Raise your hand if you’d like to be more productive each and every day. Is your hand up in the air? We thought so. Not having enough time to get everything done is a complaint across many American offices. Your to-do list often has two day’s worth of work—which you’re feeling pressured to get done in the next eight hours.
We all want to see our productivity skyrocket. But, here’s the problem: We can often be our own worst enemies in this regard.
What exactly do I mean? Take a minute to reflect on some of your average workdays.
Have you wasted time searching for the same computer file over and over again? Do you draft emails that look largely the same day after day? Do you continue to run certain calculations manually?
The list goes on and on. Those little tasks that you do on a repetitive basis can all add up to waste an astounding amount of time and mental energy—so, why not shift your way of thinking and take the time to make them a little easier on yourself? Trust us, there’s a better way.
As you move through your workday, pay attention to the things that are slowing you down. Then, identify if there’s a way you could make those things easier on yourself moving forward.
That computer file you waste time digging for? Take the time to move it to a more easily accessible (and memorable!) location, so that you can find it quickly in the future. For that email you continuously draft, save a canned response that will automatically fill in the bones of that message for you—this can be done easily in both Gmail and Outlook! Finally create that Excel formula you continuously put off so your frequent calculations will happen automatically.
You can also look for any common tasks that could be automated altogether. Using a tool like IFTTT or Zapier, you can create automated recipes and workflows that can do things like saving your email attachments to Google Drive or muting your phone during meetings that are scheduled on your calendar—without you needing to lift a finger yourself.
Yes, it can seem counterintuitive to shift your approach and break away from those tasks that are cluttering your to-do list in order to make something more efficient and effective for future you. However, the results are well worth it.
Believe it or not, the average office worker spends one and a half hours each day searching for things they need. Even further, a Harvard Business Review article shares that “workers spend a great deal of their time—an average of 41%—on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others.”
So, while these obnoxious little tasks and roadblocks may seem insignificant in the heat of the moment, they can have a huge negative impact on your workday when they’re done on a repetitive basis.
Make your best effort to break your bad habits and find those easy ways to simplify your work processes in the future—even if they take a little bit of time today. In the end, those little changes can give your productivity a drastic (and much-needed!) boost.