Most of us may want to work smartly but this isn't always easy.
From emails pinging on our smartphones late at night, to being asked to attend a meeting two hours' drive away, events can often conspire to overwhelm us.
In an age when we're all easily contactable it can feel impossible to break away, finding hacks to a more productive working day is all the more important.
Here are five tips to make every day a better one:
1. Understand your time 'budget'
We're often guilty of committing to more than we can realistically achieve. Harvard Business Review has one solution, to calculate how many hours we really have for work each day.
Find your time budget by deducting hours for sleeping, commuting, personal commitments and self-care from 24 hours. Personal commitments could include family time, social activities and hobbies, while self-care includes eating, showering and getting ready.
Using the available work hours as your budget for planning work could help you assign tasks into more realistic time frames.
This doesn't mean that each element always has to be separate. You could practice more self-care at work by using a sit-stand workstation. This encourages more movement in your working day by helping you switch from sitting to standing at regular intervals.
The steady stream of emails, messages and notifications is affecting our concentration, according to a claim by respondents to a Microsoft study of 21,000 people in 2018.
It's believed that our ability to concentrate and be creative is more difficult when various technologies and competing for our attention
Some employers have dealt with the issue by encouraging people to disconnect out of work. Volkswagen Germany turned off emails to work phones outside working hours and Daimler now automatically deletes emails sent during an employee's holiday.
Consider silencing your phone when you're not at work or switching off work email notifications out of hours.
One way to build a better to-do list is to use a 1-3-5 list. This is designed to accomplish one big thing, three medium things and five small things in a day.
The benefit is you’re more likely to complete one sizeable thing each day while tackling a range of smaller tasks that could otherwise become niggles.
You could use colour coded Post It notes to remind you of your one, three and five things.
If you’re helping a team to organise their work for a day, you could use this process to prioritise key jobs. Colourful notes will be a useful, physical reminder to everyone in the office of what has been agreed.
You can also share this with remote colleagues, and for future reference, by using the free Post-it® App, which lets you capture and save work to digital files.
Do you really need to attend every meeting in person? Valuable working hours can be saved by virtual meetings.
Dictation and transcription machines are another time-saver. If your work involves being out on the road, getting information into written form can be done much quicker by dictating it, or recording a meeting or interview, and then sending this on for transcription.
Taking regular time-outs is essential to better work.
Our brains are not designed to handle long periods of focus on one activity. When we stay glued to our desks, or face a screen for long periods, it’s more likely that stress and tiredness will build up and we’ll become less effective.
Taking a coffee break, stretching your legs or refuelling with a snack in a breakout area will help you return to your work feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle the next stage of any project.
For more information
For more details on equipping your workspace with everything needed to work efficiently and more productively please contact your account manager or visit the Banner website www.banneruk.com
Be sure to read our new Working Smarter brochure, for more hints and tips for working smarter this summer.