While there are loads of ideas floating around on how to improve office productivity, real change begins with personal decisions to use our time better. Much of what we’ve come to think of as efficient may actually be just the opposite.
Multi-Tasking is Over-Rated
Juggling several tasks at once used to be considered a worthy and admirable goal. The busier we were, the more goals we were able to meet. Right? As it turns out, we’ve got it all wrong.
Multitasking by answering emails, taking phone calls and dealing with interruptions while also working on a project is a sure way to make mistakes and miss deadlines. In fact, task-switching of this kind results in a 40% decline in productivity, having the same effect as missing a night’s sleep.
By concentrating on the task at hand and taking care of peripheral needs later, you’ll accomplish more in less time. Silence your cell phone, keep your to-do list to 3 daily items, avoid email and social media, and learn to prioritize. And while you’re at it, get comfortable with the word “no”.
Are you taking full advantage of new technologies? For example, if your workplace offers a print from phone option, learn how to access this and other technologies to streamline your workflows and free up time.
Empower Your Workspace
A workspace that empowers gives you the determination you need to get down to business. Try these methods to make yours more productive:
- Try out a standing desk or ergonomic chair.
- Face your desk toward a window or install full spectrum light bulbs in lamps and overhead fixtures.
- Keep healthy, energy-fueling snacks close at hand.
- Place air-purifying plants on or near your desk.
- Put a few personal items and photos where you can see them.
- Use color to give yourself a productivity boost—choose green, blue and red for binders and desktop organizers.
- Take your break outdoors whenever possible.
- Get back to work fast with conveniences like print from phone, electronic document management and more.