Want to get more out of your work week and feel accomplished every day?
Check to see whether you are stuck in one of the following work habits that might be killing your productivity, (and use these tips to kill those bad habits).
1. MONDAY MEETINGS
Mondays have become the universal day to have meetings. Most people dread Mondays for this reason; their first day back from a weekend is filled with meetings and spent answering emails instead of getting work done.
What we don’t realize is that Mondays are actually our best day to be productive. After a weekend, we have fresh motivation for our work and come to our challenges with a fresh set of eyes.
THE FIX: Try making Mondays no meeting days. How much could you accomplish if you were left alone? Try hosting that typical Monday meeting at the end of business on Friday so that everyone can hit the ground running Monday morning.
2. MORNING EMAILS
Almost every professional I know spends every morning answering emails. Stop. Your job isn’t to answer emails, it’s to do great things. Email is particularly soul crushing because it’s rarely a rewarding investment of your time.
THE FIX: I always try to do something productive with the first two hours of my day before answering any email. Using those two hours helps me build momentum on my tasks, and I am motivated to get back to them as soon as possible. Try a few days where you don’t answer email until 11 a.m., and see what happens to your productivity. Anyone who needs to contact you probably has other ways to do it if it’s that important.
3. OPEN DOORS AND OPEN OFFICES
Sometimes your work setup can encourage unproductivity. An open office setup or open-door policy can invite frequent interruptions. It’s too easy to lean over and share the funny gif John posted in the company chat or talk about the frustration of your problem to someone nearby.
THE FIX: Try allocating regular times in your day where you close the door or put headphones in your ears. These are universally understood signs to leave you alone.
4. OPEN DESKTOP PROGRAMS
When we work, we usually leave programs open in the background. The only problem is the constant drip of notifications that overlay on top of your work. This makes it impossible to remain focused. I have found I can unintentionally spend an entire day just answering email if I leave my mail program open.
THE FIX: Try closing your email altogether (or setting it to offline mode), and set your company chat to, “do not disturb.” Then tend to the new messages and chats during a few specified times during the day. You will be able to get through everything as you normally would, but in a fraction of the time.
5. THE SMALL GAP OF TIME
One of the biggest killers of a productive day is when one thing goes too long, leaving you with a small gap of time before the next obligation begins. A 25-minute window is like kryptonite for your day. Twenty-five minutes is not enough time to start anything meaningful, and instead, we spend that time browsing the Web.
THE FIX: I came up with a list of 20 items that I want to do each week and broke them down by time. Things like, updating a single line of copy on the website, reaching out to one new prospect, or posting something new on social media. I always have a handful of meaningful things I can do no matter the gap of time. Try making a list of various tasks that are meaningful, organize them by time, and leave it on your desk. The next time you have a brief gap in your day, pick off a few tasks.
The secret to having a super-productive week is defeating bad habits that steal your motivation and time. Give these tips a try, and reclaim time meant to do great things.