December is here and that means most people are anxiously awaiting the holidays (I know I am). With after work happy hour celebrations, volunteering, and shopping for everyone in your family plus more, this is one of the busiest months of the year. That’s why we need to be aware of how we are spending our time, especially in the workplace. Here are some Swoon tips on how to maximize your productivity and better manage your time so you can crush your year-end goals!
It seems obvious, but like you have heard hundreds of times, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make sure to have a game plan on how to achieve your goals before arriving at the office each day. Many of our recruiters spend time each evening getting together a candidate list to call first thing the next day. Didn’t get to all the day’s emails? Answer them during your morning commute if you take public transit so you don’t have to waste your morning hours with planning and can get straight to the big stuff. Writing out a rough list of what you need to get done for the next day before you leave the office each night can be very helpful. By knowing what needs to get done and setting a task list for exactly how you are going to tackle it, you set yourself up for more success. Bonus points if you write a task list and timeline over the weekend to be a superhero the next week!
We’ve all been in meetings where Bob and Jane speak about the same topic in 10 different ways and explain things that could have been sent in a quick email. Frustrating. Try to avoid meetings when possible. Of course, teamwork and collaboration are key, but a quick face to face with someone or grabbing a coffee for 15 minutes can be just what is needed to make sure everyone is on the same page. Think to yourself before scheduling your next meeting: Could I explain this in an email? How many people are collaborating; could a phone call be just as effective if not more so? This tip is not meant to discourage meetings altogether, but simply to remind you to use your, and others, time as efficiently and as wisely as possible.
Your mindset is a huge part of your productivity and overall performance throughout the day. Studies have revealed that each day, employees have a 4-hour window of focused concentration maximum. Therefore, work to your strengths, and ask yourself if you’re more productive after your morning coffee or are your more focused on a full belly after your lunch break? Once answered, simply, time-block your schedule to maximize your output. No excuses during time-blocks – be like Nike and “just do it”. This is a time to act with self-interest: set agendas for even the quickest of meetings to avoid wasted time; appoint a better-suited person to complete tasks asked of you to avoid “stolen time” from your schedule; recognize your roadblocks and do what you can to bypass them (clean cluttered inbox, mute the constant interruptions on your phone, alert colleagues you will be out of pocket for the designated timeslot, etc. It is important, especially on long-term projects, that you set goals along the way . . . but start at the end! Sometimes a project conclusion can seem so far away that it becomes overwhelming; however, if you set deadlines, benchmark the project, and delegate whenever possible – your mind will be less scattered, and you will stay motivated. Plus, you will allow others the opportunity to shine and become involved by delegating. Having a mindset that allows for flexibility within your day but still adhering to the goals put forth will allow you some agility along the way to deal with the unforeseen details while staying laser-focused on the end goal.
As you are working this week, try to implement at least one of these tips into your day. Notice the difference in your productivity and quality of work!