How To Be More Productive At Work
Time flies when you're having fun and hopefully your job falls into that category. Before you know it, lunch hour rolls around and you turn your head and it's time to pack up and head home. There's lots of work to get done, calls to be made, emails to send, meetings to attend, and more. You get the picture – a workday can be jam-packed, so efficiency is key in order to stay on top of your work in an organized fashion that yields positive results. These tips will help improve your daily workplace efficiency so you are able to perform at your peak and succeed both personally and for the company as a whole.
We all get entirely too much email. It's the nature of modern communication. This doesn't mean you are obligated to check your inbox every single time an email floats in or must deal with pesky spam and other unwanted communication.
One way to block spam and junk mail and prevent dangerous mail from entering your inbox is to use a platform like Sendio. It will improve inbox efficiency and save time from sifting through all the nonsense. Spam and junk won't make it to your inbox so you'll never be bothered by solicitors, ads, or annoyances that would normally interrupt your day.
Another way to get email organized is by creating folders for email categories or organized by people or businesses from whom you regularly receive email. Outlook, for example will allow you to pre-determine your email settings so these emails go directly into the folders you desire for quick access.
Thirdly, don't let email distract you from other work you're doing. Yes, it's tempting to check whenever the mood hits you, but this will decrease your concentration and derail you from staying on task. Set aside a few pre-set times throughout the day that make sense for you to check email. Consider first thing in the morning, a mid-day check, and before you head home but with enough time to respond to pressing issues. Entrepreneur even suggests, "Don't leave your email program open all day long. Alerts and beeps from incoming messages can interrupt your work flow and leave you unfocused."
With your email management under control, you'll see how much more time you have for other work, and soon you won't be so inclined to check email constantly. It's a real stress-reliever!
With so much to fit into a single workday, scheduling can make the difference between getting it all done and falling off track. Plan your day strategically for the most efficient use of your time and resources.
For example, if you know you have a meeting at 10:00am, be sure to arrive early enough to prepare and complete any other work that will need to be done before and during meeting time. If you know you have more quiet time in the afternoon, consider making calls in the morning and leave the presentation preparation and research for future meetings and conferences for that peaceful time. If you're more of an early bird, talk to your manager about coming in early before the rush. If you know you'll be away on business meetings later in the week, clear your schedule during the early portion of the week so you are able to fit in a full week's work in a shorter time.
If you allow yourself to be pulled in various directions and don't follow your plans, you are sure to let important details to slip through the cracks and lose control. Of course, things will come up, but leave room for the unexpected too. As posted on Inc., "Efficiency fanatics create standard routines in their schedule so they can achieve a disciplined approach and be ready for the important events. The more you control the calendar, the easier it is to make room for the unexpected. Efficient people set a time for each of their tasks and work to keep the schedule."
Everyone's got to eat, and by no means should you skip lunch. You need a break and enough energy to make it through the day. But long lunch breaks and too much schmoozing will make it hard to jump back into your work smoothly.
While packing a lunch is a good idea - both nutritionally and financially - do yourself a favor and eat in the cafeteria or step outside. A breather will re-energize you and give you time to reset your brain for new afternoon tasks.
If you do choose to drop by a local diner or café for your break, don't dawdle. Leave enough time to eat and do any errands that must be done during the day and make any personal calls you need to so they don't interfere with your work hours.
If you plan to take lunch with co-workers, keep discussion professional and never gossip. If you talk about work, keep it light and non-controversial. This isn't the time to dish on office politics or complain about the boss. Plus, the less you chit chat, the sooner you can get back to work without the post-lunchtime laziness and loss of focus.
Take Some Short Breaks
Since you've kept your lunch break time to a minimum, this leaves you open to take a few additional brief breaks throughout the day to stretch your legs and clear your mind. While stepping away from your desk may sound like an odd way to be more efficient, it will actually recharge you and prevent your thoughts from getting stale and your eyes from becoming strained.
As posted on Health, "After a morning break, employees said they had more energy, more motivation to return to work and were better able to concentrate. Breaks also were associated with fewer symptoms — such as headaches, eyestrain and lower back pain — when employees returned to work."
Stand up and stretch, walk around the office, or even step outside for a moment. If you need to speak with a co-worker, rather than emailing them, stop by their desk – but be sure it's OK with that person too – we all need to maintain efficiency, don't forget.
After a few minutes away from work, you will be able to delve back in with a boost of energy and some time to sort things through in your mind.
These tips will turn your workday around. No more scrambling, searching, or stalling. Efficiency leads to excellence and by making some easy-to-implement steps towards a better work ethic and a more meaningful career.
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.