Do you know what productivity means? Or do you ‘think’ you know what this means? The reason we are emphasizing on it is that productivity is easily misunderstood.
When a person is crazy out-of-their-mind busy, they are not being productive. If a person has too many tasks on their daily schedule that is humanly impossible to accomplish in one day, they are not being productive.
This is the biggest misconception regarding a productive person. Often, a person is considered productive if they keep themselves busy with useless tasks. Going through scores of emails, holding unnecessary meetings, and making task lists; the possibilities are endless. But the truth is, such work-related habits hinder employees from being truly productive.
If you find yourself falling into this trap, here are a few recommended alternatives that will help break the cycle!
1. Email Grazing All Day
You are completely focused on a task and you receive a ‘ping;’ announcing the arrival of an email. Even if you do not check the emails, that ‘ping’ has hindered your smooth workflow. It is only about time when your curiosity will take over and you will be forced to check your email box.
Curiosity is human nature and receiving emails is not bad. However, constantly checking the inbox to see any new emails is a productivity-destroying work habit because it gobbles up time and keeps you away from tasks that matter.
First and foremost, turn off the notification sound. This will considerably reduce the chances of derailing your daily work tasks. Then, follow this step with setting time in which you can check your emails. Let say, you can reserve a few minutes or create a small time table that will allow you to check your emails with 2-3 hours’ interval in between.
You can also email your availability time to everyone available on your contact list. This way, they will know when to email you or expect a reply from you.
2. Defaulting to One Hour Meetings
Most of the meetings carry on for 30 to 60 minutes. This is the default time and every organization seems to follow this unspoken rule. Seemingly, there is nothing wrong with this culture; however, it requires efforts and drains the energy which could have been spent somewhere else.
On top of this, most of the meetings are finished within 40 minutes, but because the meeting was supposed to be one hour long, there seems to be a lot of fillers; people discussing tons of irrelevant things just to make it to the time mark.
Before holding any meeting, go through the meeting’s agenda and estimate how much time will be required to discuss everything. Then, set the time that will cover everything in an appropriate manner. This will make sure that you do not end up with additional time to fill up.
If you have back-to-back meetings, it is recommended that you set the meeting interval at odd times such as 25 or 50 minutes. This way, the employees will have enough time to digest the current material and prepare for the next meeting at hand.
3. Too Much Socializing
While a little bit of socializing does not hurt anybody, too much of it will not only stop you from completing your tasks but will also hinder the productivity of your workplace bestie.
Socializing is necessary for discovering new opportunities or for expanding your social network. However, this trait can be detrimental to your productivity as you will be spending more time catching up and less time on your tasks.
It may sound hard, especially if you are a chatty person, but you need to stop socializing too much. What you can do instead is reserve specific time out of your daily schedule to chat or connect with your colleagues.
That said, do not stick with a single person to socialize. Pick out a new person every day to chat with or include a non-friend colleague into your group projects. While workplace socializing is not bad, you should look at expanding your friendship circle to strengthen your ties and look for new opportunities.
4. Filling Your Calendar with Everyone Else’s Priorities
Pick up your work calendar and check if it is filled with your colleagues’ conference calls, and meetings, etc. If that is the case with you, then you have a problem at hand.
Too often, employees are busy with other people’s work so much so that their tasks get neglected. At the end of the day, such individuals finish off their tasks in a rush. This practice does not do justice to their true potential.
Before you pile up your daily schedule with other people’s tasks, ask yourself whether you want to spend your free time on others’ tasks or not. If someone comes to you with a meeting request, take some time to process how much of your time will be spent. Assess the reasons for your participation and ponder whether your participation is mandatory or the meeting can carry on without your participation.
In this way, you will be in much more control of your day and will have more time to focus on your priorities.
5. Scheduling 100% of the Work Day
Filling your schedule to the brim with daily work tasks is a recipe for disaster. While it may give off an aura of being productive, you may not have enough time to allot each task with the appropriate attention it needs.
On top of this, filling up your schedule with tasks may not give you enough time to deal with accidents or problems. For instance, if something comes up that demands your immediate attention, you may not be able to give it the appropriate attention due to your busy schedule.
While scheduling tasks, make sure to achieve only 70% of your daily work and leave the rest of your schedule open to uncertainties. These small gaps in your daily schedule will prove crucial when it comes to dealing with unexpected issues. You can also use this time to plan or strategize your tasks required for the next day.
Having plenty of time to yourself will lessen the chances of you making subpar decisions just to accomplish the tasks. So, reserve your workday with only half of your tasks and leave the rest to the next day.
While these workplace habits may not seem damaging at first, they can contribute to lower productivity levels among the employees. The best way to tackle these issues is by following the recommended alternatives that are mentioned in each issue.
Employee productivity is a board topic and while the above-mentioned issues play a role in decreasing productivity, entirely blaming them will not be justifiable. There are other factors at play as well such as unclean environment and lack of healthy co-worker relationships, etc. So, you need to focus on other factors as well to achieve high-efficiency rates.
About the author:
Shawn Mike has been working with writing challenging clients for over five years. His educational background in the technical field and business studies has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.
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