10 Simple Ways to be More Productive at Work
On our four-day Happy Workplace Leadership Programme, we have introduced a section on being productive rather than busy. We share tips and challenge participants to take control in three key areas: email, meetings and distractions.
Take control with these 10 productivity tips, shared at the last session.
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We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.
How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?
Here are 10 of the most popular tips from this session, with feedback from our last group on what they implemented:
- Cut one-hour meetings to 45 minutes: “Just because Outlook defaults to one hour doesn’t mean we have to. Our standard meeting time is now 45 minutes. An added benefit is I get 15 minutes to deal with any actions, saving me an hour or two later in the day.”
- Make something positive the first item on the agenda for team meetings: A round of “new and goods” or “what’s going well” as the first item on the agenda starts each session in a positive way.
- Cut one-to-ones to 45 minutes too: “I’ve reduced my standard time for 1-to-1s with my people. We seem to get through as much and leave as satisfied.”
- 321zero: This is the system I used to solve my email overload and have described it here. Open your inbox only three times a day, set a timer for 21 minutes and reduce your inbox to zero emails. Not everybody used the system exactly like that but the core points (only checking your inbox a handful of times a day and dealing with emails promptly) enabled some to say “I’ve got my email cracked.”
- Turn the email alert off: This is basic. “It’s amazing the effect it’s had, just not being continually distracted.”
- No emails until 11 am: Instead of checking email first thing, work on your most important tasks. “I’ve got a lot more done.” This can be formalised with “Eat 4 frogs.”
- Eat 4 frogs: This is the old Ivy Lee method. At the end of each day, write down the four most important tasks to complete the next day. And do those before you do anything else, including email. (Frogs because they are chewy tasks that you tend to avoid “eating”.)
- 10 at 10: “Once a week we hold a ten-minute catch-up at ten o’clock. It’s a great way to check in and know what’s going on.” (Of course, in Agile environments this is often done daily.)
- Don’t send that email: On the first day of the Programme, we covered the Chimp Paradox and how our initial emotional reaction doesn’t get the best results. “A couple of times this week I’ve written an email response and then thought ‘hang on, that’s my Chimp talking’. I haven’t sent it, and so have avoided escalating an issue.”
- Time for me: Each participant chooses a buddy to work with throughout the programme. “That meeting with my buddy is the one time I get to put myself first, talk openly and build each other’s confidence.”
Other points included using Skype for meetings (to cut travel time), replacing minutes with action points, giving people equal time to speak at meetings (and don’t allow interruptions), sharing the chairing of meetings around to different staff members each time, and focusing on creating a happier team.
What I like is not that these revolutionary ideas, but are simple practical steps that have freed up time and enabled people to be more effective.
Are you productive or just busy? What can you do to take control of your time and create some slack?
- Five Day Productivity Blitz - Sign up for our five-day productivity blitz course here and learn tried and tested techniques to save you time and increase your productivity.
- Improve your Productivity with these Five Apps - There are so many handy, and free, apps available to help save you time, we've listed 5 of them here.
- How Microsoft Excel can Increase Your Productivity - Excel is a super helpful but widely underused piece of software. If you want to learn more with Happy then just click the link!
Keep informed about happy workplaces
Sign up to Henry's monthly Happy Manifesto newsletter, full of tips and inspiration to help you to create a happy, engaged workplace.
Learn the 10 core principles to create a happy and productive workplace in Henry Stewart's book, The Happy Manifesto.
Henry's Most Popular Blogs
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- 321Zero: How I Solved my Email Overload
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- A Four Day Week? Let's Start With a Four Day August
- Google: Hire Great People and Give Them Lots of Autonomy
- Buurtzorg: No Managers, Just Great Care From a Nurse-Led Service
- 30 Steps to Joy at Work: Get More Done by Being Less Busy
Boost Productivity While Working at Home
Learn remotely with Happy's Live Online Learning courses. All sessions are interactive webinars. The facilitator guides learners through the material, encouraging participation and interaction.
Our Five Day Productivity Blitz will introduce you to four tried and tested productivity techniques. By the end of the five day blitz, we guarantee you will be more productive than before. Our next course date is 20th November. Find out more
Our facilitator will take you through the course material through a blend of activities and discussion, just like our classroom sessions. And because it's online, you can learn from home and fit the session around your other commitments.
Why learn online with Happy?
- Interactive and engaging - just like our classroom sessions
- Bitesize or full-day sessions - fit around your schedule
- Learn from home - all you need is a quiet place to call from and an internet connection
- No quibble money-back guarantee
Testimonials from happy learners
Ruby Alden-Gibson2 days ago
Really enjoyed the course. It was informative and I learnt loads!
Trusted Customer3 days ago
Very good, the process was easy and communication good. Mostly spoke to Laura so it would be good if all her emails had come from her name email address.
Trusted Customer3 days ago
Fully satisfied with the service and location of the training.
Trusted Customer6 days ago
Trent Grassian7 days ago
An incredible training, which was so engaging and informative. Really got a lot out of it and would highly recommend itt o others!
Joanne Spear7 days ago
thanks, the course was simple and easy to follow and i found the presenters approach very friendly.
Wilma Wheatley7 days ago
The tutor was great in including everyone. answered all the questions i had before attending
Trusted Customer7 days ago
Happy's training courses enhanced my knowledge and gave me new skills which I can use in my job to make things more efficient.
Jodie Moore8 days ago
Great course with a great tutor. Very interactive with good learning experiences.
Trusted Customer8 days ago
Great course, enjoyable and useful.
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Roumiana Grigorova8 days ago
I am very happy, taking this training. I would say I am one step more confident. This was an interesting and very useful experience. Our lecture was a great, I have to sa...