The average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day. It is hard to believe most people are productive for less than 3 hours a day, isn’t it? Think about the improvement on your return on payroll (ROP), if your people could double this.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day. Yet a study of nearly 2,000 full-time office workers revealed that most people aren't working for most of the time they're at work.
The most popular unproductive activities listed were:
- Reading news websites - 1 hour 5 min
- Checking social media - 44 min
- Discussing non-work-related things with coworkers - 40 min
- Searching for new jobs - 26 min
- Taking smoke breaks - 23 min
- Making calls to partners/ friends - 18 min
- Making hot drinks - 17 min
- Texting or instant messaging - 14 min
- Eating snacks - 8 min
- Making food in office - 7 min
So, here are 5 simple tips to improve your productivity:
1. Get enough sleep the night before so that you can have a productive day. I believe this is the single most important thing you can do. Most adults need 7-8 hours of restful sleep. How many are you getting on average? Honor your body’s natural rhythms and keep a consistent sleep schedule to improve the quality of your sleep. Your creativity, drive, and focus will improve dramatically.
2. Spend the first 30 minutes of the day with yourself to get organized and prioritize what you are going to work on and what your number one priority is for the day. You would be amazed what you can accomplish when you stay focused and get the things done that really move the needle. Think about the victory you would be proud to share with your team during the next daily huddle.
3. Understand what time of the day you do your best thinking, and schedule activities that demand your concentration for this time. Most people have a few hours when they do their best work. Is yours early in the morning or late afternoon? Give it some thought and plan to do your most important projects during this time.
4. Eliminate distractions. These come in many forms: wasting time on unimportant email, keeping notifications and popups on your desktop, people popping into your office to chat. I continue to read and agree wholeheartedly that each time you are interrupted, it takes approximately twenty minutes to get back to the same level of productivity. Oh, and by the way, the quality of work suffers immensely as well. Check your email a couple times a day, and try to stop being so reactive to every issue that presents itself.
5. Spend your time on projects that utilize your special talents and gifts. Delegate things that can be done by someone else that do not align with these, or outsource what you can so that you can multiply the amount of work you get done. There are a lot of services available that can do tasks for you today very reasonably, and there are also virtual assistants that can increase your bandwidth and productivity.
And here is a bonus, keep your blood flowing by moving around on the hour and doing some quick desk-based exercises.
I am not suggesting you become antisocial at work and stop reaching out to people. On the contrary, we spend so much time at work that it needs to be a positive experience, and the relationships we have there are very important. I am just giving you a few things to think about to increase your productivity and get you on your way to 6 hours a day. Imagine what you might accomplish!
Please let me know what you think and share your favorite productivity tips. Good luck, Alan
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