We’ve talked a lot about IT downtime on our blog lately. If you aren’t familiar with what IT downtime is, it’s the term for what happens when your business’ functions are interrupted by computer crashes, downed networks, data loss, or any other IT-related hinderance.
IT downtime can be costly and damaging for your business — but today, we’re talking about a different cause of downtime in the workplace: poor time management and productivity. Whether you’re an employee who could use a little boost in this area or a manager who needs a few quick tips to pass along to employees, here are five ways to stay focused and efficient at work.
1. Create to-do lists, and prioritize accordingly.
If you are in a work environment where you need to complete several different projects within a short amount of time, creating a to-do list can be very helpful. Whether it’s written down, on an electronic calendar, or on a sticky note on your desktop, end each workday with a 15-minute list-making session where you write down everything you need to get done the next day. It also helps to organize from highest to lowest priority. When you sit down at your desk the next morning, everything you need to do is already in front of you.
2. Start each day off on the right foot.
Your morning can really have an impact on the rest of your day. Wake up with enough time to get ready and have breakfast without being rushed. Don’t look at your work email or to-do list until you sit down at your desk for the day — instead, enjoy your morning. Read what you want to read, instead of overwhelming yourself with your full inbox or lengthy to-do list right off the bat.
3. Make sure you’re completely focused on the task at hand.
You’ve arrived at your desk. Now it’s time to get to work and start checking things off! One of the most important things you can do at this point is to make sure you’re minimizing distractions and staying focused. First, put your phone away and out of sight. Next, go ahead and close out of your email tab (if you can). Seeing the number of new messages in your inbox can be a productivity killer. It’s important to have a few “quiet hours” per day where you’re logged out of your email so you’re not tempted to interrupt your work to answer someone.
4. Take quick breaks!
There are times to be focused and times to rest your mind. Taking intermittent breaks throughout the day where you have time to check your phone, read the news, or take a walk will help you clear your mind, allowing you to stay focused when you need to. Create a system where you take a break every hour or two, or after you check something off your to-do list. This will keep you motivated to finish the task at hand!
5. Set goals and keep track of your time.
Have you ever underestimated the time you’d spend on a certain project? What you think might be an hour-long project can easily turn into three hours if you’re distracted. Set goals for the amount of time it will take you to do something, and then keep track of time by using a time-tracking app or just the stopwatch feature on your phone. Tell yourself you can take a break when the timer is up. If this method works for you, you’ll find yourself wanting to power through the task so you can beat the timer. This can also be helpful if you’re working on billable hours.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
If you often feel like you’re in a bit of a “work rut,” you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, distracted, and unproductive; however, implementing a few time management hacks and developing a routine that works for you may be just what you need to help you feel more motivated on the job.
Do you have a time management tip that does wonders for your productivity? Share it with us below!