Recently, I read a great article in Glamour magazine on increasing productivity at the workplace. It reminded me that, as Americans, we tend to multi-task because we think it is best and it will show our employers that we are hard-working and invaluable. Many people see multi-tasking as important, even crucial, to workplace success. While in some instances this may be the case, I have seen many young people fall victim to a different kind of multi-tasking.
Those of us who are products of the Internet generation spend a great deal of time online. Since many of us work at a desk for 8 or more hours each day, it is inevitable that we will use a portion of this time to conduct personal business that is unrelated to work. Or, for those people who are in fields that require internet research, this pitfall is unavoidable. I have seen many young people take frequent work “breaks” by checking social media sites, personal email, and online news sites.
It’s time to take a step back and realize that we are at work to do one thing – work. This is especially true for recent college graduates and other young people who are trying to prove themselves to their bosses. Save personal items for personal time (this includes receiving calls and texts on your cell phone, by the way).
Here are some helpful tips that Glamour offered, with my twist on them. When I felt like there was no possible way I could finish my to-do list, I realized that in order to succeed I had to work effectively.
First, you should always arrive to your office on time (or early, if possible). Not only does this give a great impression of your work ethic, but you will be able to leave the office on time.
Secondly, do not spend hours checking your email and voicemail – unless you are an assistant. If you work in a fast-paced job, your email and voicemail will undoubtedly pile up throughout the day regardless of how long you spent checking it in the morning. Find designated times throughout the day to check your messages (i.e. 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and close of business). I have read that many successful business people follow this rule simply because it puts them on a set schedule. In most scenarios, if the message is urgent you will receive a call and not an email.
Lastly, do the most important task or the task you dread the most as soon as you enter your office. I used to do this every morning even when I didn’t feel like it. It made the day go smoother and quicker and it made me feel accomplished.
There are many other tips and suggestions on increasing productivity, but this is a great start and should motivate you at your job. People will take notice of your new attitude and you will see positive results.
By: Amy Muldoon
Amy Muldoon graduated from Penn State University in 2005 and worked in corporate public relations for three years before returning to graduate school at Holy Family University to become a secondary English teacher. Her strengths include: drafting speeches, writing talking points for media interviews, making corporate presentations, and writing for publications.