Ihor Bauman, Founder & CEO at workee.
People’s perspectives and ideals of what a thriving professional should be have changed as a result of the pandemic. Fast-forward to two years later, and you find that many working professionals are still struggling with how to successfully navigate the “new” work paradigms (remote, hybrid, etc.). People have more divergent expectations of what a productive work day should be like than ever before.
The way I see it, we are all trying to adapt to the new realities of ongoing and growing businesses. In light of this, here are four tips that have helped me and my team maintain productivity during and after Covid-19.
1. List your priorities.
Prioritizing is always a good idea. It helps you find a rhythm in your work routine and prepare your mind for the day, week and month ahead.
It is important to have long, medium and short term goals. Make sure your team is aligned with management. Bill them, and make them accountable for their own goals. Everyone should feel valued and contribute to the whole process.
Instead of taking on more tasks than you can handle, divide them into fewer sections. For example, the 5/25 productivity rule means that you focus solely on less (five of your 25 business goals) to achieve more. This is a more efficient and realistic strategy than trying to manage many tasks at once. One of Warren Buffet’s iconic quotes is, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to practically everything.” Always make sure to set boundaries. If it’s not important, it can wait.
Prioritizing is not only limited to tasks, but can also extend to work tools. If you find that one tool can effectively handle most of your workflow, grab it; no additional tools are required. This saves you time, money and the chaos of constantly switching from one piece of equipment to another. It’s best to keep everything in one place that you can refer to if needed.
2. Burnout is real; take a break.
All the work and no play makes you a lot less productive. When you run a business, remember that you are running a marathon, not a sprint. Keep the team’s health in check to avoid burnout. Sometimes there are easy weeks, sometimes there are intense weeks. People need time to relax and recharge.
Here are a few ways to de-stress during the workday.
• Step outside and go for a walk. Extensive investigations have shown that spending time in a natural environment can reduce stress and improve mental health. It also aids concentration by resting and cleansing the mind.
• A short sleep. The Mayo Clinic has found that 10- to 20-minute naps are highly beneficial not only for relieving fatigue, but also for improving memory and alertness, relieving stress, and improving your mood. If your workplace does not have a wellness area, find a quiet place, such as an empty office or your car, where you can rest your eyes for about 10 minutes.
• Update your to-do list. A healthy to-do list is a combination of short (less than 30 minutes) versus long (up to two hours) tasks. If you feel like you’re stuck on a big task, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable step-by-step goals. You can also switch to a small and easy task. The mental victory of scratching something off your to-do list can help refresh your mind and perspective so you can go back and tackle the big tasks more easily.
3. Many hands make light work.
This popular saying emphasizes the importance of team communication to achieve goals. In other words: meeting. Yes, we’ve all seen the statistics and data associated with meetings and unproductiveness. At the same time, I have found that they are essential for encouraging collaboration, creativity and originality. Meetings are especially useful for teams because they allow members to more easily review and revise plans, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines. All these factors contribute positively to a higher output.
Here are a few ways to maximize meetings for your team.
• Limit meetings to 30 to 45 minutes and no more than five participants.
• It is better to have a few sessions and give people the opportunity to bring new ideas into each session rather than have one long conversation after which you all need an hour break.
• Invite only people who need to participate and who will contribute to the meeting.
• Take minutes of meetings and make clear action plans after each meeting.
Small and sometimes obvious things are often lost in companies. As a result, you lose traction. Keep in mind that meetings only increase productivity if they are well planned and only run when absolutely necessary.
4. Complicated work processes are old news.
Out with the old and in with the new! Complicated work processes reduce productivity and increase the chance of errors. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to simplify everything.
There are a number of software designed to balance teams and their workloads, such as Notion, Jira, and Miro, for scheduling and health checks. Using organizational systems to track weekly/bi-weekly sprints, estimates, and goals can help you keep your team’s performance at reasonable levels and control burnout. A healthy balance of the software you use is also important, so make sure that tools don’t overlap significantly. If one tool is only used by a few people on the entire team, it may not be necessary at all.
These productivity work tips are designed to be simple and straightforward to put into practice, and when implemented, they can help you perform under pressure in a startup environment and keep your engagement with remote teams at a high level.
Monitor your output to measure the effect of this strategy. Increasing productivity won’t happen instantly, but it is possible with consistent effort.