There’s nothing quite as satisfying to leaders and mangers than a team that excels with productivity. In fact, it’s safe to say that we’d all like to be a little more productive, both in our personal and in our professional lives. Even though we’re all given the same amount of hours every day, it’s hard not to notice that some people tend to accomplish a great deal in their allotted hours while others struggle to cross just one thing off their to-do list.
If you’re hoping that this is the year you and your team can be more productive in the workplace, here are 5 clever productivity hacks to help you accomplish more every day and get on track with your goals.
- The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, entails breaking down tasks into 25-minute time blocks. Essentially, you work against a timer and when 25 minutes has elapsed, you take a 5-minute break. Then you pursue another 25 minutes of work. Once you’ve completed 4 blocks of work, you can take a longer break that’s anywhere from 15-30 minutes long.
The reason the technique works is because it requires you to completely focus on just one task without shifting attention to a distracting activity (social media, text messages, etc.) or multitasking. You’re essentially racing against the clock to complete as much as you can in your allotted time block. You’d be surprised by how much you can get done with this simple strategy!
- Site Blockers
Sometimes, we need a little bit more help when it comes to eliminating distractions. It’s astounding just how many hours in a single day we spend on social media, news sites, and more. If distractions like these have become a problem in your workplace, you might want to consider the use of site blockers.
There are several apps available for this purpose, whether you use a Mac or PC, as well as some apps that are browser-specific, such as a Google-Chrome extension. Try: SelfControl, StayFocusd, or Cold Turkey. The idea is that you input certain sites into the apps and then designate a length of time during which you won’t be able to access them. As a result, all the focus goes to your work instead.
- Planning Phone Calls & Emails
It isn’t just internet browsing that can be distracting, though. Sometimes the distractions come from phone calls and emails that are actually related to the work we’re doing. Unfortunately, these particular items—while seemingly small—can end up taking large chunks out of our daily schedule.
To remedy this, choose two times a day when you’ll check your email. For example, you might choose a thirty-minute block of time before lunch, and then another thirty minutes at the end of your work day. The idea is to only check/send/reply to emails during these blocks of time. That way, you’re not constantly checking your inbox or drowning in messages. As for phone calls, you can use the same strategy. Pick a time during the day when all your important phone calls will take place. Then, outside of that block of time, turn off your phone notifications so that you aren’t distracted from your work.
Are you repeatedly creating the same kinds of documents or emails regularly? To reduce the amount of time you’re spending on these tasks, call upon the help of a template instead. A template is a “fill-in-the-blank” type document, and they’re great for assignments that are created the same way every time. You can use templates for just about anything: presentations, spreadsheets, emails, etc.
A simple Google search for “templates” will generate a plethora of results for all kinds of documents. Many of these templates will be free to download. Alternatively, you can use them as inspiration for creating your own. Either way, you’ll shave off a great deal of prep time by having ready-made templates at your disposal.
- Productivity Tools
Above, we offered some suggestions for productivity tools you can use to stay focused on the task at hand, but there are other productivity apps out there that can help you automate your tasks, manage your time more effectively, and all around make you a more organized person. Here are just a few you should take look into:
Finally, if you spend more time than you care to admit resetting forgotten passwords, consider LastPass, which secures all of your passwords for you. Never enter another password again! This is especially a time-saver if you use numerous accounts in a single day.
Though some people are naturally more ambitious than others, productivity is a habit that we can all become better at over time. Using the productivity hacks above, you and your team will be sure to become more productive each and every day and perhaps even surprise yourselves with how much you accomplish!