Although we are now enjoying a pleasant summer, it’s not great news for business. Summer may make us happier and be a relief from the long drawn-out months of snow and ice, but it doesn’t make us more productive. If you’re less productive than you thought you’d be during the sunshine months, you’re not alone. This is the time of the year when productivity takes a serious slump.
According to Businessinsider.com, “A Captivate Network study of 600 white collar North American workers in 14 major metro areas showed that workplace productivity drops 20 percent during the summer months. The study also found that attendance decreases by 19 percent, projects take 13 percent more time to complete and workers are 45 percent more distracted.”
Here are 7 simple, yet ingenious ways to get your productivity back:
- Block your time.
A simple technique called time blocking can more efficiently organize your day and help you get more accomplished. Use the following five steps:
- Schedule when you will block your time.
- Find a place to do your work without interruptions.
- Inform other people about your time blocks.
- Turn off all electronic distractions: cell phones, instant messengers, Facebook, etc.
- Keep a log of your productivity to keep track of how well you’re doing with it.
- Plan ahead by one day.
Arrange your priorities the previous evening. This will give you time to make any revisions to your plan. It will also help you to wake up with a clear plan of action for the day ahead.
- Commit to your plan to be more productive.
It’s wonderful to make a plan, one organized by priorities, but it will only work if you work it. Will power and intention, not good planning alone, will make you more productive.
- Work in harmony with your biorhythms.
Some people are morning people and do their best work soon after waking. Other people are night owls and do their work best late at night. President Obama, in fact, has said that he does his best work at nights. Since everyone has left, he can work without interruption late into the night.
- Do the same tasks the same way every day.
Truly each day is different, but you can still establish a routine. Create routines for things like email, calls, meetings and delegation.
For example, how do you tackle your emails? Do you have rules when to read your emails and how to process them? Your email routine might look like this:
- Only read emails at 9 am and 5 pm.
- First, scan all emails. Second, mass delete all junk emails. Third, respond to important emails.
Organizing how you take care of daily tasks like this will help you focus on actually producing your highest quality of work.
Establish healthy habits.
One good habit to establish at a desk job is to sit less and stand more. In fact, this habit alone could add years to your life. Research suggests sitting for long hours is bad for your health. In fact, sitting for too long may be as bad for you as smoking.
Travis Saunders, a certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, said “Now a consistent body of emerging research suggests it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary, and that sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.”
One solution to sitting less is to get up every hour and walk around for five to ten minutes. Another solution is investing in standing desks. You don’t have to stand at your desk the whole day. Just standing for 10 minutes a day while working will add precious years to your life, as well as keep your brain from falling into boredom.
- Make work a game.
One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate is because of boredom. It’s difficult to stay motivated if you’re bored out of your mind. It’s painful. One way of learning to make work more fun is to apply some of the principles of gamification. This is the use of game design techniques to engage people and motivate them to achieve their goals. Allow yourself to have a little fun at work every now and then.
Try These 7 Steps
These 7 steps should help you become more productive. You will first notice a remarkable new interest in getting things done. If you work for someone else, you will begin to move up in your company. If you run your own business, you will notice a shift in your bottom line.
“Productivity is never an accident,” said American business author Paul J. Meyers. “It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”