Are you making the most of your time at work? By making some minor adjustments to your schedule and habits, you could easily free up to 15 minutes a day and who doesn’t need just 15 extra minutes? Check out these ideas originally found on Productivity501.com.
1. If you have some leeway in your arrival/departure time, use it to minimize your commute. In most cities, shifting your workday by 30 or 15 minutes can cut your commute time in half.
2. Know which is faster – stairs or elevator. If you have less than 5 floors to climb, the stairs may be faster than the elevator. You may have to do some experimenting, but saving an extra minute or two can really add up in a week or even a year.
3. Don’t skip lunch. Skipping lunch is unlikely to save you any time. You need to take a break away from your work for at least 30 minutes. It is counter-productive to try to plow through your work in 8 hours straight. A break will help you to refocus and be productive for the remainder of the day.
4. Don’t wait on things. If your computer takes 4 minutes to boot. Find something else that you can do for 4 minutes like check your mailbox, straighten your desk, etc. You shouldn’t just sit there waiting for something. Always use that time for something you are going to have to do anyways.
5. Prepare for tomorrow. When you leave for the day, spend a few minutes preparing for the next day. Ask yourself, “what is on my mind right now that will save me time tomorrow?” You may want to write yourself a short note or leave a file out as a reminder.
6. Turn off email notifications. If you are required to check your email throughout the day, train yourself to check it between tasks and not everytime you hear a notification. Getting interrupted takes a lot longer to recover than you realize. You are better off spending 15 minutes to complete a task than 30 minutes because your concentration has been broken.
7. Don’t stay sitting down. Sitting at your desk or cubicle all day is not the best thing for your productivity. Getting up and walking around a little will help you get tasks done and think clearly. If you have tasks that take you away from your cubicle, use them strategically. Just standing at your desk while looking at email or a document will help.
8. Batch Tasks. Put tasks together that require the same level of concentration or same resources. For example, if you have four tasks that require complete concentration, do them when you are least likely to be interrupted or forward your phone until all four are complete. If you need to ask a colleage a question that isn’t pressing, wait until you have a couple of questions to ask at the same time.
9. Identify and eliminate bottlenecks. Try to remove obstacles that slow you down. For instance, if you are continually having to stop and ask you boss how to handle situations, make a chart of how you have handled situations in the past and ask if you can use that for routine situations. If your typing is slowing you down, get a copy of Mavis Beacon and practice at home everyday for 15-20 minutes. You will be typing for your whole life so improving that skill will save you time in the long run.
10. Understand your tools. Many of the applications you use daily have many more features than you will ever possibly learn. However, it is well worth the time to learn what they are capable of doing so that you can use new features as you need them.