It’s a new year, you’re back to work, you’ve ploughed through your email inbox, and just about remembered what your job is. You’ve also made your new year’s resolutions, but how a few more to add to that list to make sure 2020 is the year that your career goes into overdrive? What you need is to eradicate some of those bad habits that may be holding your productivity back in 2019, and we’ve got some suggestions for you.
You’ve probably eased yourself back into work after the excesses of Christmas, but the time has come for you to sharpen up your act, particularly with those first 10 minutes of the working day. After all, as Michael Kerr, international business speaker, says, “The first 10 minutes can also set the tone and your attitude for the day — so you must start it off right, with a clean slate.”
So here’s the productivity mistakes you need to avoid in the first 10 minutes of your days from now on:
Drinking coffee between 8am and 10am
One of the best ways to waste time when you get to work is to immediately head off to the kitchen to make a coffee, if you haven’t brought in an overpriced, over-sugared hot beverage that you bought on your way in, that is. You might think that this coffee will be the thing that gets you ready to work, but it actually raises your stress levels because between 8am and 10am is when your cortisol levels are peaking.
Having too much in your head
Getting into work and planning ahead for the day’s tasks can be a good thing, but be careful not to overload your brain with too much information, which can make you feel like you’re in control, but you’re actually anything but.
Checking your emails
A major contributor to the issue above is reading all those horrifying emails that have filled up your inbox since you closed it down. So why not delay the pain and get on with some work first? It takes you 25 minutes to get back to maximum productivity after reading emails, so don’t waste this precious time.
Having a meeting
No prizes for guessing that meetings are a major productivity killer. Also, nobody likes a meeting first thing in the day, so why not block out ‘meeting free’ time at the start of every day to try and protect yourself from them?
Sitting at your desk to get on with your work might seem like the right thing to do, but standing can actually help you to gain more control and feel more powerful, so why not give it a go for the first 10 minutes or so of your day?
Being too far away from natural light
You need light first thing in the morning to help your mood, alertness and metabolism, so if you’re near a window, open the blinds each morning to let the light in. If you’re not that lucky and work nowhere near a window, get yourself a SAD lamp.
Setting yourself private deadlines
Deadlines are important to help you get your tasks done, but if you sit down at the start of the day and give yourself deadlines, you’d actually be better off sharing these deadlines with your team or manager, because this makes you more likely to actually achieve them.
Loading up a web browser
It’s only natural to settle into your working day by loading up Chrome and checking your personal emails, social media or reading the news (or, let’s face it, the celebrity gossip), right? Maybe, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Get yourself a browser blocker to stop this bad habit.
You might think you can do it all at once. You might think it’s the only way to get things done. But multitasking has been found to have a ‘significantly negative’ impact on your productivity, so get your tasks planned out sequentially.
James Ellaby is a trained journalist with over 15 years of experience writing about business, entertainment and technology.