If you want your business to perform up to its potential, you have to remove any obstacles that might prevent your employees from being as efficient and productive as they can.
Do you know where to start?
Here are five essential strategies that have worked well for many other firms.
Address Environmental Distractions
We’ll address digital distractions in particular further down, but let’s start with the importance of eliminating potential intrusions in our immediate surroundings. Examples might include noisy coworkers, a TV playing in the background, or a phone that rings constantly.
Identify the three greatest environmental distractions in your workspace and come up with a plan that will neutralize or at least reduce them. If this is the only thing you do, you’ll instantly see your productivity increase.
Eliminate Excessive Meetings
Meetings, meetings, and more meetings can eat up tremendous amounts of time.
Have you ever tracked how many hours you spend in meetings each week? If you’re like most people, the total number can be quite sobering. It’s long past time you did something about that.
Multiple, lengthy meetings are an enormous timesuck. It might feel as if you’re being smart and efficient doing so much communication, but if you look at the bigger picture honestly, you’re more likely limiting your ability to get work done.
When you spend so much time strategizing about how to accomplish tasks, that’s time you have failed to devote to actually getting things done. Try replacing meetings with huddles and watch your productivity skyrocket!
Rein in Fragmented Tools
How many times have you discovered a marketing tool, productivity app, or accounting solution and thought to yourself: This is the tool that’s going to change everything! But after a few days or weeks, you realize you’ve only further complicated your processes by adding another piece of software to the process.
Digital fragmentation is a significant problem. If your goal is to eliminate distractions and streamline productivity, the solutions begin with reining in fancy tools like these and simplifying your approach.
One option is to replace an array of tools with a digital workplace solution. “A digital workplace solution is a virtual replacement of the physical office space,” Happeo explains.
“It’s the central place, where all organization’s tools and applications live, where work gets done and employees meet.”
An appropriate digital workplace solution offers the potential to supplant as many as half a dozen other applications and isolated tools. When you can do that, you’ll save time, money, and sanity!
Limit Your Dependence on Email
Email has a suitable place in business operations, but many of us have grown far too dependent on it. Email is inefficient, distracting, and too often never-ending.
If you aren’t careful, managing your inbox can become a full-time job all by itself. According to a study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, it can take as much as 25 minutes to get back on task after you’ve received an email notification on one of your devices.
If you want to reclaim your time and avoid distraction, start by silencing notifications so you can carve out specific blocs of time during which you check and respond to emails. (See more about this in the next section.)
Try Time Blocking
Our culture obsesses over the notion of multitasking, but there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that pursuing multiple tasks at once is either productive or efficient. In fact, there’s ample research to suggest the opposite!
If you want to be more productive, you should try to organize your calendar into strict time blocks. These would be segmented periods of time when you focus on a single task to the exclusion of everything else.
“Single-tasking — focusing on one task at a time — can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks,” writes Jory MacKay of RescueTime. “Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you’re less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.”
Time blocking can be implemented on a micro or macro scale. You may choose to block off an hour for meetings, another for email, a third hour for writing, and so on.
Or you can zoom out and set an entire day aside for meetings, followed by a full day devoted exclusively to bookkeeping, etc. It’s up to you to identify an approach that fits your workflow the best.
Maximize Your Team’s Productivity
Productivity often feels elusive. But it doesn’t have to be nearly as mysterious as it seems.
The key is to eliminate distractions that eat away at your calendar and to schedule time with intention for the tasks that move the proverbial needle. And though every company has its own unique focus and strengths, the tips presented in the above article should provide your team with a strong place to start.