12/12/2012 - 11:15

Better planning helps avoid year-end crunch

12/12/2012 - 11:15


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Everyone wins when staff are able to stay motivated until the Christmas break.

Better planning helps avoid year-end crunch

Everyone wins when staff are able to stay motivated until the Christmas break.

WITH Christmas just around the corner, it is expected that workplace productivity will drop by as much as 38 per cent as staff are distracted by shopping lists, hangovers and holiday planning.

Those who feel less productive claim to be spending almost 20 per cent of their time in work on unproductive activities.

 So, how do employees and managers successfully motivate themselves and staff to maintain productivity levels amid the festive hype?

People experience the festive season differently in the office. It’s important for employees to be clear on what they want to achieve, prioritise their time accordingly, and maintain focus despite daily distractions, to ensure their priorities are achieved successfully.

There are three types of workers at this time of year – ‘the stresser’, ‘the drowner’ and ‘the dreamer’.

The Stresser

You suddenly realise that the end of year is only a month away and you have no idea how you are going to meet all of your commitments.

Solution: Don’t stress, prioritise

We all want to do too much and our workload is always likely to be bigger than our capacity. So apply this simple logic:

Set goals. Outline two or three things you absolutely need to achieve before the end of the year, the things that will have a real impact long term on your performance.

Plan weekly. Every week, block one hour of your time, review your two to three key priorities and plan them in your diary for next week.

Act daily. Stick to this plan on a daily basis. There will be plenty of excuses not to. Be aware of these and disciplined enough to resist.

The Drowner

You feel as though you’ve accumulated a year’s worth of documents, emails and requests. Your email is at capacity and you’re drowning in what seems to be an endless supply of work.

Solution: Don’t drown, de-clutter (85 per cent of what we keep, we will never come back to again).

Purge your inbox. Delete all these emails you will never check. If you are scared to delete, create an archive folder and move most of the emails into it. If after three months you have not gone back into this folder, you know what to do ... delete them.

De-clutter your desk and hard files. If you have not used a document for a few months, bin it.

Reduce your task lists. You have to decide what you are not going to do. Only select the things that will have a real impact long-term on your performance.

The Dreamer

You stare at your screen, wishing the day away. Your productivity has dropped and you cannot wait to get out of the office for the long-awaited Christmas break.

Solution: Don’t dream, focus.

One of the key characteristics of high performers is focus. It is this ability to immerse yourself in what you are doing, whether at work or at home.        

Reduce interruptions. Make sure you minimise interruptions, whether they arise from your mobile phone, Facebook, personal emails or general noise.

Book meetings with yourself. Book time in your diary to focus on a specific task and do not allow any interruptions or distractions during that time.

Avoid distractions. While you are working on something important and think about something else to do, write it down to be actioned later. Do not get distracted.

Cyril Peupion has many years’ experience advising on workplace management strategies, and is managing partner of Primary Asset Consulting, www.primaryasset.com.au/ 


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