By Sophia Malaspina on 20 Jul 2016
You are rushing into the office from your long commute with five minutes to spare. You managed to grab a coffee but will forget to eat breakfast. You can already see you won’t have a lunch break today, as you have too much to do and wonder how you will get through all your work and leave at a reasonable time. Sound familiar?
Read our 5 tips on how to make the most of your time in the office.
It can be difficult to see which tasks are more important than others when you are juggling lots of different projects with different stakeholders. An easy way to work out what order you should do your tasks in is considering the effort it will take vs the impact it will have on your workforce.
Tasks that are high impact and low effort (Quick wins!) should be priority with high effort and high impact (Major projects) tasks being consistently worked on. Anything that is low impact, particularly if high effort should be left until a rainy afternoon when all your top priorities are complete.
2. Have daily objectives
Even when you have prioritised your work and understand what your work tasks are, you need to be realistic about how much work you can do in your day. Have a list of daily goals or objectives that you want to achieve and an estimation of the time you think they will take. Assigning your goals into time frames will not only make them seem more manageable, but will allow you to plan your day. With each task allow a small amount of additional time, in case you are given something that is high priority that needs to be done immediately. As you planned ahead, you are more likely to have flexibility and are able to fit this in. Always ask for deadlines from your peers in regards to expectations of time and work, so you are able to give feedback and are able to plan the days ahead accordingly.
3. Take control of email
As email is so instant, it is tempting to check our inbox every few minutes. Over the course of the day this can waste a lot of time. You can avoid the need to check by setting boundaries on when you can check your emails and sticking to them. As well as this, try turning off your auto send-and-receive-function or notification settings. Put time aside to work through emails so that it doesn’t distract you when you are in the middle of a task. You can also improve your relationship with your email by keeping it organised! Take advantage of the folder and filter options on your inbox and allow it to the work for you! Consider the different teams in your office or any managers who may email important documents over. Use categories and rules in order to pre-set how you order your mail so that you can choose what to read in your own time.
4. Take time away from your desk
Although it may be tempting to spend all day sat at your desk, do not underestimate the importance of stepping away from time to time; whether it is to eat lunch in another location, or having a short break from looking at your screen. Your productivity decreases the longer you go without a rest and so stopping for a short while can make a big difference to your work performance. Research shows that taking a lunch break can be rejuvenating and make you more productive than trying to work through the day. Take a walk, or eat in a different environment to give yourself a change of scenery.
5. Streamline meetings
Meetings can eat up a lot of unnecessary time if they are efficient. It can be very easy to go on a tangent, moving away from your original topic as it may be rare to have all those people in a room together! In order to stay focused, make sure you have an agenda and points you want to cover as well as time for any other business. Consider the goal of your meeting, and if you cannot put your goal into one sentence, think of whether you are being realistic about what you want to achieve. If your schedule is full of meetings, make sure you are only attending meetings you need to attend. If you do not see yourself contributing to the topic, ask the meeting creator if there was a reason for why you were needed before you decline the meeting.
These are a few ways to make the best of your time in the office. Being productive doesn’t always mean working the longest, and sitting at your desk all day. It is about being efficient and realising where your time is best spent as nobody wants to be in the office after hours!