‘Work smarter, not longer.’
This is the attitude more and more employers are adopting as flexible and part-time working becomes increasingly normalised by businesses. There are only so many hours in the day – to avoid taking work home with you, it’s important to be productive in the time you have. In a world of short attention spans and incessant distractions, however, that can be difficult. Here are 10 small ways you can increase your productivity at work and better attain that mythical work/life balance.
1. Document Your Time
Humans’ awareness of time is historically warped. In very few scenarios can we accurately estimate how much time has passed, with our perception able to be distorted by factors such as temperature, season, time of day or emotional state. It’s therefore a great idea to document how much time a day you actually spend on completing certain tasks. Having an objectively clear picture of how your day tends to be spread out will help you better structure your time in the future.
2. Set Deadlines
Now you know where your time is going, try limiting the amount of time you spend on one task. ‘Perfection is the enemy of good,’ so they say. You can always return to an activity and polish it up later. In the meantime, however, it’s a good idea to keep up momentum and move onto a new task when you can – you may be surprised at how much you can achieve if you’re strict with yourself!
3. Hold Standing Meetings
This one may not be for everyone, but the results behind it are interesting. It’s been suggested by research that standing meetings (literally meetings where everyone is standing) are more time efficient and productive. Without seats or tables, there tends to be less territoriality and increased group collaboration, not to mention quicker meeting times. One study found their average meeting length was reduced by 25% when participants were standing throughout.
4. Act, Don’t React
It’s easy to let your day be dictated by phone calls and emails, putting out fires with every response. While this reactionary attitude is a great way to simply ‘cope’, it stops you making headway of your own with projects that require you to be proactive in how you handle them. While it’s difficult to ignore a pop-up notification or a blaring ring tone, carving out time in your schedule when everybody knows not to disturb you, or turn your notifications off.
Many busy leaders tend to believe it’s quicker to complete a task themselves (and definitely get it right first time) rather than explain the task to a co-worker and have them complete it (maybe not quite right first time). This can result in complete overwork on the part of the leader, and perhaps an unhealthy environment of mistrust or micromanagement in the workspace. Instead, consider assigning tasks to colleagues based on their strengths, and take the time to explain to them clearly what exactly you’re looking for from them. You might be pleasantly surprised when they do it as well, or better, than you could!
6. Stay Healthy
One of the most effective ways to increase your productivity is to keep your brain in top shape. Some things you can do to maintain energy levels and sharp thinking are:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Stay hydrated
- Keep healthy, nutritious snacks in your desk drawer
- Exercise regularly, particularly in your breaks
- Take a full lunch break
- Don’t take work home with you when you can avoid it
Taking breaks to improve productivity sounds somewhat counterintuitive. However, scientists have suggested that taking regular mental rests from work actually makes us more productive in the long run. As University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras elaborates:
“Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused…From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”
Why not give it a go? Try working in 90-segments with a 10-minute break between each. Really disconnect from your desk during this time – take a walk, get some fresh air. When you return to the problem at hand, you’ll be forced to think about it globally rather than specifically for a few minutes, perhaps enabling you to see solutions and perspectives previously hidden from you.
8. Avoid Multi-tasking
When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. However, studies have consistently suggested that we are most productive when we set our minds to one job at a time. While you might feel you are getting more done while multi-tasking, in reality you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus.
9. Try Listening to Music
Research suggests that certain types of music at the right time can really boost productivity. There is disagreement as to why exactly this is – some credit the boost in mood, some claim it is the ability to drown out office chatter. Regardless, music can be really useful in helping workers eliminate distractions and power through a task, particularly repetitive ones.
Instrumental music is particularly praised as a focus-tool. The lack of lyrics means it’s hard for you to get distracted by words and meanings, enabling you to dedicate 100% of your concentration to your work. Similarly, the soothing effects of classical musical can help alleviate stress, helping you be more productive.
We all have most productive hours. If you’ve followed our first tip and documented how you spend your work time, you should know what hours those are for you. Therefore, it’s only logical that you should assign yourself your most difficult tasks, and the priorities, in those ultra-productive windows. That way, a task that would otherwise take you an entire morning could theoretically only consume half an afternoon, if that’s how you work.
As most workers grow increasingly unproductive throughout the day, it makes sense to reserve the easiest tasks for the afternoon. You won’t have to channel the same level of energy into these tasks, while also ticking items off your list.
These are just 10 ways you can increase productivity in the workplace. While these are useful tips you can enact in your everyday working life, it’s important to remember that productivity is primarily a state of mind. If you love your job and find your daily workload rewarding, you’ll likely be considerably more productive than someone who does not. If you’re struggling to maintain productivity across the working week, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and assess whether this position is really the right one for you, or perhaps consider that you are suffering from Burnout (just this week classified as a diagnosable illness by WHO).
Posted by Susannah Hunt on 16 July 2019
Six Benefits of Working Over the Christmas Period
Six Benefits of Working Over the Christmas Period
No annual leave left? Or maybe the high demand in work has meant you’ve been requested to come in? Don’t worry, whatever the reason there are some benefits to working over the Christmas period. Getting Ahead of Work The best part of being one of the few people working this time of year is that you will have the peace and quiet you need to get things done. Catch up on work and get a head start on work for the new year. With the phone not ringing constantly and emails not flooding your inbox, it’s an opportunity to get some headspace to really get ahead of your workload. Getting a Seat on Public Transport For anyone who commutes to work this will really feel like a Christmas miracle. Having your own seat and maybe even a seat for your coat and bag is a really nice perk to working this time of year. Avoid Unappealing Christmas Parties This time of year brings a lot of nights out and they’re not always nights out you’re in favour of. Working gives you the perfect excuse to turn down any unwanted invitations for a Christmas session. Although, if you do want to go, working shouldn’t stop you. Just pace yourself and be sure to stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Christmas Organised If you’re working over Christmas chances are you’ve known about it for a couple weeks or even months, so you’ll be organised well in advance. It’s a great feeling coming up to Christmas knowing you won’t be part of the mad Christmas Eve rush to buy last minute presents. Being Recognised as a Team Player Maybe you were asked to work over Christmas because of workload or because of staff demand. Accepting you have to work and coming in with a smile, will go a long way with your supervisors and colleagues. It might be fun! It’s Christmas and everything this time of year is joyful! Take the time to treat yourself and indulge. Get that Christmas latte or treat yourself to a fancy lunch or a delivery to the office. Whether you will be working or not, Sigmar Recruitment would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and every success in 2020.
Lessons Halloween Can Teach a Job Seeker
Lessons Halloween Can Teach a Job Seeker
Because it’s Halloween we thought we would have a little fun and come up with 5 ways job seekers can learn from this festive season and apply it to their job search. Carve Out a Plan Approach your job search like carving out a pumpkin at Halloween. You need to carve out your plan before you can start applying for jobs. This is the time that you decide exactly what you want to do, the type of company you want to work for, the type of salary you are looking for etc. Once you know what you want, it’s time to get your CV together. Job seekers need to be specific in their applications, so having a plan will definitely improve your application. You can’t just apply for batch of jobs and hope for the best. Know what you want and demonstrate your interest in your application. A hiring manager can always tell when someone applied without any real interest or plan in place. Do Things That Scare You Halloween is a time where we enjoy being scared and job seekers should use this same approach. Looking for a new job is an opportunity to come out of your comfort zone and try something new and that can be scary. Maybe you would like a career change, or work in a new location or just work in a completely different type of company? As a job seeker you have the ability to push yourself to new boundaries so don’t be afraid to be afraid. Sometimes a little fear is a good thing. Trick or Treat Job seeking is kind of like trick or treating. We’re not saying you should trick anyone who doesn’t give you a job but remind yourself of the concept. Don’t be afraid to knock on a few doors to ask for what you want. Kids look for sweets on Halloween and they’re not afraid to ask for it. You should approach your job search like this. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask people for what you’re looking for. Contact some old colleagues or college friends and see if they know of any opportunities. You could even approach HR managers directly on LinkedIn and ask if there are any available positions. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Be Inspired and Have Some Fun! Looking for a new job is not all doom and gloom. Halloween is a great time for creativity and so is job seeking! Get excited about your new venture and explore different options and be inspired by other people working in your field. This is a time for you to shoot for the stars. It may seem scary at first but when you start seeing available jobs that match what you’re looking for and jobs that you match the criteria for, it’s starts to get really exciting! Enjoy it. Enjoy finding new opportunities and discovering what your options are. We hope you take something from these tops this Halloween and Sigmar would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Halloween.
Benefits of Using a Recruitment Agency
Benefits of Using a Recruitment Agency
What is the best job to apply for? Do I have the right experience? Is my CV presentable? How do I prepare for this interview? Job seeking can be daunting and it can be very hard to answer all these questions yourself. The natural inclination for many is to look at job hunting as a numbers game and send your CV to as many companies and vacancies as possible. Surely, by the law of averages, you will get in somewhere, right? This approach is outdated and will extend your job-hunt time significantly while putting you in danger of missing out on that perfect job. Using a reputable recruitment agency offers you dedicated professional assistance to guide you through the process from start to finish while offering a wide variety of benefits; CV Help Recruiters invest their time in you and your CV. Your CV is your first opportunity to make an impression with the decision makers in the company you are applying to. Therefore, it is important to go through it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure your skills and experience are a match to the specific job requirements. Recruiters are well-versed at teasing out relevant information that may correlate to the specific job specifications from your employment history. You will then be advised on how to make your CV stand out from the others, with the aim of securing an interview with your desired company. Relationship with the Company and the Hiring Managers Sigmar Recruitment has established long-standing relationships with large multinationals, SME’s and start-ups across a variety of industries. Our recruiters have a direct line to the HR departments and decision makers in the companies that we hire for. We know when the jobs are coming up, what they are looking for both in terms of specific job requirements and cultural fit. Through liaising with hiring managers, our recruiters are able to ascertain the real requirements for the job, exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. Navigating Recruitment Management Systems Direct applications are becoming a thing of the past. If you have applied direct to a company, we cannot represent you for that company for a period of 6-12 months, under their Recruitment Management Restrictions. This means that an application that you haven’t put any thought into can hold you back from applying to your dream company for several months. Further to this, it is important to note that an application isn’t role specific and Recruitment Management Restrictions could apply even if you simply create a profile on a company website and don’t necessarily apply to any jobs. If you see a role advertised that is of interest – Contact your dedicated Sigmar Recruitment Consultant to see about them submitting an application on your behalf! Feedback A recruiter can provide you with timely feedback at every stage of the process, offering both formal and informal feedback. On the contrary, a direct application can often result in frustration whereby you, being any one of a hundred applicants on that day, apply directly and hear nothing back. Recruiters have a direct line of contact to the hiring manager expediting the process. Recruiters can also forward on your thoughts on the business and interview panellists after the interview, which may be able to put you in an even better light. Interview preparation So, the recruiter has submitted your (now amazing) CV to your dream company, and you have secured an interview… Now what? You will be provided with extensive interview preparation to ensure that you will be fully prepared to wow the interviewer. Over a coffee or a brief meeting at a time that suits you, you will go through mock interviews, be provided with insights on what the companies are looking for, what type of questions they ask and offered guidance on how best to answer them. You will walk into the interview confident and ready to knock ‘em dead! Negotiate on your behalf Negotiating salary and benefits can be unnerving, so why not leave it to the experts? Recruiters spend five days a week negotiating terms, conditions, salaries and rates. Recruiters are well-versed, they know what to ask, how to ask and what is attainable. It’s Free The service that recruitment agencies provide for the candidate is free of charge. The company that hires you will be charged a fee when you start working but this will in not affect you in any respect. If you are looking to move jobs or simply want to see what’s out there contact get in touch with us by email or call. If you are coming from a different background/industry/location pop onto our website: www.sigmarrecruitment.com and reach out to any of our dedicated Recruitment Consultants.
Doing These 10 Things will make you the Best Boss in the World – According to Google
Doing These 10 Things will make you the Best Boss in the World – According to Google
Today, 16th October is officially known as Boss’s Day. It’s a significant day considering we all have a boss or we are a boss, but what we want to know is makes a great one? You can go to great lengths to hire the best team but without a great manager the team will ultimately fail. Google is acutely aware of this, so for the last 10 years they conducted extensive research on this topic under the code name Project Oxygen. The goal? Figure out what makes the perfect manager, so companies like Google could train its leaders to be the best in the worlds. The research has paid off, as over the years Google has seen improvement in employee turnover, satisfaction, and performance. Want to know what make the perfect boss? It all comes down to these 10 behaviours… 1. A Good Coach A great boss allows their employees to solve their own problems. Rather than doing everything themselves, they teach others to do the work so they can be responsible for their own tasks. Taking the time to teach staff and encouraging them to upskill makes for a more empowered staff. A great boss allows their employees grow and guides them as much as they can. 2. Empowers Team and Does Not Micromanage Giving staff the freedom to do their job is key to being a great boss. Employees need to be trusted in order for them to succeed. Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer of NASA is an advocate for this. During Robert Gibbs keynote at Talent Summit he explained how NASA’s raison d'être boils down to the flourishment of human kind, giving NASA the ultimate competitive advantage. Robert believes in “the power of presuming positive intent”. Belief goes a long way and sometimes to get the best out of people the best thing a boss can do is to just believe in them. 3. Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-Being Putting emphasis on building social capital in the workplace is a trait of a great boss. Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer and keynote speaker who understands that social capital takes time, focus and energy, but if the ingredients are right, can bind human capital to achieve success beyond measure. A great boss will know that loyalty, friendship and comradery in the workplace create a shared commitment to success, something we may struggle to replicate in the gig economy. In short, being trusting and trustworthy is the basis of creating a just work culture that inspires success. 4. Is Productive and Results-Oriented The best type of boss will motivate and inspire their team purely by just working hard at their job. If a manager is lazy and their team doesn’t really see them doing much it really just encourages the staff to do the same. Having a boss who is not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to any given task is the type of leader that inspires their staff. 5. Is A Good Communicator — Listens and Shares Information A great boss shares information from their staff. Having a transparent boss means staff learn more and are encouraged to be transparent themselves. A great boss is a good communicator but an even better listener. 6. Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance A great boss will always encourage their staff to develop, praise them when they do well and constructively criticise when it’s needed. Sir Ken Robinson is a believer in the importance of a culture that gives us the opportunity to engage in creativity and how creativity should be encouraged in our businesses. Humans are born with endless capacities but they need to be adapted in order to become abilities. Sir Ken uses a clever anecdote about learning to play guitar to explain his theory. We are all born with the capacity to play guitar, but we don’t have the ability until we learn to play the instrument. We need to open up our employees to new opportunities to learn and adapt skills and unlock talents they didn’t even know they had. Criticism is also very valuable to employees. A great boss will always praise their staff on doing a good job but will have the capacity to explain in a constructive way when work isn’t at it’s highest standard. This kind of behaviour encourages learning and development which is a key behaviour of a great boss. 7. Has A Clear Vision/Strategy For The Team A great boss had a plan. They know where their team is, where they are headed and what is needed to reach their end goals. A great boss needs to be catalyst for the team/companies vision. When the team loses motivation or drive, the boss needs to be there to remind everyone of the strategy and keep things in motion. 8. Has Key Technical Skills to Help Advise the Team Understanding every staff member’s job is crucial to being a great boss. A great boss will appreciate the work that goes into completing tasks and is on hand with useful advice when needed. If a boss has unrealistic expectations because he/she doesn’t understand their staffs role, employees will only ever feel like they are underdelivering and when they need advice they feel their boss doesn’t quite understand the problems at hand. A boss who has the technical skills will welcome their staff seeking guidance. 9. Collaborates Across Effectively A great manager always sees the big picture. They work for the good of the company as a whole and encourage their teams to do the same. A great leader will promote camaraderie and integration and encourage everyone to come together and work on goals that benefit the company as a whole. 10. Is A Strong Decision Maker A great boss is decisive and not impulsive. They are confident in their knowledge and make decisions that they stick to. Being a leader means being brave in your actions to lead and guide others. You need to be courageousness to lead beyond the odds, stick to your decisions to be a great boss. Google have really hit the nail on the head with these behaviours. If you can promote these behaviours and train your leaders using these 10 points from Google, you’ll build teams that will trust and inspire one another to achieve success beyond measure.