5 tips for finding your most productive work time
As an HR leader, your assignment from day to day and from month to month is to maximize employee engagement, while increasing employee retention and productivity. Your company is investing a great deal in talent – and you want to make the most of that talent. So what makes us productive, and what doesn’t?
Many of us work long hours…often 40 hours per week is just a minimum. Shouldn’t we know how to make the most of those hours? How can we maximize all that we accomplish?
I recently met with Business News Daily to chat about topic. The main point I emphasized is this – logging more hours doesn’t necessarily equal greater productivity. According to the article, “All 9-to-5ers go through productivity slumps during the workday, and yet they still try to power through and keep working, even if it means substandard output.”
So what should you – and your entire team of employees – do to improve productivity? Your strategies may vary, as each worker is different and no one tactic works for everyone. But the following five ideas have a chance of helping anyone and everyone achieve more with each day of work:
Set appropriate boundaries
First and foremost, you need to know when to set the work aside and call it a day. You might think it’s beneficial to work nine or 10 hours today to get all your stuff done, but in the long run you’re actually contributing to burnout.
Take frequent breaks
It’s not healthy to work straight through your lunch break with no time away from your desk. Take a few minutes (at the very least) to recharge your batteries and refresh your mind with thoughts about anything besides work. You’ll be thankful later.
Optimize your schedule
Breaks are healthy, but exactly how and when to take them is up to you. Some people like taking 5-10 minutes off at the end of each hour. Others prefer to power through a couple of hours uninterrupted, then rest for longer. Find a routine you’re comfortable with.
Know your own distractions
Everyone has things that distract them, whether it’s chatty co-workers across the hall or the allure of constantly checking Facebook and Twitter. These things are healthy in moderation, but be self-aware and try not to let them consume your entire day. It’s also important to pay close attention to your habits to understand your productivity peaks. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Try working on your biggest projects when you have the most energy.
Consider an unorthodox approach
If you’re not feeling productive within the framework of your regular workday, you may want to try something outside the box. Talk to your boss – see if you can work an earlier day, or a later one. Consider working remotely, either from home or a public place like a coffee shop. Everyone maximizes their productivity differently, and maybe an unusual approach is one that could work for you.
As VP of HR Programs, Kelly is responsible for human resources programs that enhance Ceridian’s employee engagement. Her work focuses on improving connectivity between employees, managers and teams. Follow her on Twitter at @kallder04.