Picture this. It’s Thursday afternoon. You’re sat in the office staring blankly at an inbox full of passive aggressive emails from your client. You’ve got a meeting in ten minutes but you haven’t prepared a thing – partly due to a lingering hangover from after-work drinks, but mainly because you have a to-do list as long as your arm. You get that sinking feeling because you know have to tick it all off before the weekend – but deep down you know there’s just not enough time in the day.
Luckily for you, this week, we spoke to productivity expert and award-winning author of ‘How to be REALLY Productive’, Grace Marshall, to find out how we can be more productive at work. Here are her top tips:
- Inbox Zero – Constant emails can be a huge distraction but remember that email is not your job, just one of the tools involved in your job. If your quest for Inbox Zero has you constantly checking and swiping, the chances are you’re not applying enough attention to your to-do list. Switch off your email notifications and get into the habit of closing the whole thing down when you need to focus.
- Meeting Free Monday – If you have back to back meetings all day every day, when are you actually going to do the work that comes out of these meetings or the preparation that goes into them for that matter! Try having a set day in the week when no-one can book meetings into your diary and hold those boundaries firm.
- Prep like a Chef – Give yourself ten minutes at the beginning of the day to make sure you have everything you need to complete your jobs, just like a chef would line up their ingredients. Make sure you are comfortable at your desk and all your equipment is working properly. This helps to stop any unnecessary trips to the printer or stationary cupboard and cuts down on more distractions.
- Decision Fatigue – Making decisions is hard work! Even on the days when it feels like you haven’t done anything, made any progress or have anything to show for it (perhaps especially those days), the chances are you’ve been doing a lot of mental heavy lifting. Try getting a fresh perspective or asking a colleague to help, and forget about what you’re going to buy for dinner until home time.
- Champagne Moments – We all know that morale helps to boost productivity and remind you what you are working towards. Whether it’s an email folder or board in the office keep a copy of nice things people have said, a client testimonial, a thank you, success stories of what people have gone on to do next as a result of something you have done.
Grace is currently working with office firm Fellowes on a national campaign to improve work-placed wellbeing in the UK.