A recent survey from the University of Warwick found that only half of workers feel they are productive at work. The issues raised in the research ranged from constantly full email inboxes and calendars being too full of meetings resulting in not even enough time to take a lunch break. Sound familiar?
Juggling busy schedules at home and at work is becoming increasingly demanding. That’s why we’ve taken a look at the techniques and technologies which can help keep distractions to a minimum and boost concentration and productivity in the workplace.
Here’s our 4 tips on how to increase productivity.
1. Take back control of your inbox
The average business inbox receives 122 emails per day. Approximately 17 per cent of those emails are spam with the remainder split between intra-office communication and day-to-day external management.
Rarely is an email truly critical, yet every time your inbox notification pings, it can break your train of thought and encourage you to check your emails. This can be distracting, so it is worth turning your email notifications off when you need to get into a productive frame of mind.
Let your team know that you will not be checking your emails and that if anything urgent comes up they will need to get in touch with you over the phone. Removing the constant distraction of your inbox for a few hours can really boost productivity and help you concentrate on the job at hand.
2. Change of scenery
It is generally accepted that people find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for more than 20 minutes at a time. A recent study found that for optimal productivity, we should work for 52 minutes, followed by a 17 minute break.
While you can re-focus on a task several times, the longer we try and do this, the more difficult it gets. Taking a break from staring at a computer screen is as important for concentration as removing distractions.
Try taking a short walk around the office, or going outside. This can be the difference between a productive afternoon and one where the to-do list just seems to grow.
Allowing yourself a change of scenery and taking time to give your brain a break can let you come back to the task at hand with a refreshed attitude.
3. Collaborate in real-time
When working on a collaborative project, good communication is critical. Ensuring everyone is aware of the latest developments and working towards the same deadlines requires a lot of back and forth.
This can form up to 40 per cent of inbox traffic. Using a chat system that can facilitate real-time communication, can help reduce the number of emails sent while improving communication speeds.
Your team can also create documents together in real-time using services like Google Docs, which when tied together with chat services can make working together much quicker and easier as well as reducing email volumes drastically.
4. Leave some breathing space
Finally, it is important when creating a plan to leave some time aside for any ad hoc tasks which can come up. You might also want to factor in time to respond to personal messages and check in with family and friends.
Creating a space in your day for those activities means you can remain in contact but also allows you to separate work and personal communications throughout the day which can better aid concentration.
By employing the above tips, you may well be on your way to a more productive and balanced work life. If you have more productivity tips to share with us, drop us a line on Twitter @TalkTalkBiz!
We have a whole range of collaboration tools that can help reduce email, be more productive. Find out more.