We live in a world that functions in a state of constant noise. While the pinging, dinging and “you’ve got mail” alerts on your phone, smartwatch, computer and tablet (all simultaneous of course) can be helpful, they can also be a major deterrent to managing your day-to-day workload. In this environment taking the time to consider your productivity and simple ways to increase it can make the difference between a stressful never-ending list of tasks and a productive day at the office.
Set aside the beginning and end of your day to read and respond to emails.
In between set aside a 30-minute slot at 11am and then 3pm to read, respond and prioritize work and follow-up from the corresponding batch of emails.
It is so tempting to address every email as it hits your inbox. It only takes a quick second to read and then you don’t have to deal with it. The reality is, the majority of emails we receive are going to take more than that quick second. If we are honest with ourselves – we don’t really know how long the email will take to address until it has actually been read and by then, we’ve already pulled our mental focus from the task at hand. We’ve now spent 10 minutes to read and respond and another 5 minutes to get back in the headspace and thought process of the previous task.
By setting aside dedicated time, multiple times a day to address your email, we can maintain a steady stream of focused thought to the task-at-hand enabling us to finish the task more thoughtfully and expediently.
Remove automatic log-ins to Social Media
We all do it, we’re in the middle of writing a proposal and then “click” and you’ve made the social media jump. With the majority of programs now being web-based, one quick click will instantly take us to our Social Media feeds – again, breaking your steady stream of focus.
Try this simple trick – delete all automatic log-in’s and disconnect all the “remember me’s” on your social media accounts. No longer is it a simple click to view your Facebook page but a multi-step process. By adding the additional barrier of a log-in screen we are more likely to avoid visiting the site altogether.
If technology is calling, take a walk.
Sometimes our brains just need a break. When we find ourselves being called to the quick and easy distractions of social media, personal email or another one of the many productivity black-hole’s we can find ourselves in, take the opportunity to get some fresh air and take a short walk.
Walking has been scientifically proven to increase both creativity and productivity. Taking a step away from the computer will help us return to the task at hand with greater vigor and maybe even a few new ideas.
With these steps and one less, ding, ping and “you’ve got mail” at a time, we can begin tackling a more focused and productive day.