Encouraging employees to boost their productivity is a huge point of focus for most companies, and it’s not just about the bottom line anymore. When your employees can optimize their work processes, projects get done faster and with much less stress. Employee burnout is real, and focusing on organization and productivity can offset burnout and lead to happier employees.
Optimizing work productivity is a very personal process, but you can help your team find what works best for them. There will be diverse opinions about the productivity methods below. The system that makes one employee light up with ideas might make another shudder. That said, everyone needs one thing before trying to overhaul their productivity — organization.
Build your productivity method on a foundation of organization
All the tried-and-true productivity systems below will work better if everything you need to do your work is organized and easily accessible.
Businesses run on data. For most employees, that means their work heavily involves reviewing, editing, or sharing files among colleagues or clients.
If your company has its file storage and sharing needs in tip-top shape, your employees are already primed for success. Share the popular methods below with your team to inspire them to take their productivity to the next level.
If your company’s files are difficult to find or share, your team wastes time every day (while becoming increasingly stressed out) trying to navigate these unnecessary obstacles. No productivity method can overcome disorganized information, so it’s important to address this before trying different productivity methods with your team.
Onehub’s robust business software can take the headache out of file organization and sharing. Our virtual Workspaces are intuitive to use and protect your data with secure file sharing. Addressing organization, the first building block of productivity, will pay huge dividends as your team steadily improves their performance. Try Onehub for free for 14 days!
Four effective productivity methods
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique has been around since the 1990s. It’s a widely used productivity method that focuses on short bursts of work followed by brief breaks.
The traditional breakdown is 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break. This is considered one “Pomodoro.” You rinse and repeat until you’ve done four Pomodoros, and then you take a longer break, typically about 30 minutes.
The keys to making this technique successful are to actually set a timer, and during those 25, minutes only work on one task. Timing yourself creates a sense of urgency that keeps you focused and allows you to get more done in less time.
This method helps you maintain focus while keeping you feeling fresh and recharged with the frequent breaks. It’s also a great reminder to get up and move around, so it encourages healthier work practices.
Onehub’s Google Drive and Microsoft 365 integrations work perfectly with this technique. If you alternate tasks with each Pomodoro, you can keep your work within the platform and know that your files will be saved and ready to go when it’s time to switch back.
Best for: Repetitive work.
This method is excellent for people whose work can be easily adapted to short bursts of activity. Updating spreadsheets, making sales calls, and processing customer orders are all examples of the sort of work that could benefit from the Pomodoro Technique.
Not for: Creative professionals.
People with creative jobs such as graphic designers or copywriters might find this technique too disruptive. When you’re in the zone, you want to keep that inspiration going, and frequent breaks can derail creative efforts.
Biological Prime Time
The Biological Prime Time method is all about catering to your natural rhythms to increase your productivity.
The original system involves a dedicated three-week period in which you track your energy level every hour. During this testing phase, you cut out all coffee, soda, and alcohol. These affect your performance, and the goal is to find your natural highs and lows throughout the day. Once you’ve collected your data, you create a chart to identify your peak times for productivity and focus.
There’s also a less scientific way to do this — go with what you know. Most people already know if they’re morning people or if they feel more energized in the afternoon. They just aren’t taking advantage of that knowledge yet.
Whether you do the full three-week tracking period or you go with what you know, the goal is to schedule tasks in a way that aligns with your natural peak performance times.
For example, if you feel more energized and focused in the morning, prioritize your to-do list in a way that lets you get the most difficult tasks done early. You want to schedule simple tasks such as filing paperwork or checking emails during your off-peak hours. You can also use your periods of low energy to take a break from your work.
Cloud technology makes it easier than ever to work according to your biological schedule. The cloud allows you to work from anywhere at any time, giving you the flexibility to work when you’re at your best.
Best for: Adaptable to everyone.
The original method for identifying your Biological Prime Time may be daunting for many people, but everyone can benefit from customizing their schedule to their natural energy highs and lows. If cutting out caffeine and spending three weeks tracking your energy every hour is out of the question, you can still benefit from this system. Just use the “go with what you know” method.
Eat the Frog
Eat the Frog is a popular productivity method that focuses on doing the most daunting task on your list first.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most challenging or time-intensive task. The “frog” is whatever task you’re dreading the most — the one you see on your to-do list and can’t help but groan. It could be something as simple as replying to an email or as complicated as planning a website redesign.
We often put off tasks we’re dreading, but this just gives us time to stress out and kvetch about them. When you eat the frog, you save yourself time and stress. Once you’ve checked off the annoying to-do item, the rest of your list will seem easy breezy.
Start your day by creating your to-do list in Onehub using the tasks feature. Start with your frog, and then check your tasks tab to review the rest of your to-do items. Onehub will keep your tasks organized and easy to review throughout the day.
Best for: People who get derailed by stressful tasks.
This method is best for people who tend to let the stress of one task build up too much and affect their whole day. Once you eat the frog, you can face the rest of your schedule with a clear head.
Not for: Employees on deadlines.
If you’re often working on tight deadlines, your first task should be to complete that work even if it isn’t the froggiest item on your to-do list.
Yes, there is a productivity method based on procrastination.
Procrastination has always had a bad reputation, but some psychology researchers have found a new way to look at it. They argue that there are two forms of procrastination, active and passive.
Passive procrastination is when someone puts off a task because they find it too overwhelming or are frozen with indecision. This passive form of procrastination is what leads to negative effects such as anxiety and missed deadlines.
Active procrastination is a conscious decision to put off doing a task to create a higher level of pressure around it. For people who are wired to respond well to pressure, this method can improve their creativity and focus.
When it’s finally time to get down to business, you need to be able to take off at a sprint. Make sure the files and tools you need are easy to access. Onehub keeps all your relevant files, tasks, and messages handy in your Workspace, and the Google Drive and Microsoft 365 integrations mean you can preview, edit, share, and save documents without leaving the platform. Every minute counts when you actively procrastinate!
Best for: People who do their best work under pressure.
People who have a history of working well under pressure might find this method ingenious. If a looming deadline is what gets your gears turning, you can use that to your advantage by strategically delaying certain tasks.
Not for: People who get stressed under pressure.
Active Procrastination has a narrower target audience than any other methods on this list. It only works for people who thrive under pressure. If your mind goes blank when faced with a high-pressure deadline, this isn’t the system for you.
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