23 Nov Your Most Common Productivity Questions Answered
Achieve more in less time
Here at PEPworldwide, we have been helping individuals and teams learn how to increase productivity for over 30 years. Our programs show participants how to work more effectively and efficiently, freeing up to two extra hours a day for high-value work. More productive employees are also happier and less stressed, and who doesn’t want that?!
At the beginning of each PEP program, we ask participants what frustrates them most about their workday, and what they would like to achieve as a result of attending the program. Today we answer the most common productivity questions and share some practical tips that you can use straight away.
1 – “How do I manage unexpected interruptions?
Interruptions are a common frustration, with 46% of PEP participants reporting that interruptions take up 1-2 hours each day. Some of the best strategies to avoid interruptions and stay focused are:
- Block out focus time, during which you can turn off notifications and do focused work.
- Set dedicated contact hours for colleagues or clients to get in touch with you.
- Communicate expectations with colleagues and clients, including how long you need to respond to their queries.
- Stay flexible to unavoidable interruptions and adapt as needed.
The good news is that if you build up a reputation for delivering work on time, the less likely others will interrupt you to find out where things are up to!
2 – “How can I spend less time in my inbox?”
Given how much time we spend on emails, it’s unsurprising that inbox management is a common question.
Though many of us have to monitor and respond to emails as part of our job, it doesn’t have to rule your day. Here are some ways to spend less time on emails:
- Time blocking – schedule a time block to process your emails, so that you’re not distracted by emails when you need to focus on other tasks.
- Organise your inbox – create a folder system that helps you to process emails more efficiently. The organising structure needs to be tailored for your role, but creating structure enables you to find what you need, when you need it.
- Automate as much as possible – there are many technology tools you can use to automate your inbox, including Outlook rules or Zapier.
- Don’t use email for everything – there are other forms of communication. If you have a simple question for someone, a quick call might be easier.
When you do need to use email, there are ways to save time. For example, writing a clear subject line that tells the reader what they need to do might take just one minute while saving everyone a lot of time down the track.
Better email management frees up time in your workday for more important tasks. Small changes can make a big difference.
3 – “How can I better schedule my work?”
Mastering your calendar is a significant productivity boost. Here are some practical ways to create a well-organised calendar:
- Map out your week in advance – plan ahead so you can work out your priority tasks and block out time for those first.
- Start each day with your calendar.
- Block out time for all your priority tasks and deliverables.
- Don’t forget to schedule time for breaks.
A well-managed calendar does wonders for your productivity. Learn your calendar features and make the most of calendar technology. For example, you can share your Google Calendar to make it easier to schedule meetings.
4 – “What technology tools can improve my efficiency?”
Modern technology can be great tools for boosting productivity. From productivity apps to collaboration tools, technology can help us to get more organised, stay focused and build good habits. Try out some fun apps like Forest and HabitShare.
5 – “How can I build good productivity habits?”
We all have habits, which are repeated routines or behaviours. Our top productivity habits include:
- Starting each day with a plan – this helps you focus on what’s important and avoid distractions.
- One thing at a time – forget multitasking and focus on one task at a time.
- Eliminate interruptions – create a physical environment that minimises interruptions, including turning off notifications and using noise-cancelling earphones.
PEP programs show you how to work more effectively, regardless of working location. Try out some of the practical tips above, and learn how PEP can help you increase productivity and wellbeing.
By Simon Nicholls