We’re half way through the year and the months have gone by quickly. The days seem shorter and the To-Do lists grow longer. Hitting the year midpoint is a good time to re-evaluate our efforts and elevate efficiency. Here’s 10 quick productivity hacks and time savers to keep the momentum for the rest of the year.
1. Control your inbox.
Create rules in Outlook to prioritize and filter your emails. Keep only your To: and Cc: emails in your inbox, focus on those first. It’s easy to get side-tracked with newsletters and miscellaneous emails so send those directly to a folder for later review.
If you are expecting an urgent email from your boss or a client that will need immediate attention, you can set a rule in Outlook to receive a text notification on your cell phone.
2. Detect upcoming projects.
Take a minute to review current projects and ask around to find out what’s ahead, so you can batch the tasks. This helps to better manage your work flow, efforts and delivery time.
3. End your meetings a few minutes early.
Put a buffer of 5 or 10 minutes at the end of each meeting so you can update your notes, take a quick break or do whatever you need to recap the last meeting and shift gears for the next project or meeting. By closing up one topic, you can better focus on the next.
4. Calendar time for brainstorming and goals.
Schedule increments of time for planning, not just meetings and tasks. Set aside a block of time or hour(s) for brainstorming, research, strategizing, goal setting and goal follow up.
5. Think like an executive; plan and strategize.
Accomplished high-level executives discuss strategies, plans, visions and specific business goals in Town Hall Meetings and on digital platforms. They use SMART goals, KPIs or OKRs to drive success. Whatever level you are, you can create a result-oriented plan listing what you need to do and define steps on how you will get there.
6. Over communicate and set expectations.
Proactively communicate task or project changes and issues that may affect completion time. Explain your timeline, what they can expect now and what it will take for results. Proactive communication is always appreciated and saves time, money and unnecessary work.
7. Use apps for task management, time tracking, note taking and idea gathering.
There are a variety of apps to choose from based on your need and work style. Ask friends and colleagues what they use, how they use it and what they like about. Collect and share tips.
8. Anticipate questions, issues or solutions.
Most often, we try to work ahead and start doing pre-work as we wait for others, such as glancing at emails, initial research, preliminary spreadsheet updates – whatever we can do until we get a greenlight. Add these to your proactive trajectory; anticipate questions, think of potential issues and brainstorm solutions as early as possible.
9. Reprioritize, personally.
As the day progresses, work priorities change and so does your personal schedule. Something at home may come up and self-time is affected, or you may just need more/ less time for your personal responsibilities. Update your work deliverables to sync with your personal schedule.
10. Make an appointment, away from work.
Schedule time to unplug, decompress and log off. Plan something for yourself whether it’s finding a good book, family or friend time, taking a nap, movie time or learning something new. Put this on your calendar as a scheduled appointment and do it!
At Talent Suede, we’re always interested in learning new tips and hacks, especially when it comes to working smarter, not harder. Get in touch if you want to exchange ideas and ways to be more productive. We are happy to connect and speak by appointment, ready to help. Contact us for additional information, career coaching, job opportunities, resume writing, relocation guidance, talent strategy and hiring needs.
Article written by Lisa Hollister
About the Author
Lisa Hollister, PHR has 15 years of Recruiting, retention and talent strategy expertise. She specializes in sourcing top talent for creative and corporate roles in apparel, beauty and home categories. Her mantra is working smarter and streamlining efforts. She will continue to gather and share tips with her vast clients, candidates and network.
Lisa is the Director of Recruiting & Founder at Talent Suede; she enjoys helping others navigate their success path!