There are a number of very simple strategies you can adopt to boost your level of productivity in the office. In this article we break down some of the most common approaches you can adopt.
Make it your goal to use all the business tools at your disposal as effectively as possible. Learn the ins and outs of all your office gear. That may mean spending a few hours with the phone, printer/copier or computer manual. But it’s time well spent in increased efficiency over the long haul.
Don’t Answer Every Call
Let that call go to voice mail. Or not. Use caller ID to help decide if this is the time to pick up that call. If it’s a chatty work colleague or a social friend who can wait two hours for a return call, don’t pick up. If it’s the person you’ve been trying to reach for a week, pick up the call now. Set aside time at regular intervals during the day to return calls.
Leave Actionable Voice Mails
When you leave a message, make it as productive as possible. State the purpose of your call and leave content the recipient can act on, such as “I need to reschedule our Tuesday morning meeting. Can you make it at one o’clock or three o’clock that same day?” Avoid leaving just your name and number and a request for a call back. And always leave your call back number.
Setting up a meeting or on a sales call? When you make the appointment, set a beginning and an end time. Respect your client’s (and your) schedule. Use the alarm function on your cell phone to warn you when that the time to wrap up is approaching. For example, if the meeting is scheduled for one hour, set the alarm to buzz you at fifty minutes. Keep the phone in your pocket, on vibrate.
Keep emails short
If you begin writing and and realize your message is likely to be more than one computer screen long, pick up the phone instead.
Before you leave the office for an eleven o’clock appointment, take a minute to call ahead to make sure the person you are seeing is on schedule. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at an appointment on time to find out the person you are scheduled to see is running an hour late.
Travel with work-related reading materials. If you do get stuck in a waiting room, at the airport, or even parked in the car at your child’s school, you can use the time to catch up on an article or two.
Always have something to take notes with. It really doesn’t matter if you go high or low tech — if it’s your computer, iPhone on old-fashioned notepad and pen. Ideas come at the strangest times, so be prepared to keep track of your brainstorms.
Break it Up
Have a huge project you’ve been putting off? If you have a dreaded or boring task to accomplish, break it into small parts. Work in short sessions. Time yourself by setting an alarm or timer for an hour or so and then move onto another project.
Take regular breaks that get you out of your chair for five minutes or so each hour. A break now and then can can help re-focus your work efforts.Use the last 15 or 20 minutes of your work day to set up for tomorrow. Check your calendar or schedule. Confirm appointments. Download driving directions if you need them. Clear the clutter off your desk. Clean out your email in-box, so you’re ready to tackle new issues in the morning.
If it’s difficult to make these changes at once, implement them one at a time. But learn to use all of the features of your office equipment. Use voice and email effectively. Always travel with work-related reading material. Take regular breaks and divide large or unpleasant jobs into shorter pieces Follow these tips and it’s likely you’ll find at least most work days are more productive.
- Gavin has 15 years experience as a HR Manager and Leader within large and growing companies. During this time Gavin has seen thousands of resumes and conducted just as many interviews. Gavin has turned his knowledge and passion in this space into a full time profession and launched Jobs in Bradford his career advisory and consulting website.
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