New Decade, New Productivity

New Decade, New Productivity

Dennis Snider

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So, you’re back to work and the holiday season is just a memory, only marked by that extra inch around the waistline. Many of us will be using January to try and get back in the shape we were before the holidays; it’s also a good time to start getting your IT system into better shape as well.
Below are four suggestions that could help to make 2020 your most productive year ever.

  1. Email: People working in knowledge-based industries spend almost a third of their working hours reading and answering emails. Properly used, email is a useful tool, but used wrongly it can have a serious negative impact on productivity. You need to take control of your inbox. Firstly, unsubscribe yourself from any unnecessary newsletters or advertising streams, which only take attention away from the important emails. Schedule your email activity: have a set time to deal with emails and either action then, forward them to the appropriate person, or delete them. Don’t continually go back and check your emails just because you’re bored or you need a distraction.
  2. Collaborative productivity: Office 365 and G Suite both have collaboration tools built in. Many people don’t know this and fewer use these capabilities. The usual way of creating a document or spreadsheet is to email it out as an attachment, have everyone make their suggestions or alterations, sending them back, sending them back out again, etc. It’s very difficult to keep track of changes and who has seen and done what. Using OneDrive in Office or Drive in G Suite allows everyone to access the same document, make edits, and see what everyone else is done at the same time.
  3. Push notifications: Smartphones are a fantastic way of communicating, but they are also a massive distraction. Research has shown that someone receiving constant push notifications will make three times as many errors in their work as someone receiving no notifications, even if they don’t stop to check notifications. Shut down all unnecessary push notifications and you’ll work faster and smarter.
  4. Social media: As with smartphones, social media can be a massive asset your company, and at the same time a massive distraction. Checking Facebook, Twitter, etc., is the most commonly used way of procrastinating and avoiding what we know and we should be doing. If you can’t wean yourself off the habit, get some software to help: SelfRestraint (PCs) and SelfControl (Mac) both allow you to create a blackout on certain sites so that you won’t be able to access them during your working hours.

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