When it’s crunch time on an important task, send all incoming calls
directly to voicemail, suggests Shari McGuire, PMP, a time-management
consultant in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. “Every interruption in
your day can cost you 20 minutes of productivity—that’s an hour
lost to just three interruptions,” she says. “When you allow
voicemails to accumulate for a few hours, you also
respond faster because you get in the groove
of hammering out answers.”
in your day can cost
you 20 minutes of
—Shari McGuire, PMP, an independent
consultant, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Rise and Shine—
Even on Weekends Rise
Sleeping in on Saturday might seem like the solution to work-week
fatigue, but clocking those extra hours in bed can hinder your
productivity. In a University of Leipzig study, participants who
reported little variation in their waking times were more
proactive in their work than those who woke
up later on the weekends.
Match the Task
to the Time
If you’re planning a tactical meeting, aim for early morning, suggests Mr. McCall-Peat.
“Lengthy planning sessions should be scheduled to start 30 minutes after the official work
time. This gives the team time to handle any critical emails before the meeting starts, so
they’re not distracted.” And don’t mistake “lengthy” for “marathon,” he says—anything longer
than three hours should be broken up over two days.
When it comes to brainstorming, though, the early bird may not catch the innovation
worm: A study at Albion College and Michigan State University found that the most insightful, out-of-the-box thinking happens when people are less alert. In the study, the less alert
group solved an average of 42 percent of the problems, compared to 33 percent solved
in the control group.
The researchers say the random thoughts that come to mind when people
aren’t fully focused may yield novel solutions. So if the team is bright-eyed
and ready to work first thing in the morning, save creative problem-
solving for those slower afternoon hours.
An employee walking
program would yield
Source: Body-Brain Performance Institute
and Swinburne University of Technology