By Steve Sawyer, Divisional Director – Professional Services Solutions, Access Group
With 74% of employees experiencing a personal energy crisis, Steve Sawyer at Access Group addresses how changing task management techniques can help employees maximise business productivity and suggests it is time we discovered a better way of working.
The way we’re working isn’t working
In a world of diminishing resource and growing demand, people are working longer hours and spending more time outside the office tethered to digital devices. As a result, employees are often increasingly exhausted and disengaged from their work. This is ineffective and stressful for the employee and directly affects the company’s bottom line. Rather than trying to get more out of people, the most sustainable companies invest in meeting their employee’s core needs so they’re fuelled during the working day.
The multitasking myth
If your working day is a constant stream of interruptions and distractions, you’re not alone. Many people believe multitasking is essential for survival in today’s work environment and many bosses expect people to be proficient at it. In reality, if jumping between two or more tasks, when we move back and forth there is a productivity cost for each shift.
To overcome this issue, high performing businesses use software solutions to help automate and speed up business processes, drive growth and improve performance, profitability and insight. However, there are certain things individuals can do to increase their effectiveness, helping to rebalance the important equation between work and life.
Sprinting to productivity
Normal productivity is like a jog; you are keeping pace and completing work at an adequate level. However, when faced with what seems like an overwhelming pile of work to get through, or if you just feel like being particularly productive, a sprint can help maximise your output and increase your motivation.
Here are some tips that will get you up and running in no time.
A quick-start guide to sprinting
1. Start with a single task - Set time aside in the morning as this is when the mind is more active and alert. You could use a stopwatch to set a time but remember, sprints are usually done in 30, 60 or 90 minute slots.
2. Switch off distractions - In order to block out distractions, turn off your email and phone and do whatever it takes to ensure you can be focused and free from interruption.
3. Rest - During a sprint, employees push themselves to their limits for short periods of time, knowing they have a clear stopping point. When you have finished a task take a break, which does not include checking emails or voicemails.
4. Prioritise - Once you have rested, it is time to power up the email and
phone and quickly deal with messages. By prioritising their importance, you can start to see those which would benefit from another sprint session.
5.Plan ahead - You can then map out a week of high output while building the momentum to keep yourself moving forward. However, keep in mind that you may not want to work at this level all the time. It is called a sprint for a good reason, and we can only sprint at this fast past for so long before we run out of energy.
Sprinting helps break large tasks and projects down into achievable, actionable steps. When we break the action into segments and perform them in a timely fashion, the overall project does not seem so overwhelming. In addition, checking things off a list gives you a great sense of accomplishment and allows you to relax in the evening, knowing you achieved a lot during the day.