Working long hours and allowing interruptions all day long can reduce productivity. Need to be more productive? Just say “NO”
Time management takes discipline, control and repetition. Sadly, the odds are overwhelmingly against us and we will likely fail several times in our attempts to master it. But this is a good thing! Why? Because you have to fail first at something before you can master it.
The recent Wall Street Journal article, “For Some Executives, Doing Less Means Getting More Done“, has determined after much research that the key to unlocking your greatest productivity is to just say “no” – say “NO” to interruptions, “NO” allowing your email to distract you all day, “NO” to working on tasks that could be delegated. The article also states that by doing necessary tasks without allowing for interruptions can increase your productivity and reduce your stress because you don’t have to constantly be switching thought patterns around. Research has shown that every interruption can cost us 25 minutes in lost productivity. For example, if you are working on a project and need to focus, answering a call and focusing your attention on the call and then attempting to refocus on your work will likely take 25 minutes out of your day.
8 Tips to Be More Productive
1. Work in offline mode in Outlook®, when you are working on specific tasks until they are accomplished, turn off email notification.
2. Check your email every two hours. Schedule the times in your day when you will check and respond to email (try, 9am – 11am – 2pm – 4pm).
3. Close your browser. Keep web browsers closed when you are working on completing a project.
4. Silence your phone. You will have more than enough opportunities for phone time if you schedule it into your calendar. It’s ok to leave it on for emergencies, but if it’s just to chat with someone it’s probably going to be a huge time waster.
5. Shut the door. If you work in a busy office environment, you may want to consider shutting your door when you need to get work done. Don’t let others manage your day. Practice the fine art of saying NO to interruptions. As you train yourself to be more disciplined you must also train those around you. There used to be an aphorism that everyone who has an office should have an “open door policy” meaning, ostensibly that they were “approachable.” Everyone should be as approachable as possible in the workplace – provided, however, that this approachability does not subjugate the office holder to having other people control their day. Close your door. You will not be a negative influence; you will be someone who gets things done and telegraphs to others in the workplace the need to do so.
6. Understand your time saboteurs. What are they and how can you address them.
7. Wear noise cancelling headphones or put on headphones with low soft music to keep yourself from being distracted from outside noise.
8. Say “NO” to doing work that can be delegated. This will save you tons of time in the long run even if it seems daunting at first.
These 8 steps will help you stay focused and save time. If you want to be more productive at work, reduce your work hours.