If your go-to productivity booster is coffee, and then, more coffee (or tea, or those energy drinks) I have bad news for you. It turns out that caffeine is more a psychosomatic motivator than a real productivity booster (tell me it’s not true!). I’m not one to knock a delicious cup of coffee, but if it’s what you rely on to help you be more efficient, it may be time to up your productivity strategies.
Here are a few productivity essentials to use and myths to dispel once and for all.
Boost: Upgrade your communication, time tracking, and collaboration with 21st-century apps.
Email may get the job done, but it can also make you less productive. It’s tough (I’ve been there!) to keep track of all of your company’s different email messages and threads. Instant messaging apps help keep conversations organized and allow for file sharing/access.
A traditional time card only documents time. A time tracking app can capture time spent and measure the productivity of an activity—allowing you to go back and improve efficiency.
I’m not suggesting you substitute all in-person conversations with a collaboration app, but using an online project management tool will both promote and simplify teamwork.
Bust: The traditional to-do list.
Having one may keep you organized, but too often they’re ineffective. We tend to write down what needs to get accomplished, but don’t set deadlines and don’t make ourselves accountable.
Boost: Make time for self-care and for team activities outside of work.
According to the American Institute of Stress, “Occupational pressures and fears are the leading source of stress for American adults.” Stressed employees are unhealthy employees, and unhealthy employees are less productive.
In prior blogs, I’ve talked about how we incorporate fitness into our work routines, spend time volunteering and shared our team building activities. Each effort is a way we enhance relationships with customers and improve our skills. Another common thread is the team productivity benefit. I encourage my team to stay focused on their self-care, and at the same time, make sure that we, as a team, have opportunities to accomplish our goals in ways that are outside the usual pressure and stress at the office.
Bust: “Thriving” under pressure.
Think that you and your team will be more productive under pressure? You’re not alone, but you’re also mistaken, according to Harvard academic Dr. Heidi Gardner. We may believe that we “come out fighting” in tough situations and this pressure will inspire us to be more productive. But in fact, according to Dr. Gardner, when working in “crisis mode” we are less creative, less likely to collaborate, and more likely to produce average work rather than breakthroughs.
I know first-hand that happy, engaged employees are more efficient. When your efforts to boost productivity are truly focused on employee engagement, you’ll have more boosts than busts to your company’s culture and bottom line.