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10 Things You’ll Never Find In A Productive Office

10 Things You’ll Never Find In A Productive Office
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To ensure that work is completed, deadlines are met and workflow is steady throughout an office, employees must be productive. There was a time when this meant employees should work at full capacity constantly and that they must prioritise their tasks above all other responsibilities.

Fortunately, this is swiftly becoming an outdated idea. Today, many bosses are encouraging their members of staff to be creative, sociable and happy as well as proactive, accurate and productive. These new work environments that avoid an uninviting, bureaucratic setting or situations where employees feel overwhelmed often result in a significantly more productive atmosphere!

To ensure your office is a constructive and dynamic workplace, check out these 10 things you’d never find in a productive office:

1. They Avoid Progression

As I mentioned above: times are changing. Employees can no longer be viewed from a head office as stock-humans that must dedicate all of their attention to work between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

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For productivity to flow, trust to build and overall employee happiness to flourish, you must encourage it. By following these steps you can begin to evolve, progress and improve.

2. Leaders Set Unclear Expectations

When it comes to working with others, be it in an office or everyday life, it’s important to remember that your group is not comprised of psychic super beings. If you are unclear about your expectations your team will have no real idea of what they’re supposed to be achieving.

Be sure to set clear, attainable goals for both the team and the individuals within it. Be accommodating to each individual and make sure you are fully understood by all before sending them on their way.

3. Nobody Plans Ahead

It’s far easier to plan ahead than to regret a project’s flaws in hindsight. Worse still, trying to work out a plan whilst in the middle of a task can completely drain your productive energy and focus.

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Make sure you construct a few guidelines and goals before beginning an assignment and you’ll have it done in no time.

4. Delegating Is Discouraged

Have you ever wondered why potential employers always want to know whether you work well in a team? Well one of the reasons could be because they expect you to delegate work to increase productivity. Each individual in an office has different skills that are better suited to different tasks, so it makes sense to assign tasks to those best suited instead of becoming overwhelmed and disheartened.

5. Multitasking Is Encouraged

Whilst delegating is a great idea, multitasking isn’t. Switching and sharing your attention between tasks may mean you get more done, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a satisfactory level of quality. Focus all of your attention on one task and your dedication will show though.

6. There Are Interruptions And Distractions

Whilst were on the topic of focus: nothing is more detrimental than being constantly interrupted or distracted. Whilst you’re working, close your email and other tabs to ensure you are 100% disruption free. If it’s an employee or manager that’s causing the interruptions, it may be time to hold an interruption intervention.

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7. Breaks Are Few And Far Between

If you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show set in an office then you’ll know those who have breaks around the water cooler are often seen as slackers. Meanwhile, those who skip their breaks are depicted as productivity champions who are more dedicated to their work than their social lives. This could not be more wrong!

Breaks are a fantastic way to allow employees to decompress their brains, relax, get their thought juices flowing and most importantly: enjoy work. Walk around, grab a coffee, go on social media or call someone: these are not time wasters! When you return to your work, close your tabs and put your phone away you’ll feel refreshed and ready for another focused, productive few hours.

8. Games Are Forbidden

Speaking of breaks: what could be more fun than a game of pool or ping-pong? Games areas are becoming more and more popular in work environments, particularly in the tech industry and in start-ups. Allowing games into your office will encourage bonding, develop team dynamics, relieve stress and advance activity.

9. Working From Home Is Not An Option

Another idea that’s becoming more popular is telecommuting. Many employers believe working from home will lead to a decline in productivity, when really many employees will work harder in order to disprove these misconceptions and maintain the privilege.

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Working from home has never been easier, with new video conferencing apps, chat tools and task sites being developed almost every day.

10. No Flexible Work Times

For decades now, a 9 to 5 day has been the usual and for most this just isn’t beneficial. Modern life and workloads can be unpredictable, meaning some people may need to come in earlier or work later into the day. To accommodate this, try trusting your employees with their working hours. For example, if somebody stays late on an evening, why not allow them to come in later the next morning.

Featured photo credit: Workspace Desk from Above via picjumbo.com

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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