If you’re like us, and work in a busy, fast-paced agency environment with competing priorities, you’ll know all too well that feeling of being pulled in lots of different directions, and never feeling like you can tick off everything on your To Do list! While a big part of our job is being flexible and adaptable to whatever the day throws at us, there are some simple things we can do each day to ease our stress and help the day run a little more smoothly.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you stay focused and productive when you go back to the office in the new year:
- Do the most important or dreaded task on your ‘To Do’ list FIRST
Ever heard of the phrase ‘Eat that Frog!’? By doing the most important/biggest/challenging task of the day first, you’ll get it out of the way, offering you a sense of relief and achievement, and allowing every other task to seem relatively easy. It helps to create flow – by ticking off the thing you least want to do first, you start your day positively, and won’t have that task hanging over you all day, distracting you from getting things done!
- Email batching
We often feel like we have to be on email ALL the time, but the fact is, checking your inbox constantly is incredibly distracting and disrupts the flow of getting things done. Consider having set times of the day to check emails – perhaps once every 2 hours – to allow you to get stuck into tasks that need your undivided attention and creativity. To help with this, turn off your email notifications while working on a task. Then when it comes time to check your emails, power through them by actioning, delegating, and filing on the spot to keep your inbox in a manageable state.
- Q&A time
It often seems much quicker and easier to pop over to someone’s desk to ask them a question, rather than emailing or using a messaging service. However, because we’re all working on different tasks, with different priorities and deadlines, interrupting someone to ask a question can be very disruptive and distracting to the other person. Unless it’s an urgent matter that needs to be dealt with straight away, consider having set times throughout the day where people can ask each other questions. That way, everyone is in the right frame of mind to give their undivided attention!
- Limiting CC
While most of us work in teams, it’s not always productive to CC everyone in on every single email. Limit CCing your team to important updates only – emails that outline tasks/actions, provide a summary, share results, or finalise a decision. Save sharing any back-and-forth or negotiating emails so others don’t have to experience their inbox being flooded with details they don’t really need to be across.
- Short & sharp meetings
While not always possible, try and keep internal and external meetings to 30-45 minutes max. Reason being, once meetings go beyond 45 minutes, people’s attention really starts to wane and you might find the discussion going around in circles or going off on tangents, not reaching any decisions. Always have an agenda prepared – even if it’s just topline with dot points – to help everyone stay on topic and get the most out of each meeting. With most people being time-poor, everyone will agree that a short meeting is a good meeting!