towards banning Facebook in the office, as it is becoming a drain on the workday.
If you and your team are on Facebook during the day, be sure to use it as a “break” for just a few minutes, because if it becomes a regular habit, it can easily take over your day and impact the work needed to get done.
10. Use technology.
There are amazing tools that you can use in the office to make you more productive and ultimately save time during the workday. Use GoogleDocs to collaborate with colleagues on documents. Use calendar planning tools to sync up your schedules with colleagues.
Use Skype for video conferencing so that you can potentially reduce the need to travel for meetings. Also, work with your IT team to see if they have suggestions on which new technologies can be used to save time. They can be a tremendous resource not only to you but to the entire organization.