How can you and your staff be more productive? Establish and announce effective break policies. Then use National PEO’s online time clock to systematize break and lunch periods. Many factors affect work efficiency. Share the strategies below with your team to boost workforce output.
Enjoy Frequent Breathers
Researchers measuring how personnel spend work time found that the 10 percent who were most constructive took breaks frequently. After laboring 52 minutes, they devoted 17 minutes to unwinding and refocusing. What makes that 52/17 work-to-break-time ratio so successful? Highly productive employees sprint through tasks, toiling extremely hard in 52-minute bursts. Like athletes after relatively long sprints, they need breathers.
The study’s most productive staffers did not check their emails, Facebook, or anything else on the Internet during breaks. Instead, they vacated their workstations. Chosen activities included walks, reading books, and conversing with colleagues about non-work topics. If disappearing often is not feasible, enjoy funny pet videos on your smartphone or computer. Animal/humor viewing experiences rest your brain enough to resume high output afterward.
Wonder why immersing yourself in work causes weariness? Attention spans average just 25-45 minutes long. Relaxing for five minutes every half hour will prevent declining concentration. Productivity advocate Graham Allcott advises leaving workstations to get drinks. Computer users should focus their eyes on anything else. Brief screen breaks will keep them fresh throughout workdays.
Shorten Work Periods
You may think long workdays boost performance when they give everyone extra time to function more slowly. Staffers might accomplish more in fewer hours. Their achievements during the two to three hours of strongest attention define their productiveness — not the rest of their long days when output dwindles with concentration. Restricting overall hours or stopping for five-minute breaks could enhance efficiency.
Changing positions and moving about improve blood flowing to your brain. Even 15-minute exercise periods can help your mind engage better afterward. Desk-bound workers can put computers on raised platforms or prop laptops on books to allow standing. Do quick warm-up drills before conferences that require long-term sitting. Or hold small discussions during physical activities.
Avoid Pointless Meetings
Business meetings without clear purposes, agendas, and timeframes are worthless. Even well-organized sessions can waste valuable time. Sending apologies occasionally reclaims important hours to handle necessities.
If your busy team forgets what matters most while stressing over insignificant issues, schedule daily huddles. Brisk gatherings foster internal communications and help everyone focus on performance essentials. Those advantages decrease needs for multiple, long, pointless internal emails and meetings.
Minimize Your Inbox
Emails can be great productivity tools or huge distractions. Key business aspects that add value and create impacts occur outside inboxes. Personnel should take care of and discard messages regularly, reducing them to just one page. Addressing all essential matters and making all necessary decisions promptly eliminates issues on subsequent pages from nagging at your subconscious. Freeing up space and time to work outside inboxes will be a relief.
Become a List Maker
Our amazing brains are almost useless for short-term recall. Itemizing vital activities with corresponding projects can clear everyone’s minds to focus on what they handle brilliantly instead. Use Microsoft Outlook’s task function, a second brain app, Microsoft Word, a text doc, or scratch pad and pen. Update your to-do list regularly to relieve memory strain.
Schedule a Power Hour
Have items stayed on your overwhelming to-do list too long? Do you postpone challenging duties? Those examples promote procrastination. Irritating thoughts about what you should have done can be disruptive. Schedule one daily Power Hour to tackle anything difficult, unclear, tedious, and scary. Power through them quickly so they will not distress you later.
Contemplate Your Thinking
Setting aside weekly thinking time may cause guilt. What if no one else considers your efforts real work? But deliberate reflection is vital to workplace well-being, control, and productivity. Review your weekly schedule, current tasks, and upcoming projects. Notice effectiveness, set realistic intensions so you can turn down requests as necessary, and develop clarity to remove procrastination and create momentum.
Make Your Internal Voice Helpful
What is your measurable goal? Which actions will help you achieve it? Those answers will clarify any task while sharpening thinking. When dreading boring chores, tell yourself, “I get to …” instead of “I must ….” Choose words to prompt motivation and spur productivity.