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Posted by on Oct 18, 2012 in Guides / Tips | 1 comment

Ideas to improve our productivity at work

Ideas to improve our productivity at work

Many of us will have passed on more than one occasion, we’ve come to our office to start our workday with a number of ideas or tasks in mind and, in the end, for one reason or another have ended dedicating ourselves to other tasks. While the change may be due to our planning that we move in a changing environment, the procrastination , distractions or mismanagement of our time can also cause this type of situation, in some cases, can lead to some frustration.

The network offers a multitude of services and tools that can help us in our work but on the other hand, also has many sources of distraction that end up undermining our and may even jeopardize our position or cause us to lose some that another client if we do not meet our goals and commitments.

These days, Bitelia publishers are devoting a few minutes to talk about productivity and share some ideas to increase our productivity , avoid distractions or impose a simple work methodology and, following this path, today we will share some more details we can help improve the performance of our work day.

Plan your day

Our workday consists of a bounded number of hours or, at least, should be somewhat limited in time because, in order to perform, we need our rest periods, so if our to-do pile is saturated we can not consider “attack all fronts” and go, which firefighter, putting out fires and emergencies as they emerge.

At the end of our journey, or starting a new one, we must take a few minutes to plan what we will do, ie, what tasks we will address as they have different priorities or deadlines we have to meet. This we must do list view and not just in our minds, we must translate it on paper (a sheet of notebook then go our roofing) or some kind of task management tool or a digital notebook that we handle (type Evernote or OneNote).

It is possible that during the day, we receive unexpected or emergency tasks last minute that we can not avoid (even if we think that “lack of planning is not our emergency someone”) and, if we have to answer them, we must reprioritizing our list and perhaps postpone something the next day.

Postponing a task, or reschedule, involves not procrastinate whenever replanning originates in an adaptation to change because if we delay something because they simply do not like, we are bored or displeases us, we will be deceiving and falling in full fearsome arms of procrastination (and limiting our productivity).

Do not be a slave to email

Email is a powerful business communication tool but can also be a breach through which escape our productivity and our work lie if we manage it properly.

Except that our work is expected, for example, we receive emails to process (think of an incident management); reading the posts (and response) also is a task that we must plan. Put another way, the email messages are something to check “every x time” and every time we see the new mail notification in Thunderbird or Outlook.

We should not stop doing what we are doing because notifications inform our mailer that we have a new message for then, if we receive messages very often we never have time to work on an ongoing basis.

In fact, this change is also something that we do see our colleagues, our employees or customers. If there’s something urgent require other means, such as telephone (although we may need intervals “total isolation”), to contact us as email is an “asynchronous” and send a message does not imply immediate reading.

If anything personally annoys me is that someone who sends a message and, after giving the send button, I call on the phone or away from my desk for comentarme:

I just sent a message, do you read?

It may sound extreme but such situations occur quite frequently and are a major source of distraction that divert us from our work plan. This is not to say that our messages stop reading or do not answer the phone, just say that checking e is a periodic task that can do three or four times during the working day.

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Create your own bubble

Both Edward and Barbara commented something fundamental in achieving sufficient concentration to carry out our tasks successfully: create the right working environment.

Build that bubble in which we can isolate the noise around us and focus on our work is something we can do with a headset, the appropriate playlist and discipline enough to ignore new messages arriving at inbox, Facebook notifications our smarphone or avoid the temptation to get to talk with our friends through Gtalk.

Dates are important

All our tasks except those that are constant or repetitive, have a beginning and an end, in the same way that a project has a start date, a number of milestones and a closure. Therefore, when we plan our work (and our work day) should be aware that the work to be undertaken must meet the schedules that we have closed our customer or, for example, our boss has imposed.

Knowing that our work must be ready for a certain date, we assign the priority should be in line with this fact and, moreover, as the context may be changing and unforeseen may arise (a failed server, a task that depends on another person, etc) is important to provide us with a safety margin, ie the tasks should have them ready before the deadline if possible.

Take notes

Although we think we have a good memory, it is possible to forget certain things (especially if you spend some time since we had the last meeting with our client or our boss). Our book, paper or virtual, must be one of our most faithful companions and there should be taking notes of the meetings we hold (it will be much easier to generate the record), the requirements of our customers collect, store documents reviewed in the meeting (which, for example, can do in Evernote) or write down the problems we have encountered when reviewing a tool or document.

Aiming things is a highly recommended practice and bring this book to all parties is essential to have on hand all this information. Personally, I use Evernote to take notes because, well, I can view them from my smartphone, attach documents or easily converted to notes emails (including attachments) but can also add notes to emails with Notes Plus Message in Thunderbird, use OneNote or resort to the classic paper notebook.

Tools: a means but not an end

Linked to productivity is not uncommon to speak of tools, in fact we have already named the odd and even tools really can help us to improve our productivity we see them as a means or aid and not as the ultimate goal.

Use Redmine, Google or Remember The Milk Task does not make us productive, take advantage of tools to help us in our work is what makes us productive. Having an account with Remember The Milk, score some tasks but not all, we do not update (or do it by halves) are examples of misuse or poor focus.

In the network we can find a number of tools, which we usually revise Bitelia quite often, but alone will not help us unless we ourselves are disciplined in their use and integrate into our workflow.

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Resorts to help if you need

The net is full of distractions and perhaps we may be prey to them (negatively impacting our results). Impose a “shock plan” may be an option to improve our performance, either because we talk to our colleagues we closely follow-up the state of our tasks or because resort to a tool that prevents “fall into temptation” ( tools like StayFocusd or Nanny for Google Chrome )

Lean on some methodology

Rely on a methodology can be a good way to improve our productivdad either being disciplined as I said Marili­n or based on some techniques and methods reference.

My favorite, and I hope to share soon on another note, is the GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen, a simple method of classification of our tasks we can help sort our inbox of tasks to be done before we can focus on important.

Other techniques, such as Pomodoro also used by many professionals in their day to day, we just have to choose the one that best suits our work.

Learn to disconnect

Mens sana in corpore sano is more than a Latin phrase, if we perform in our daily lives, it is important to disconnect from work, meeting our schedules on a regular basis and above all, spending time with other activities that allow us to disconnect , socialize or to make.

It is also very important to rest and sleep long enough to avoid being a zombie is about to fall asleep on the keyboard of your computer or requiring gallons of coffee to survive the workday.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Lee! Great post. I am a busy person and I always struggle to keep myself away from distractions when I start working in front of the computer. I’ve asked my friends to give me some sort of advises but that didn’t help me as well. But I hope I can apply some of your tips, and some of Richard Branson’s productivity tips – looking forward to your next topic.


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