Do you waste time at work? A finding published by Microsoft found that people have a shorter attention span than goldfish, at an average of 8 seconds. Some days, it feels even shorter than that.
Many attribute this to the rise of smartphones. Now people are more conscious of their apparent attention deficit, with many looking to anti distraction apps and task managers to help them better manage their time at work.
From gamified productivity apps to Apple’s recent screen time function, people’s struggle to stay focused is ever so apparent. But what are some more practical ways of time management to help you be more efficient at work?
An attempt of using gamification towards the modern epidemic of attention deficit among smartphone users. Source: Forest app
New Studies on Ways to Reboot Your Brain
While some of us are obsessing over ways to concentrate for longer periods of time, a study conducted on surgeons found that mini breaks was actually the way to go.
A 2017 study found that surgeons showed improved performance in surgery and eased pain in joints when they took short breaks every 20 to 40 minutes to stretch. In fact the benefits of mini breaks isn’t a new thing, scientists have been studying the benefits of mini breaks for decades now.
There’s now ample evidence documenting on the benefits of mini breaks, from reducing stress and keeping people engaged at work to helping people enjoy their work more. In fact, it’s the thing that helps us cope with long periods at our desks, rebooting our brains. How can you take advantage of this?
The key is, these mini breaks should not take more than 12% of the day, otherwise they may become distracting. In fact, we’ve included at the end of this article a list of suggestions Stanford University makes regarding short breaks (the last one was a surprise even for us!).
Become a Task Killer with this Prioritization Method
We always strive to do more with what little we have. The problem is, as your role expands, there will come a point where “doing everything” is no longer an option. This is where many middle managers struggle, often falling into the trap of becoming a micromanager.
Want to learn how to prioritise your work and manage your time more efficiently? Here’s an easy way to prioritise your work to help you work more efficiently.
Similar to what you would do with a SWOT diagram, you can separate your work into four distinct categories, do, plan, delegate, and eliminate. By looking at the urgency and importance of any given task, you can easily prioritise your work, helping you better manage your time. Here’s what it would look like.
Bottom line is, you want to do what reaps the most returns. Instead of wasting your time on things that could otherwise be outsourced or delegated to someone else, you’ll find that it’d be much better spent on things that demonstrate your value in your role.
Have a work plan that helps you concentrate on the most important matters, showcasing your ability at work. Want to learn more ways of tackling your work? Here’s how.
Power through your work
Have a big task in front of you? Break it down and tackle it in steps. Don’t try to take on a mammoth of a project. Instead, allow yourself to power through heavy tasks more efficiently by working in a series of sprints.
Build work momentum
Don’t drag out your projects by trying to multitask. If possible, give each task your full attention and build momentum by completing each one by one, taking mini breaks in between. Here’s some suggestions on short breaks by Stanford University:
- Positioning the printer to a spot that required you to get up out of your chair
- Stand up when taking phone calls
- Taking bathroom and water breaks
- Break up continuous computer time by checking phone messages, reading reports, etc.
Prioritize - you don’t need to attend to everything
There’s no prize for the guy who sort of does everything. People are generally way more impressed by the person that manages to blow the heaviest tasks out of the water. Big corporations does this by delegating their work, you can too.
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