Written by
Paul Sykes

Published
02 Nov 2016

Top tips for using time more productively

02 Nov 2016 • by Paul Sykes

The vast majority of respondents (86%) say that they work outside of office hours, with four in ten (39%) doing so regularly. 

78% admitted to wanting to be more productive than they are, while 36% stated that they were least productive in the last couple of hours of the day than at any other time.

The result: completing tasks within standard working hours is often a rarity, while working longer days, and bringing work home has become the new norm. Yet, the later in the day, the less productive we are. So how can we make the most of our time in office when we are at our most productive and, most importantly, stick to the eight hours a day we have in our contracts? These productivity hacks should help.

1. Give up multi-tasking

Juggling multiple tasks inevitably means splitting focus and energy between them, and not giving important tasks the attention they require. It is important to invest time and energy to essential tasks and not let other things distract from completing them. Try turning off emails and screening calls for a period of time to allow full concentration on the task at hand.

2. Plan your day hour by hour

Approaching the working day with no real plan can leave important work forgotten and hamper productivity. Consider diarising time each day to reply to emails and make calls. For example, set aside two-hours between 9am and 11am each day to do this, freeing up time later in the day to focus on other tasks. Go one step further and set aside blocks of time in the day to focus on key tasks – schedule an hour and stick to it.

3. Dont meet for meetings sake

When managed poorly meetings will quickly eat up the day and can often feel like they have only increased workload. When managed correctly regular meetings are among the best ways for colleagues to discuss projects, delegate work and brainstorm ideas. To make the most out of meetings it’s important to set an agenda beforehand and not stray too far off topic. Always schedule a specific amount of time for the meeting – whether its ten minutes or an hour, and make sure the meeting ends on time and does not eat into time which should be spent on other tasks.

4. Dont be a 'Yes Man'

Always saying ‘yes’ and hoarding tasks they don’t have to time to complete can cause workers to become overstretched and unable to complete key tasks. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when work comes in and always ensure to delegate assignments where appropriate.

 

5. Take regular breaks

When long, uninterrupted stints of work occur, afternoon fatigue will take its toll and burning out can be a real issue. This can adversely affect output so it is really important for office workers to take time away from their desk, allowing them to recharge and refocus. Taking a proper, uninterrupted lunch break away and if possible, out of the office, will avoid afternoon fatigue and burnout, ensuring that productivity remains high throughout the work day.

Hopefully by using our productivity hacks office workers can complete all of their tasks for the week during usual working hours to leave the office on time.

To find out more about our research, you can read the full press release here – and if you’re still looking for ways to better manage your work-life balance we have more tips available here.