Written by Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow
With the clocks going back on Sunday, we’ll all gain a welcomed extra hour in bed. While this will be greatly appreciated, there are times when we all wish we could have an extra hour during our working day. We’ve all heard the saying ‘work smarter, not harder’ but with client deadlines and time constraints, it’s easier said than done.
Over the course of an eight-hour working day, the average employee only works for about three hours. The rest of the time is spent travelling to meetings, reading the news or social media, and socialising with colleagues. However, there are a number of ways to improve productivity and gain a ‘free hour’ at work;
Cut travel time by working remotely
According to our research, commuters spend an average of 57 minutes getting to and from work each day - amounting to five hours a week stuck in traffic or waiting for trains to arrive. Remote working instantly gives you that time back, enabling you to start your day stress-free and without the frustrations of commuting.
Plan your tasks
Starting your day and knowing exactly what you need to achieve helps create structure and establish an end goal. This will also save you time in trying to search through your notes, emails and conversations with colleagues to recall what tasks you need to do and in what order.
Tackle the hardest action first
Ticking the most difficult action off your list first means you’ve already tackled the main part of your day. Not only is this psychologically beneficial, but it also helps your day run smoothly when you don’t have a task that you’re dreading to do before the end of the day.
Communication tools like iMeet & Slack make it easier than ever to stay connected with colleagues, regardless of location. Harnessing these tools and even just picking up the phone can help you get answers instantly, instead of wasting time waiting for people to get back to you before you can continue or complete your tasks.
While being connected to your team is essential, it’s also important to make sure you give yourself time to complete important or challenging tasks. Allocate dedicated time to turn off notifications and focus on the task at hand, without being distracted by emails and requests.
Work with time, not against it
Time isn’t your enemy - even though it may feel like it when you’re incredibly busy! Blocking out time to tackle specific actions will help organise your day and keep you on track. It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in your day and find what works best for you – whether that be short and snappy 15-minute stints or longer 60-minute blocks.
Take a break
As you would when in the office, go for a walk at lunch and take regular tea breaks, regardless of where you’re working from. Breaks help increase productivity, as it helps clear your mind before your next task, meaning you can fit more into your working day as a result.
The essence of smarter working is to work in a way that suits your needs and enables you to get your work done to the best of your ability. So by tweaking the way you do a couple of things in your working day, you can fit more work in by creating that ‘free hour’, and still have time for the other important things in your life.
Tagged in Work