We've all been there, at the end of a long day the clock ticks over to home-time and you start to put together your task list for tomorrow before you head off. You go to review a days work and sure enough you've cleared out your inbox, responded to all the people who have called for you...and yet you're not sure what you've actually achieved. Sometimes the hours just get away from us and before we know it, we've spent a whole day keeping on top of an email chain, logged into conference calls and responding to messages.
Staying productive at work is absolutely key to maintaining a sense of achievement and success. It's also important to support your wellbeing and give you that vital feel-good factor.
Technology encompasses every moment of our day at work, from email and instant messaging to screen-shares and conference calling. We can contact people using a number of different platforms, and in this internet age we expect (and must deliver) responses immediately. But it's too easy to get caught up in the quagmire of online admin and neglect your core duties.
Sure, when you see that email from your boss ping up in the corner of your screen it's probably best to open it and respond immediately; but not all emails need immediate action. Not all phone calls have to result in same day resolution, and it's not always best practice to drop whatever you're doing when a new request comes in.
'Email Anxiety' as it's been coined is becoming more and more prevalent. Psychologist and author of "The Best Place To Work" Ron Friedman told Business Insider that "There's no question that constantly checking email is bad for both productivity and quality of life. There have been some fascinating studies showing that limiting email-checking to a few times a day say, at 9am, 12pm, and 4pm improves wellbeing and makes work feel more controllable."
Managing your communications has become as much of a task in today's world as prioritising workloads is. And it's not the only thing that's set to throw your day off course.
Sitting behind a desk all day staring at your screen is hardly a recipe for maximum productivity. Wherever your inspiration comes from, it's fair to say that if you've been sat still all morning save for your fingers typing furiously at a keyboard, you're likely to be feeling lethargic and tired come lunchtime. After you've then had a sandwich at your desk and continued in the same vein for another 4 hours, you'll find that your mind will wander and it's harder to focus than it was when you were buzzing in the morning.
From email anxiety to being stationary for prolonged periods of time, there are so many elements of the modern office that are impacting our productivity and wellbeing. Given the pace of change, we need to adapt the way we work in order to maintain our health in the office. Here are our top 5 tips for maximising your productivity and wellbeing at work!
1) Manage your Inbox
If you work in an office with a heavy email culture, it's easy to spend all day just keeping on top of office circulars (it's also easy to miss the important emails as they get lost in everything else!). Try setting up some auto rules, so that messages from your boss are highlighted and any bulk messages are diverted to another folder. You can read these at the end of every day, and the important emails will stay in your inbox, ready for your attention.
2) Use your lunch break wisely
A recent survey by Total Jobs revealed that a third of UK employees never leave their workplace after arriving in the morning, and more than half don't take their full lunch break. Our working days are built with breaks in to give you a much needed boost. If your job requires you sitting down a lot or staring at a screen for prolonged periods of time, it's important to get outside and give your eyes a break. Go for a walk, get some fresh air or spend some down-time with colleagues. You'll return to your desk feeling invigorated, refreshed and ready for the afternoon!
3) Get a good night's sleep
This might sound like an obvious one, but going into work tired and lagging from a night in front of Netflix isn't going to leave you in the most productive mindset. A report earlier this year suggested that the UK loses £40.4 billion and 604,000 working days a year due to sleep deprivation. In 2014 it was estimated that six in ten of us are suffering from a real lack of sleep, mainly due to smartphones.
To combat this, try and switch off all your technology an hour before you go to sleep. You need time to unwind and switch off, and your devices emit a blue light that actually keeps you awake for longer!
4) Prioritise your to-do list
Having a list of all the things you need to do is all well and good, but if the most important tasks are halfway down it, you're going to end up in a panic. Write a list of all the tasks you need to get done, and then prioritise your jobs from most important to least. Getting the most vital tasks out of the way first will mean that you avoid that stress-filled afternoon juggling several important projects. It also means that if you can't complete your list, you can delegate some smaller tasks.
5) Follow the two minute rule
Steve Olenski, an entrepreneur, uses a two minute rule to maximise small pockets of time at work. He says that if a task takes two minutes or less, you should do it immediately. Going back to this task later will take up more time, and add bumps to your workflow. It's a good principle, and it means that you're less likely to forget those small tasks that your boss asked you to do!
Got any tips youd like to share? Tweet us @BrookstreetUK