When you look around where you work, is that a Productivity Center? Whether you go to the same office day in and day out, or you are a "road-warrior" working from airplanes, hotels, and remote offices, here are three tips to staying productive while you're working:
1) Just like air travel, maintain a backup system. Nearby, in a desk drawer or in your briefcase/backpack, keep a copy of all emergency materials with you. Have a list of your passwords, a backup disk/flash drive of your reports, PowerPoint presentations, files that you can't live/work without. Be sure to program your cell phone with the main phone number's you can't do without. (Clients, suppliers, coordinators, vendors, etc.)
- Key to implementation: Back up as you go. Start the habit of adding people's names to your mobile phone AS they call. Today (OK, or tomorrow!), set up your external storage system to back up your computer (at least the My Documents file). If you need assistance, ask a colleague (or a child!) about buying and using a Flash USB drive for "on-the-go" storage.
2) Anticipate "down time." Meetings will start late—this is a fact of life. At the last minute, someone will cancel an appointment, and, from time to time, the office computer system will go down and you will not have access to your e-mail or the Internet. Prepare a list of work you CAN do during "down time" throughout the day. Keep an inventory of clients to reach out to. Or, better yet, hand write a few thank you cards. This might be just the excuse you need to work "offline," and do some valuable without the constant "ding" of new mail pulling on you.
- Key to implementation: Already have the inventory of what-to-do-with-an-extra-15-minutes. If you are going to read, be sure the book or magazine is there with you. If you're going to write a card, be sure you've already put a stamp on the envelope and the card is with you. If you're going to make client calls, make sure you have their information with you. And be sure to write down the notes to put into your CRM system when you return to the office.
3) Dream BIG! Usually people inherit their office space and systems (like filing, furniture, and other physical logistics). This is a time to design your ideal scene, imagine your most wonderful, comfortable, productive workspace ever! Make a list or draw how you’d like the ergonomics and design of your new space to be. Is the phone by the hand that answers it, or do you currently reach across your desk every time you hear the ring? Do you have to get up and walk across your office to file a single sheet of paper or can you swivel in your chair and get something into your system? It may sound silly, but these simple activities add up to hundreds of movements a day that can wear you out mentally and create piles of clutter. Create a space that allows you to work in a seamless, almost effortless way without any disorganization piling up around you.
- Key to implementation: Just get going! For now, resist the formality of goal setting and strategic planning (there is a time and a place for that). Grab a piece of paper, a few different colored pens, and start making a list. Working from the bottom of the page to the top, write down 15 to 30 things you wish your workspace had- or did- or looked like. Then, over the next couple of weeks, move toward that vision.
Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, and Jodi Womack, MA, founded their training firm to enhance organizational performance through maximizing time, energy, focus, and technology. www.WomackCompany.com.
To receive a copy of the Workplace Performance white paper, e-mail them today: info@WomackCompany.com.