As we have been swinging in and out of lockdowns for the better part of 18 months, this has come with benefits as well as drawbacks. Whilst some of us are back in the office, a lot of businesses remain remote or have shifted to hybrid models. Employees have found it difficult to balance work with home life and a year on, although we have become better at this, as things get busier close to Christmas time, it is important to implement practices that can help us all manage our time and enhance productivity. Here a few tips to help you do this.
- Set yourself a schedule
As the lines between home and work have blurred, it is crucial to set yourself a routine that helps maintain this balance. Whether it is squeezing in a workout before the day begins, taking a walk at lunchtime or switching off at a set time for the day and relaxing with your favourite Netflix show, planning your day can help you stay on track. When working from home, it can be tempting to take frequent breaks throughout the day or get sidetracked by other distractions since we no longer have a physical office to get out off. But planning your day and setting time limits can help ensure that you remain productive and maintain a healthy balance between your workload and home life.
- Effectively Utilise Fragmented Time
Fragmented time is the little pockets of time, around 15-30 minutes that crop up between meetings and catch-ups. Sometimes this makes it difficult to get actual work done, as an increased amount of time is spent on calls since the pandemic. As such, there has been a 17% increase in the amount of fragmented time per person per week and an 8% decrease in the amount of focus time per person per week. Being aware of this fragmented tome and how you use it is key. Although we are suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’ we should still use this fragmented time wisely. For example, you can get quick, admin tasks out of the way or to take a short break and recharge. Utilising this ‘extra time’ will help manage your workload and remain productive.
- Pay Attention to Energy
Being mindful of your own energy as well as that of your colleagues is important as everyone is juggling competing priorities. It is no secret that we are at our most productive when energy levels are high. Pay attention to when you have the most energy and complete the most urgent or demanding tasks during this time, if you can. For some people, the time that their energy is at its peak is in the morning, just after that first coffee has kicked in. For others, it can be closer to the afternoon. Similarly, be sensitive to the energy levels and fatigue of your team or junior colleagues. Help them manage their workload and enhance productivity by paying attention to signs of burnout or work overload. This will help the whole team work effectively and lead to a healthier work environment. If you are a senior team member, enforce the flexibility employees may need to work when their energy levels are highest as much as possible.
Although there are many behaviors or changes we can make to enhance productivity and balance workload, these are just a few examples. Try implementing some of these in your schedule and assess how your efficiency improves.