Returning to work after a long holiday weekend is never easy. Add in the pressure of the New Year — resolutions to keep, a few hundred (or thousand) emails clogging up your inbox, more critical tasks than you know what to do with — and your day-to-day motivation can be stymied.
So what can you do to properly manage your time and increase productivity?
Below are 7 strategies that we’ve found work great for employees and bosses, individuals and businesses alike.
Prioritize what’s urgent and what’s important. As American hero and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.” Evaluating tasks with the urgent/not urgent and important/not important criteria can help you slice and dice your to-do list into manageable chunks, especially with so many looming New Year projects.
Procure a second monitor. Research on the productivity boost provided by multiple monitors proves what anecdotal evidence swears by: expanding your view means getting the job done faster. According to the University of Utah, a second monitor can save employees 2.5 hours per workday — that’s 10 hours per week, 40 hours per month, and 480 hours per year, per employee. Even if you only pay your employees $10 an hour, we’re talking about nearly $5,000 in savings each year.
Share your documents on the cloud. The cloud isn’t just for storing data — it also makes the sharing of documents between different devices seamless, which can save you the labor-intensive time of transferring files to jump drives or syncing between devices.
Manage every minute while still maintaining a balance. Sounds impossible, right? Well, nearly all high-powered entrepreneurs and businesspeople follow this precept. Last year, Virgin Group founder and legendary businessman Richard Branson told Fast Company that he manages every minute of his day, right down to his exercise. Branson delegates regular duties so he can concentrate on big ventures, jots down ideas on pen and paper, and aims to strike a balance in everything he does. “Manage the BlackBerry, don’t let it manage you,” he said. “I try to answer as many [emails] as I can, but I also believe that you need to speak to people. It can save you and them a lot of time.”
Don’t waste time trying to remember passwords. If you’re smart, you’ve got different passwords for different accounts, which minimizes the risk of intrusion or compromise. But once you’ve got all those new passwords, actually keeping track of them can seem impossible, which is where a strong password management system comes in handy.
Use the Journal function in Microsoft Outlook. Believe it or not, the most widely used business email program comes with a great time management function built in. Use Journal to automatically record any interaction — even those not taking place on your computer — and organize them into a Timeline view.
Looking at third-party apps? Consider Rescue Time. This app monitors Internet browser usage to see how much time is spent on what websites. It provides a perfect way to monitor employee productivity — but when deployed in a positive manner, it can also challenge your staff members to be conscious of their own time management. After all, nobody wants to be confronted with the fact that they spend two hours browsing Facebook every day.
There’s no doubt that technology has vastly improved the productivity and efficiency of today’s workers. A study by O2 Business and CEBR found that workplace productivity has increased by 84% during the past 40 years, simply because of advancements in digital technology.
But every once in a while, we all need a reminder that technology allows us to work faster and smarter, not necessarily harder and with more obstacles.
At CMIT Solutions, we’re here to help you concentrate on your job while we take care of tech issues. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity and efficiency, contact us today.