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Work Smarter – Not Harder – and Get More Done (part 2)

Daylight saving time ends this Sunday.

What are you going to do with that extra hour?

If you’re like most of us in Middle Tennessee, you’d love to devote your found hour to shuteye. And if you use the tips in today’s post, you’ll be so efficient that you’ll be able to enjoy some extra sleep, guilt-free – instead of clocking in an hour early:

Related post: Work Smarter – Not Harder – and Get More Done (part 1)

Tips to Improve Your Efficiency at Work

Get Control of Your Inbox

Do you drop everything when you get an email notification? If you let it, email will disrupt your focus and ruin your productivity. Instead of immediately responding to each message as it comes in, take control of your inbox:

  • Decide how often you’ll check your email (whether it’s once per hour, three times per day, or any other interval that works for you).
  • Only check messages at those predetermined intervals.
  • Use your email’s auto-responder to notify people of when you’ll be checking your email again.
  • Setup VIP alerts for clients, vendors or coworkers you must reply to immediately.
  • Systematically block spam and unsubscribe, to cut down on the volume of unwanted mail that makes it into your Inbox.
  • Apply the “OHIO” rule to email: Only Handle It Once. If you can immediately take care of the issue, do so. Otherwise: forward it to the appropriate person; file it to an appropriate folder; or schedule time to address it later.

Group Like Tasks Together

Multitasking is a myth: When it comes to your brain’s ability to pay attention, it focuses on concepts sequentially – not two things at once. Continually switching back and forth between different types of tasks only forces your brain to work harder to keep up and activate the region needed to perform a task.

You can dramatically improve your efficiency by putting neuroscience to work for you. Group similar tasks together to improve focus:

  • Make all your phone calls back to back.
  • Batch email checking and responding (using the tips above).
  • Read through reports in one sitting.
  • Book meetings end to end.

Use Microbursts to Jump Start Your Productivity.

If you hit a wall and begin to lose your concentration, take a short break. Research has shown that changing your activity for just a few minutes can give your brain the boost it needs to return to a high-focus task with renewed focus and greater efficiency. Here are a few microburst options to try:

  • Call someone you love. A conversation with someone important to you activates different regions of your brain than high-focus work, while releasing oxytocin – a feel-good brain chemical that instantly improves your mood.
  • Take a short walk. Even if you only visit the water cooler, stretching your legs and mentally checking out for a few minutes can help you press your reset button.
  • Complete a small, lower priority task. Keep a list of 5-minute work tasks handy for times when your productivity wanes. You’ll get something (albeit small) done during a time you’d normally zone out, and that sense of accomplishment may be enough to put your brain back on track.

Get More Done with Wood Personnel

As a leading Gallatin staffing agency with decades of experience serving Middle Tennessee, Wood’s staffing and recruiting services can help you improve productivity, increase focus and make your organization more successful. Have a big project, pressing deadline or challenging role to fill? Put us to the test.