Many of us spend a large majority of our days on back-to-back calls leaving little wiggle-room for productive activities. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day that you just don’t have the time or headspace to review how you are spending your time. How much of your time is really adding value? Having call after call is unhealthy and non-productive and we need to instead shift our focus on ‘value-adding’, customer-centric activities.
What do we mean by value-adding?
These are the activities that you do that actually add value to your customers, both internally and externally.
The first step, of course, is to define what they deem as ‘value’. Once that’s well-understood, adjust your schedules and shift your attention to focus on ways to increase the value you deliver. For example, spending time working on your product or service to increase the quality or timeliness of delivery for your customers.
We only have so many hours in the day so we need to make sure we are using them wisely. Taking a step back and making time to review how we are spending this time can really help towards a leaner and more productive outcome.
Here at CI Projects, we believe strongly in an output-driven, results-oriented approach. Within our own team, we evaluate performance based on results and impact, not on hours spent sat in-front of the laptop screen. We take time to understand what ‘value’ means for our customers and continually reflect on how we are spending our time to ensure we are aligning our activities accordingly. Our team are empowered to question tasks if they feel they’re non-value adding, and this enables everyone to take a step back and see the ‘bigger picture’. We promote an output-driven culture by placing our customers at the heart of everything we do, creating a more efficient, productive and purpose-driven workforce.
Today is Leave The Office Earlier Day which highlights the importance of flexible working hours and making a conscious effort to increase efficiency and productivity. More work done in less time is hugely beneficial to businesses and leads to much better co-operations between employees and their bosses. This got us thinking about productivity and some tips we could share to help you make the most out of every day…
- Take Regular Breaks
This can really help to improve concentration, creativity and memory. Research has shown taking short breaks whilst working on long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance.
- Say No to Meetings
Meetings can take up a huge chunk of time during your day, so to gain some more time back, when a meeting pops up, ask yourself if you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email or phone instead. If you are organising meetings, try to limit the amount of time you are scheduling them for and keep them as succinct as possible. Not all meetings need to be booked in 1 hour slots; sometimes 15 minutes is sufficient. It is also worth scheduling ‘focus blocks’ into your diary where you can focus on value-adding activities without the risk of others filling up your diary with meetings.
- Plan Your Day
Creating a to-do list before you start work or even the day before can be really beneficial to your productivity, as you already know what needs to be done in a day. Try to keep your to-do list realistic and simple as cramming numerous items on your list will leave you feeling overwhelmed. When writing your to-do list, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the tasks ahead and question whether those activities are really adding value and who they’re adding value to. If you can’t answer those questions, does it really need to be done?
- Be Proactive, not Reactive
Set time aside to answer emails in your day but try not to let them determine how your day will look. Once you have planned your day, stick to it and don’t let emails deviate you. The act of sending an email is instantaneous, but that does not mean you have to respond immediately. Remember than emailing is just one of many forms of communication. If it is urgent, someone will call you.
- Give Yourself Deadlines
Having a manageable level of self-imposed stress can be helpful to give you a focus and help to meet goals, but make sure you’re being realistic about what you can achieve. If you have an open-ended task or project, give yourself a deadline and stick to it.
- Track Your Time
Use a tracking tool so you know exactly how much time you are spending on daily tasks can be useful as a short-term tactic – you might be surprised to find that small non-value tasks could be taking-up a lot more of your day than you first thought!
- Set Boundaries
Making small adjustments in the way we approach our work can hugely improve the results of our work. Longer work hours do not necessarily equate to more or better work outputs, but they can lead to fatigue and burnout. Don’t overload yourself to the point where you have to extend your workday beyond business hours. Know your limits, set your boundaries and stick to them.
We hope some of these tips can help you to re-align and review how you are spending your work day and hopefully even give you some time back to work on those value-adding activities!