Do you have ever wish you had more hours in a day so you could complete your to-do list? You’re definitely not the only retailer out there that wishes they could tick off every task of their list at the end of the day. Unfortunately, that’s not reality for any of us. Again and again, our to-do lists keep getting filled with new tasks and bigger projects.
If you’re able to manage your time properly, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to tick off more tasks of your to-do list. And that means you have more time for family, friends, hobbies and new projects! Luckily, there are a few ways to help you manage your time.
However, finding the right ways to manage your time properly can be difficult. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list with some easy-to-incorporate tips. And, these tips will help you improve your productivity and will aid you in working smarter.
1) Stop multitasking
This advice might sound counterintuitive to being productive, but it simply is the truth. If you’re multitasking, your brain is not focusing all of its efforts on all the tasks you’re doing. According to neuroscientist Earl K. Miller, “ multitasking is not humanly possible” (Source: New York Times).
Moreover, when you’re multitasking, you tend to make more mistakes. That’s because your brain has a hard time figuring out where it left off and it takes a lot of effort to reconfigure. What’s more, multitasking obstructs creative thinking. This means that whenever you’re juggling multiple tasks, you probably won’t come up with innovative and ground-breaking ideas.
“Truly innovative thinking arises when we allow our brains to follow a logical path of associated thoughts and ideas, and this is more likely when we can focus on a single mental pathway for an extended period” says Earl K. Miller.
So, how to monotask than? Here are a small tips you can implement so you can improve your productivity. Firstly, remove distractions from social media. If you can’t resist the urge to constantly check your Messenger of your LinkedIn, install an anti-distraction program. These will block access to your accounts for a specified period of time. Secondly, try working on just one screen. That means no phone lying on your desk and no second monitor. Turn them off and you’ll be able to focus on one thing at the time. And thirdly, if you feel your mind keeps wandering off, get up and go for a walk. Walking around, alone or with your colleagues, is the perfect technique to help you regain your focus!
2) Take regular breaks
We might think that working long hours every day will be good for our productivity. However, the opposite is the case. Whenever you’re sitting behind your desk for eight – or more – consecutive hours, your creativity will be in a slump. You’re not getting any creative ideas and you’re less concentrated.
Our suggestion to help you improve your productivity? Take regular breaks. And, don’t feel guilty about taking them. Taking breaks is essential for your creativity, your concentration and your mood in general. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going for a fifteen-minute walk with your colleagues or whether you’re taking a well-deserved coffee break with your co-worker. As long as you take a break, you’re letting your brain recharge and regain its focus after working on demanding tasks.
Research has shown that taking breaks is key for your productivity: “taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance” (Source: Inc). Other studies even suggest that taking a nap will allow your brain to gain new insights and to make unexpected connections between ideas. However, this is out of the question for many of us. So, whenever you feel you’re getting sleepy, get up and go talk to a co-worker. Or, work on a task that is less demanding.
3) Set smaller goals
Everyone’s to-do list is – most probably – a long list of big projects and tasks. However, when you set big goals, it’s very likely you won’t achieve them. The reason why? You defined your projects way too broadly which is causing you stress and makes you feel less in control.
We’re not saying you need to get rid of your daily to-do lists, but simpler goals are just easier to achieve. Big goals and tasks on your to-do list are simply intimidating. Breaking them down in small and realistic tasks will benefit you greatly and will help you improve your productivity. For instance, don’t write down ‘finish project’. Instead, break down your project into small steps like in the following example.
(Source: New York Times)
Key for your to-do list is to set realistic goals. Julie Morgenstern, a time management expert based in New York, gives essential advice about to-do lists: “Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day of work, and resist the urge to make a to-do list for the whole week, which can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed” (Source: New York Times).
4) Schedule fewer meetings
Many of us are frequently complaining that we need to attend meetings way too often. And, above that, most of these get-togethers prove to be unproductive as well. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can achieve the same goals via Slack, emails, or a web-based meeting.
If you have fewer meetings planned with your colleagues, you’ll get down to business way faster since your time together is limited. No more time spent discussing small issues that have been discussed before, but focusing on the essence of your meeting.
If you really must schedule a meeting with your co-workers, hold a standing meeting. Standing meetings are exactly what they sound like: everyone stands. Mostly agile teams do their meetings like this. They’ll discuss what they worked on and what they’re planning on doing in the coming days.
First advantage of standing meetings? They’re quick and, according to researchers of the University of Missouri, they are 34% shorter than standard meetings! Second advantage? They result in increased group arousal, decreased territoriality and improved group performance. So, when is your next standing meeting?
Inspired to improve your productivity?
Getting every minute out of your workday can be challenge. New issues arise and other things are prioritized over things on your to-do list. But, our list with tips can surely help you improve your productivity at work. Moreover, it will help you to manage your time cautiously. Summarised: focus on one thing at a time, take enough breaks, set more specific goals and schedule fewer meetings.
If you do so, your future is filled with more productive – and shorter – meetings and will be a boost for your mood. And, if you have finished your to-do list, you’ll finally have some time off to do things you love to do with your family or friends.
Don’t forget to share these how-to steps with your retail colleagues. Share which steps you have implemented in your retail business and which you plan on realizing in the future.