You walk into the office at 8 a.m. determined to complete the day’s tasks focused and undeterred. And then all of a sudden it’s 3 p.m. and the only thing you’ve accomplished is sitting through a two-hour staff meeting and checking your email.
Sound familiar? Yeah, us too. Our work days are full of distractions. But with a little structure and help from the gods of technology, you can achieve better workflow.
Use online tools to help you manage your time, tasks and conversations.
Technology is cool, isn’t it? There are apps and platforms and tricks and magic for all things productivity related. Manage your to-do lists and track office productivity with platforms like Asana and Evernote, which allow you to create teams, assign tasks and follow projects from beginning to end.
If you are looking for a more effective way to communicate with team members besides text and email, try Slack, which allows you to create a team for your office and channels for specific projects that only team members who are involved can see. Conversations are searchable, documents can be shared and it even has an animated GIF integration that makes talking about work a little more enjoyable.
Cloud-based platforms like G Suite (Google) and OneNote (Microsoft) allow you to create word processing documents, spreadsheets, calendars and presentations in one shareable space. You can add comments, assign tasks and collaborate on schedules and projects across mobile and desktop.
The neat thing is that many of these platforms integrate with one another. So you can upload and share G Suite files directly to Slack or Asana, for example, making your day even more efficient.
Plan your day.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but so many of us sit down at our computers each day with only a vague idea of how the next eight hours will play out. We know there are projects that need to be completed. But there’s also email to check. Phone calls to take. Ohhhh, there’s cookies in the breakroom? As a result, we get distracted and off track.
Planning out your day — even down to when you will check email, take breaks and eat lunch or have personal time — is essential to making sure you check off everything on your to-do list. Physically blocking out time on your calendar for these tasks, as well as client work, marketing, budgeting, or other high-level projects, will help keep your day flowing smoothly with few interruptions. And it will help you resist the temptation to derail your day by running to the breakroom to eat cookies.
Plan your meetings, too.
Staff and client meetings can go down a rabbit hole before you can say “rabbit hole.” Creating an agenda with time allotted for each discussion item can help you stay on topic and on time. Let’s say your staff meeting is on Monday morning. You can use Google Docs to create an agenda that’s shared with everyone on your team and set a deadline on Friday for everyone to list items they need to discuss. Before the meeting, review the agenda, set time limits and make copies for your team. Then be prepared to keep everyone on task. (Need help making your meetings more productive + enjoyable? Check out our tips for that here.)
Use these tools to help organize and manage your office apparel order! Have you checked out our shared ordering system yet? Prepare to be mind-blown at how much more productive we’ve made this task on your list.