EWP has work hacks for days and these days we are all about saving time. There is too much work but not enough hours in a day to finish. Use these ten work hacks to save time and energy during the day, so you are more productive and have better mental clarity.
1. The Ultimate Work hack of Work hacks: Protect your time and schedule meetings with yourself. Schedule chunks of time into your calendar that are dedicated “me time.” This means you block out specific blocks of time to work on your assigned projects and tasks. This prevents you from double-booking yourself and getting sucked into meetings or other projects. It provides you with a better focus for the task at hand as well. With those time slots pre-scheduled, you are free to take on any other tasks in the time that remains.
2. Have a 5-minute clean up. Having a clean work area helps you focus, not feel as overwhelmed, and creates a calmer work environment. Before heading out the door for the day, pick up five things off your desk, so you come into a neat space the next morning and can start fresh with a clear head.
3. Take back your wasted time. How can you best make use of your commute or those extra 15 minutes when an obligation lets out early? Do you have a webinar you could catch up on, listen to a business-related podcast, read pertinent articles you have saved, do research, or other tasks you have been putting off?
4. Get your inbox to zero. By setting designated times to check your email and respond (try first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before you leave for the day), you can limit the amount of distraction and time you are pulled away from tasks. During these designated email times, try to get your inbox to be at zero new messages. This helps you to feel less overwhelmed by a growing number of unread messages and limits the chances of emails getting lost in that black hole.
5. Prioritize your top three tasks of the day. Free yourself from being overwhelmed by consolidating your to-do list. Find a time that works best for you and do a brain dump, where you write down everything you can think of that needs to get done. This can be done weekly or even daily. Step away from your list you just made for a bit to let it settle in your mind. Go back to that list and prioritize the top three must-dos for that day. Then, put that giant brain dump list away and only pull it back out after you have completed your top three tasks.
6. Have weekly “stay conversations” with your team. On slips of paper, write down questions or prompts, have everyone pick a topic from a jar, and then take turns answering and discussing. The topics can range from what do you like about your job, what do you wish you could change, things you like to do in your spare time, and more. The purpose of this exercise is to get to know each other better, create open conversation, and get you thinking about your job and why you stay with it. It will re-motivate everyone, provide a nice break, and get you into the mindset of doing good work. Google “stay conversations” to get started!
7. Keep meeting invites to a minimum. This means be choosy about how many people you are inviting to a meeting. While it is important to keep everyone in the know, strategically choose who will benefit most from attending the meeting. The optimal number to invite is 6 to 8 people. This number of people has been found to have the most productive turnout and least amount of time wasted.
8. Keep one-day meeting free. It is easy for your day to get derailed when you have back-to-back meetings throughout the day. While it may seem like you have a lot to do, there is a difference between being busy and being productive. Talk with your team and decide on one day a week that you will keep meeting free. This will allow everyone time to work on projects without interruptions.
9. Prep your breakfast. The ultimate time-saving hack to get you out the door sooner and feeling less stressed in the mornings is making breakfast ahead of time. Perfect meals are; overnight oats, muffins, egg bakes, and breakfast sandwiches that you can freeze. Try making a batch of your favorite breakfast item on Sunday, and you won’t have to worry about making food in the mornings. You can just grab and go!
10. Set boundaries and plan your day backward. Boundaries are key for keeping work-life balance in check. One trick to still be super productive, yet leave at a consistently “normal” time every day is to put a hard deadline on the end of your day. If you want to leave the office every day at 5 p.m., make that your deadline and schedule all of your tasks and meetings backwards from that time. By doing so, you can better fit all that you want to get done into the day and still leave the office as a sane person.