5 steps for working smarter not harder

  • By John Sharkey
  • 2 February 2016 00:00

The workplace has seemingly become busier and workloads feel heavier than ever before. For many there never seems to be enough time to deal with the demands of their job, their team and their clients. Despite this, people still devote far too much time to low priority tasks. The following five steps and some helpful app suggestions will help you to organise your day, time and projects to improve your productivity.

  • We were built for routine
  • Routines are a great way of making sure the day doesn't fly past without accomplishing your goals; but create a routine that works for you. Everyone's different; what works for you might not work for your colleagues. The best way to tackle this is to establish a personalised routine around the way you work and carry out tasks. Set aside blocks of time for specific tasks, for example check your email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work, then measure and monitor progress. A routine will help identify your most productive times of the day and find effective methods and techniques to increase productivity.

    App - Evernote helps you get organised at work. Giving you the simple tools such as taking notes, tracking tasks, and saving things you find online. You can sync everything between your phone and computer automatically.

  • Plan your day
  • Get into the habit of creating daily to-do lists. You can block out time slots in your calendar or simply write a list. Your list can take as little as five-minutes to put together but it can really help you be productive even during the times you have difficulty concentrating.

    Don't forget to plan in short 10 minute breaks. It's important to step away from your workspace and give your brain a break. Allowing you to get back to work with a fresh mindset.

    App - Todolist allows you to manage your tasks throughout your day. You can create lists, email in tasks, colour code and manage tasks or assign and delegate to business colleagues. It's a great app for task management.

  • Prioritise your to-do list
  • This might sound a bit strange but prioritising your to-do list is a must. Starting your day with a double digit list may make you feel like you haven't accomplished anything. By prioritizing your list it will help keep you focused on your goals and will help you understand the specific tasks you need to plan around. It helps with making sure that the tasks you've set for yourself are aligned with your goals and priorities.

  • Managing Multi-tasking
  • Even though you might think you'll achieve more by multi-tasking, in reality it's actually known to decrease productivity. By juggling a number of tasks at once you are making yourself vulnerable to making mistakes and confusing yourself between projects. The most productive people dedicate their full attention to one task at a time. We all know things crop up and sticking to one task isn't always possible. Try breaking projects down into smaller sections and individual tasks. You'll stay more organised and productive.

    App- Swipes has been voted as one of the world's top five productivity apps. Swipes app helps you to manage your tasks, allowing you to keep a constant track of tasks as you go through your day. Helping you monitor your productivity and also schedule tasks for later. The app takes a fun and engaging approach to productivity, working across Web, iOS, Android and Mac.

  • Minimise distractions
  • Clear your desk - Simple but effective, take 10 minutes at the start of the day to make sure your desk is tidy and clutter free. Don't waste time going through piles and piles of paper and scrambling around to find pens or your notepad.

    • Let your colleagues know what you are trying to achieve. Just like emails, people asking questions or having conversations can be equally as distracting. This way you can try and have distraction-free hours.
    • Go offline - We're all guilty of getting distracted on the internet. You start looking for one thing and 20 minutes later you're on something completely different.

    App - Freedom makes technology less distracting by allowing you to block certain websites or the whole thing altogether stopping you from getting distracted and helping you be more productive.

    Do you need support?

    Mercia can help you develop your time management skills and help you and your team with your productivity. See our latest course 'How to Improve Profitability by Working Smarter not Harder' or we can also tailor an In house course to your needs. For further information you can contact John Sharkey via e-mail or ring 0116 2581200.

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