Who likes spending extended hours at work?
As working professionals, no matter how much you try to stick to the 9-5 routine, it’s easier
said than done. As most of us ‘workaholics’ and those of us who are not – oh! no, no, we are
not at all speaking of those ‘5 minutes said, 15 minutes stretched’ gossip breaks you take
(pun intended)! – we tend to invest more than the required time at work.
Oscillating between multiple deadlines and the need to respond to a slew of emails or phone
calls… Huff! How to manage your everyday job or stick to the schedule without letting these
tasks blow your mind?
While some projects may indeed demand you to be glued to your desk till late hours, try to
get rid of the otherwise internal tension as you go about getting things done. Follow a
combination of smart and productive hacks to achieve effective work management, that’s
finished within time. These handy tricks not only help you streamline your jobs but also teach
you how to not give away your calm, when assigned immediate attention oriented tasks.
Simply put, routinizing these hacks will save you from the everyday grind and help maximize
productivity at work. Let’s get started!
1). Urgently, Immediately, Right Now
An essential part of being an able professional is the ability to prioritize what’s needed to be
finished right away and what can be postponed for a later time or day. Every morning, as you
navigate through your inbox, ask yourself – do I really need to immediately reply to this
email or can this wait for a while, at least till I finish the other urgent job at hand?
It’s possible that you may need to reply to an email on an immediate basis, but, do not make
it a habit to send quick replies. In most cases you will find the liberty to take some time and
revert only after finishing your current task.
Instead of making quick replies like “Let me get back to you on this, etc.”, schedule different
slots to check and revert to emails when you can focus to send thoughtful replies, replies that
could move the conversation forward.
2). Maintain Zero Inbox
No, this isn’t contradictory to what we said above. In fact, to achieve the aforementioned
goal, you should set distinguished folders in your inbox and segregate each email into these
folders, based on its nature. These folders can be created according to:
- Act: Always revert immediately to those emails that can be responded to within two minutes or less
- Respond: Maintain this folder for the messages that require a detailed/lengthy message crafting.
- Delegate: Forward those emails that can be best answered by someone else.
- Archive: Archive messages that require your least attention or no action at all. If a certain message requires later attention, snooze it for a future date.
Once you have prioritized your inbox, set aside an hour or two every day and reply to emails chipped in the “Respond” folder. There are ample blogs available online to help you learn more about Inbox Zero.
3). Communicate Before Committing
Often as a new job arrives, we tend to say ‘yes’ without thinking much on the timeline. Not
that you can always have the privilege to say ‘wait’, but it’s vital to completely understand
the brief, before committing to a deadline.
If you are too busy doing something else, politely ask your boss or colleagues for a little more
time. Then go back to them with a clear mind and ask them to brief you again. Only after
syncing in the brief, recommend a realistic deadline.
4). Achieve What You Commit
Just as it’s essential to commit only that which you can achieve, it’s equally or more
important to achieve the deadline that you have committed. This will not only increase the
trust ratings of the other person on you, but will eventually offer you a free hand in deciding
your work timelines.
The assigner will learn to believe in you to come back with the task on the promised date.
5). Make a To-do List
Sticky notes are always around to remind you of the work that’s on your plate. Instead of
overcommitting and under delivering, make it a habit to jot down all tasks on your sticky
notes, and paste it on your desk, every morning.
6). Batch Similar Tasks Together
Once we are on a job, our mind automatically starts concentrating on all things related to that
job. Batching similar work together not only increases output but also helps tick away lots of
work off your to-do list.
7). Phone Down, Productivity Up
Believe it or not, checking our phones every few minutes distracts our minds and hampers
our creativity. As daunting as it might sound, put your phone on airplane mode when you are
in the midst of an important assignment.