If you’ve had days where you walk out of the office or shop floor feeling underwhelmed because the working day has not been as rewarding as it could have been, then check out our top tips to help you identify workplace woes and boost your productivity.
Ditch the Distractions
New research from Udemy, the global online education platform, shows just how much our working days suffer from modern day distractions. Not only are today’s workforce more likely to have shorter attention spans because the work environment is a whirr of smartphones pinging or constant chattering in an open plan office. In Udemy’s 2018 Workplace Distraction Report, 58% of respondents said that while they don’t need social media to do their jobs, they still can’t make it through the day without checking in on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But what would happen if you set a challenge of turning off phones for an hour each day? Could it make for a less distracted work place? Where emails are concerned it is helpful to have set times to check on mails instead of visiting the inbox every five minutes. Remove email access from your smartphone as this too helps break the habit of over-checking. The extra time saved, no matter how small will free up valuable time and let you handle immediate tasks.
Take a Breath
Stop for a minute. How has your work day been so far? Did you achieve what you set out to do? Have you allowed time to catch up on paperwork? Is there a task you need to prioritise today? There will always be something on your radar but why not try to take a moment for some deep breathing. We don’t want you to feel light headed from some Yogi-style inhalations. Indeed, just relax where you are and breathe. Nothing more, nothing less. In with some positivity, out goes the stress and panic. Deep belly breathing is great for the mind. Thoughts become less chaotic and mindfulness sets in (eventually). For now, allowing for those few minutes to inhale and release will work towards calming the mind.
Stay in the Moment
Joe from accounts needs a signature, three deliveries are due, there’s a client meeting in an hour….and so on it goes. In the spirit of our last tip, fix yourself a task to do one at a time. If you’re under pressure, delegate. If you are a sole trader, work out what is most pressing out of your workload and tend to that. You cannot control everything at once – as a small business owner you might feel you have to. But creating order will boost your productivity far more than rushing around to finish two things at once.
We all have our own way of keeping track of our work be that via calendar entries and spreadsheets on our PCs and smartphones, or even scribbling reminders on the back of your hand. Here in Microfinance Ireland we are firm supporters of the old school “to do list”. Invest in a cheap and cheerful memo pad. You’ll spend no more than a €1.50 in your local discount store on this item. Now at the end of every day, write the following day’s date with a list of what needs doing, preferably in order of immediacy. The following day, you’ll have list in hand to take you through what needs doing. Of course, by now you’re a dab hand at selectively checking mails, drowning out the noise and bustle of a busy business environment with a happy mind from all those deep belly breaths. With list in hand, cross out every task as it is completed. If you don’t finish everything it carries over to a new page and entry for the following day and an organised cycle begins again.
Keep Calm and Carry On
A frazzled boss or colleague can do more harm than good in a work environment. You may have experienced a scenario before you set up your own business where pressure was piled on top of heavy workload because a superior didn’t know how to manage otherwise. The last thing you need as a business owner to is lose the plot and fail to show leadership even under the most stressful situation. This mindset spills over in an office with others feeling the pressure to perform, making it more likely for mistakes to happen. By employing the tips above, you have a simplistic yet effective way to approach a working day. If something goes wrong, take that deep breath before responding – and trust us, you’re less likely to vent if you think before you talk. Secondly, put a halt on rushed email responses. Even if you’re time poor, you need to display the very best of your business in all correspondence – especially, if you receive a negative or curt enquiry. Press pause, consider a polite response and solution to any problem, and then reply.