A common problem in today’s busy society is how to maintain a good work/life balance and ensure that the former doesn’t encroach on the latter. A good way to avoid this is to remove any temptation to stay late by increasing productivity during the working day.
In our attempt to make life as easy as possible, here are a few ideas to keep in mind next time you’re feeling the pressures of time getting to you.
1. Have clear objectives and support
It may sound obvious but making sure team members know exactly what their responsibilities are and what is expected from them is essential. This is something that can sometimes become lost as companies expand and change from a small hands-on start-up to a larger scale enterprise. Monitoring employee progress is therefore important to make sure that people stay on track, achieve what is needed and don’t repeat work. This is also a good way to identify early on any areas where a person may be struggling and look for ways to help before the situation gets out of hand.
2. Provide confidence through training
Although an employee may be hired for a particular skill set, it is unfair to expect them to improve without some form of training. Even if this is as simple as employees researching and presenting to their peers, an interest in personal career development will make people feel valued by the company. It will also give employees added confidence in day-to-day tasks, decision making and taking initiative. Funding courses is also likely to make employees feel indebted to the company and so more obliged to perform better.
3. Use technology to your advantage
Make life easier by using tools specifically designed to increase productivity. This could be in the form of implementing HR software to reduce time spent on recurring admin tasks; or by removing travel to meetings by using a conference call facility, such as Powwownow. Not only will tools such as these give staff more time in a working day, but removing dull and monotonous tasks will also help to improve moral.
4. Stay positive and motivated
There will always be elements of your job that you are less fond of. But keeping these elements to a minimum and recognising them for what they are will help to stay positive, motivated and on track for a productive day. From a managerial point of view, try to avoid micromanaging situations. Trusting in your team to think for themselves and deliver the work without constant monitoring from superiors will free up time for both you and them.
If there is a particular task that you are really dreading, give yourself an added motivator, even if it’s just in the form of a cup of tea or chocolate biscuit when it’s finished.
5. Plan your day – including breaks!
Keep on top of things by planning your day to avoid getting side-tracked. Give yourself targets for each day and break larger projects into smaller tasks to make them more achievable. Try scheduling these smaller tasks into 30 minute slots in your calendar. Obviously some items will take more or less time than this, but measuring this as you go along will help to check that you’re not spending too long on the smaller items.
Just as important as planning in work is to allow time for breaks and rewards. Although it may seem like you’re chained to your desk until a project is complete, taking a proper lunch break and stretching your legs will help you to relax and think more clearly about the issue at hand.
Is keeping your day productive something that you struggle with? Or do you have any tips on how to stay focused?