We’ve all felt that drop in productivity during the mid-afternoon slump. Maybe you had a big lunch or stayed up a little too late the night before. No matter your reason, a lapse in productivity affects your ability to complete tasks by their deadlines and execute on your strategic goals. Rather than succumbing to the urge for an afternoon nap, learn 6 ways to improve your workplace productivity and avoid a big drop in efficiency.
1) Improve Your Meetings
With research showing that employees spend long hours in unproductive meetings, one of the first steps you can take to increase your output is to alter the way you conduct meetings. Many teams are moving away from the traditional meeting format and implementing a standing daily huddle to save time and maintain focus. Since the daily huddle is 15 minutes or less, you have more time available in your day to accomplish other tasks and projects.
2) Track Your Progress
Track how long it takes you to complete certain tasks. You may find that some require hours of time, while others can be finished in minutes. Use this knowledge to better plan out when you’ll accomplish certain activities. For instance, don’t start a task you know will take about two hours to do if you’ve got an engagement you can’t miss that starts in the next half hour. When you better budget your time, you’ll be able to fit more tasks into the same day. On a similar vein, tasks that take five minutes or less to complete should be done as soon as possible. When you prolong or procrastinate on these projects, you set yourself up for more stress and worry as bigger deadlines loom around your most essential priorities.
3) Make a To-Do List
Create a to-do list for yourself so you know exactly what you need to accomplish and by what time. While some people prefer the traditional pen-and-paper list or using a daily planner, many business leaders are switching to a digital list or calendar. There are several options to help you keep on top of your activities, particularly project management software like Asana, Trello, or Google Tasks. Crossing an item off your list can be immensely satisfying, and the visual representation helps you identify what projects have been completed and which still need to be finished.
4) Change Your Scenery
Being in the same office day in and day out can diminish employee morale. If your executive team allows it, try working from home or an external location once in a while to give yourself a change of pace. If you’re confined to the office for long stretches, try taking a few breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk, grab coffee with a colleague, or meditate in an empty conference room. Even a short reprieve from particularly difficult tasks can help get your juices flowing and keep you on track toward long-term success. Find a way to give yourself a rest to avoid becoming overwhelmed and feeling apathetic.
5) Minimize Needless Interruptions
As we feel the pressure to be “always on” the distinction between work and social lives has become more blurred. Many employees report checking social media while on the job or getting distracted by interruptions from coworkers. If you find this affecting your work, there are several options available you can try to minimize distractions such as using headphones to block out external sounds, or setting up restrictions on your computer that prevent you from accessing social media sites.
6) Ask for Help When You Need It
If you find your productivity is falling because you are unsure of your next move on a project, or need feedback from management to continue, then you’ve got a “stuck.” Stucks are a giant time-suck on a team’s overall efficiency, since they can hold employees up for days at a time and prevent your entire team from meeting your KPIs. Don’t be afraid to ask your manager or colleagues for help when you encounter a stuck. If you think about it, your willingness to seek assistance allows your team to better progress toward your strategic goals and align your priorities to company objectives.
If you’re having trouble envisioning how your day-to-day activities ladder up to your company’s overall priorities and strategy, consider using a business management platform to keep your entire team focused. Utilize the personalized dashboard and KPI listing to visually track your performance and keep the big, audacious goals in mind.
Start a free trial of Align’s business management software to get a firsthand look at how our platform helps you manage your entire team’s progress and maintain team alignment.