One of the things we’re constantly working on is finding new ways to boost productivity. We’ve asked around, tried a few things here in the office, and come up with these tips that are helping us save time, and do more without adding stress to our game plan.
Get in Early (or Stay Late)
We’ve all heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”. We’re not sure if you’ll get the worm or not, but we do know that getting into work early provides you with quiet time and fewer distractions, which means you’ll have a chance at getting more things done.Most people who get into the office early say that they accomplish more during that time then they do the rest of the day, and we think they’d all agree that getting things done gives you a burst of energy that starts your day off right and boosts your overall productivity. If you’re not a morning person, that’s ok. The idea works just as well if you’re the last one in the office – the key to boosting productivity is to find quiet time with few distractions and to focus on tasks that forward your overall progress rather than solving problems.
We’ve talked about minimizing distractions by being an early riser or staying late at the office, but what works for minimizing distractions during normal business hours? We’ve asked around and here’s what we found when it comes to limiting distractions and boosting productivity:
- if you’ve got an office door close it
- silence your phone for an hour or two – just don’t forget to turn it back on and check your voicemails
- don’t reply to texts
- block off time on your calendar so you can power through a project or specific task
- only reply to emails in the morning, evening, or in 15 minute increments
- grab your laptop or tablet and change your scene – reserve a conference room, hang out in the lobby, or even go to a local coffee shop and use their wi-fi
Multi-tasking is skill, but it’s not always the best tool for getting things done. Productivity experts have shown that it’s more efficient to complete similar tasks at the same time, rather than whiz around trying to do everything at once. Try reading and responding to emails for 15-20 minutes and jotting down tasks that you’ll need to complete as you go. Then instead of prioritizing your to do list, group similar tasks together. You’ll find you’ll save time by not having to switch gears or mindsets as often, and be able to push more projects through than you would if you followed one from start to finish before taking on the next one.
Leave the Office for Lunch
It seems like we’re suggesting a leisurely lunch, but what we’re really getting at is using this moment away from the office to your advantage. Almost everyone has experienced the afternoon slump that occurs in the office. It seems to drag productivity down rather than giving it a boost. Taking a few minutes to change your scene, take a walk, grab a bite to eat, and even finish up a few work tasks while you eat your lunch can re-energize you and get you ready for a productive afternoon. If you don’t have lunch places near by, bring a sack lunch and head outdoors; even walking the stairs or around the building will give you a change of pace and a chance to clear your mind.
Plan the Day the Night Before
Take just 15 minutes at the end of your workday and see what you have on the docket for tomorrow. Boosting productivity doesn’t always mean you have to work faster or harder, planning ahead can create the same effect. If you’ve got meetings, gather up whatever files you may need, plus a pen and paper to take notes. If you know you’ll be spending the day doing a certain task; plan to dress for the occasion. Have a long conference call scheduled? Make sure you’ve got a water bottle at your desk, and an extra battery or charging cable for your phone so you can take you meeting on the go. Prepping the night before saves you time gathering up items the day of and also prepares your mind for what you need to accomplish – and that means you’re not wasting valuable minutes trying to get your mind in the game.
Want to read additional tips we put to practice to boost our productivity here at Mazuma? Check out this post for more ideas…
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.