Quality is More Important than Quantity when it comes to Time and Productivity
Staying productive requires physical organization and time management skills. In our last article we discussed how disorganization of your physical workspace and mental clutter can make you less productive. This time we will dive deeper into the role of time management in your productivity level.
Staying productive does not equate to longer hours. In fact, the shorter the work day, the more productive people tend to be. Less time spent at the office creates more focus with the time you do have, and forces you to prioritize your tasks optimally. When working fewer hours, it is a matter of the quality of work versus the quantity. You begin to work smarter, which dramatically reduces wasted time because there are only so many hours in each day. This creates an atmosphere of extreme focus and the end result is optimal productivity and staying on track with
Not everyone has the ability to simply cut their work day in half. When looking at your schedule, you may find the actual amount of true time spent working on tasks is equivalent to a shortened work day. For many, the constant meetings, conferences, and other out-of-office work events can not only take up the majority of the day, but can soak up the majority of the energy you have available to be both physically and mentally productive. It is important to learn how to remain optimal in your productivity, regardless of the amount of time spent at work or afforded to you.
Make sure that you schedule specific times for emailing, meetings, and to follow up with colleagues and management, every single day. Once these smaller tasks are on your daily calendar, create your daily task list based on how much time you will have at your desk. Plan to work on items that require more focus either in the morning or earlier in the day, when you are mentally sharper. Tasks such as replying to emails, completing administrative work, or any “mindless” tasks that need to be done can be accomplished in the afternoon. By mapping out your day based on your natural energy levels, you are working with your body to capitalize on those periods in the day in which you are at your highest level of productivity.
When working on a task that requires heightened focus, shut down your email and silence your phone. If working on your computer, close all windows that are not related to the task at hand. If you work in an office, close the door. If you work in a cubicle or open office environment, post a “Do Not Disturb” sign in a prominent place. Wearing headphones can help drown out noise. This will allow you to remain free from distractions and stay focused.
If possible, take a walk outside for a few minutes throughout the day. Set a timer for sixty to ninety minutes to remind you to get up and move. A change of scenery and physical activity gives your eyes a break from the computer screen, energizes the body, and rejuvenates the mind. Doing so throughout the day goes far to bolster your overall productivity.
Life outside of work can greatly impact on-the-job productivity. It is important to eat well and to get enough rest. Malnutrition and fatigue are big contributors to lack of focus. While caffeine is a nice pick-me-up, too much can cause productivity-draining side effects. Exercise is also an important factor to your overall health and wellbeing, both in and out of work.
It is also important to foster interests and hobbies outside of work. These activities can help keep you inspired in your professional life by encouraging you to develop new ways of thinking and working. They can also introduce you to more people, thus increasing your network.
Working with your natural energy rhythms and scheduling your day is a great way to become more productive and to easily stay that way. Fostering outside interests will help keep you inspired, increase your network of people, and provide you an outlet to release stress with a non-work related activity. In the final article in this series, we will discuss the importance of
vacation to your productivity.
Gary Vice is sought out by leaders in Software and Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent. Through Strategic Recruiting Partners’ extensive network of relationships, they are able to identify high level opportunities for well qualified candidates. To discover how this process can benefit your job search, simply reply to this email or call Gary at 469.402.4008.