Have you ever noticed how much work you get accomplished in the days leading up to a vacation? Many of us work better under pressure, and there's nothing like a firm vacation deadline to get us motivated.
Apply that same mindset to your daily work routine by using these five tips to increase productivity.
Increase Productivity: Focus on Priorities
Just before vacation, we seem to develop amazing clarity about what is important and needs to be done and what is not. We're able to pare our to-do lists down to the absolute essentials.
View your daily to-do list through vacation-colored glasses and increase your productivity at work.
Ask yourself, "If I were leaving for vacation tomorrow, what are the three most important things I should accomplish today?" Then do those three things before you do anything else. Apply this technique consistently and you'll be amazed at how productive you'll become.
Increase Productivity: Limit Interruptions
When we're about to be out of the office for an extended period of time, we tend to have a low tolerance for people who drop by our offices simply to chat or for phone calls that lack a purpose.
We might even say, "I'd love to chat, but, I'm trying to get a few priorities completed before being on vacation next week."
Limit those same interruptions during normal work weeks and watch your productivity soar. Get in the habit of telling co-workers, "I'd love to chat, but I'm under some deadline pressures and really need to stay focused." You'll soon develop a reputation as someone who is focused, and over time fewer people will stop by your office without a specific reason.
Increase Productivity: Limit Meetings
Perhaps you've heard people say, "I could get more done if I didn't have so many meetings." You might have said that yourself recently.
The reality is that many meetings are either not necessary or last far too long. Maybe that's why we tend to cancel or reschedule meetings right before vacation. If a meeting can be canceled without any negative consequences, perhaps it shouldn't have been scheduled in the first place?
Take control of your meeting schedule by:
- Asking yourself: "What's the worst thing that could happen if we cancel and don't reschedule this meeting?" If nothing is the answer, cancel the meeting. There's no need to meet just for the sake of meeting.
- Scheduling a conference call instead - even if everyone is physically in your office that day. Conference calls tend to be shorter, more to the point and more efficient than meetings. You'll also save the time you typically spend pulling your materials together and walking to and from the meeting.
Increase Productivity: Ask for Help
For some reason, asking for help is difficult for many of us. Delegating doesn't come naturally; we typically need some motivation. There's nothing more motivating than an upcoming vacation to turn us into delegating machines.
Keep up the trend when you return from vacation and increase productivity.
As you start each task, ask yourself, "Is there anyone else who could or should do this instead of me?" If the answer is yes, delegate it. It will take some focused effort, but once delegating becomes a habit, you'll amazed at how much you get done each day.
Increase Productivity: Change Email Settings and Your Voice Mail Message
Many of us change our voice mail message and create an email responder to notify others that we are out of the office and unable to access emails and voice mails. The messages typically indicate how long we'll be out of the office and when the person should anticipate getting a response from us.
Consider doing something similar when you have a lot you're trying to get accomplished. Change your messages to say, "Please note that I will have limited access to email and voice mail today. I will respond to your message no later than the end of the day tomorrow."
Since no one will be expecting to hear from you today, you can use the day to focus on a special project or other important tasks.
Take one day per week and treat it as if you're leaving for vacation the very next day. Apply one or more of these five suggestions and get more done. Who knew vacations could increase productivity at work?