If one of your goals is to be more productive at work, follow these four simple tips.
Get your groove on. When I returned to the workplace after half of a decade raising small children, I was surprised by the number of millennials with earbuds in their ears. “How can they possibly get anything done?” I thought to myself. Turns out I was wrong. According to a New York Times article, “In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain…Music can bring us back to the present moment.” In many open office environments, tuning out co-workers’ phone conversations warrants tuning in to motivational music. If your workplace culture allows it, try listening to tunes to increase your productivity levels. Not sure which music will maximize your output? Check out 6 Science-Backed Playlists for Improving Your Productivity.
Obliterate interruptions. It is extremely challenging to focus on the task at hand with so many constant interruptions. While you need to be available to the people you manage for important questions they may have, don’t allow constant pinging to hijack your ability to focus. Turn off all popup notifications on mobile devices and your desktop. You can look at your fraternity brother’s recent Facebook status updates later. Limit checking your email to specific times during the day instead of every time a new one appears in your in-box. It takes a while for the brain to switch gears. Every time you stop working on that budget or project plan to read an email, you use valuable brain processing time that would have been better spent perfecting your assignment.
Avoid email when possible. At Dale Carnegie Training, we believe that there is no substitute for face-to-face communication. There is a major misconception that technology has made us far more productive than was ever dreamed possible. It is true that we are more efficient in many ways, however some people hide behind electronic communication because they prefer non-confrontational conversations. Others love email threads because they use others’ responses as ammunition to condemn, and/or cover their own behinds. Dale Carnegie’s number one Human Relations principle is, ‘Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.’
Often times, it makes more sense to simply pick up the phone or walk over to your colleague’s cube to have an actual conversation in lieu of wasting time reading infinite email threads that usually require reconciliation because everyone has a say, but not everyone on the email’s distribution has had a chance to read the last person’s response. Having actual conversations is a surefire way to clear up misunderstandings quickly.
Lessen meeting durations. Shaving between 10% and 20% off of all meeting times yields an extra 15-25 hours per month of actual work time. Don’t worry—you will complete the same amount of work even if the meetings are slightly shorter. Participants will learn to forgo wasteful banter and instead, have much more productive meetings.