Urgent or important? How to be more productive at work

#business #employment #health

Northern European countries are amongst the most productive in world. A few simple work habits can save us lots of time every day.

Workers at Iberdrola Tower.#RRSSWorkers at Iberdrola Tower.

According to a study by Job and Talent, countries such as the Netherlands, Germany or Sweden, with workdays of 35 hours or even less, rank by far amongst the most productive in the world. A University of Melbourne study in 2016 on people aged over 40 demonstrated that cognitive abilities actually improve with shorter working days. Sweden is another noteworthy example, where the two-year experiment (2015-2016) on a six-hour working day had groundbreaking results: workers enjoyed better health with a drastic decrease in the number of leaves and absences.

An adequate working day in fact promotes productivity and well-being, while also favouring the reconciliation between work and family life.

 Iberdrola and a healthy work-life balance

However, productivity can also be improved by adopting certain guidelines and habits in the day-to-day routines of any office. Here you have the seven most effective:

  1. Plan your day
    Set meetings and tasks into your calendar, allocating times to all of them.
  2. The 80/20 Rule
    Focus on the important more than the urgent: prioritise this 20% of the work that contributes to 80% of the results.
  3. Check your e-mails
    According to the consultancy McKinsey, we spend 28% of our time managing e-mails. Important: define the subject of each e-mail properly and do not abuse the CC function.
  4. Don't put off for tomorrow...
    It is never good to postpone tasks for the next day. Prioritise important tasks but organise your time for tasks that are "pending".
  5. Keep stress in check
    Stress can muddle your thinking and make decision-making harder.
  6. Meetings: brief and effective
    According to the Annual Survey on Working Time Management published by Workmeter, 91% of attendees become distracted at some time during the meeting while 47% feel that meetings are a waste of time.
  7. Surround yourself with the best and delegate
    A great saying attributed to Steve Jobs: "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people to tell them what to do. We hire smart people to tell us what to do".

Another important factor in productivity is ergonomics, adapting the workstation and working conditions to the employee, according to International Ergonomics Association. Ergonomics deals with helping employees find the best working posture possible, particularly for repetitive or routine tasks sustained over a long period of time, and includes the appropriate environmental comfort for the workplace. A proper ergonomics study addresses even the smallest details.