Organizations and employees are striving to achieve high levels of productivity – it is a sign of, and key factor in, business success.
In a bid to improve productivity, organizations have long been deploying new technology, adding collaboration or communication tools to improve communication between employees or with people external to the organization. They are also re-considering the design of working spaces, moving away from cubicle designs to open plan offices, with a focus on collaborative spaces – sometimes at the expense of workers trying to focus and complete their tasks.
THE HIDDEN SECRET OF THE SUPER-PRODUCTIVE
If you tune into your biological rhythm, you can do more work in less time – without the stress.
The secret to being super-productive lies in the natural circular rhythms between the two hemispheres of our brain. When you are primarily dominated by the left brain side, you are most productive at work. You feel alert and see things straight. When the right side dominates, you recover, boost the immune system, and clear your thoughts.
The two are never dominant at the same time. Instead, our brain is hardwired to be dominated by either the right side or the left side in a circular rhythm, normally lasting between 90-120 minutes. This circular movement is called the ultradian rhythm, and it works 24 hours a day, even regulating our stages of sleep at night.
The natural rhythm dictates that you can only use your logical, linear left brain for around an hour and a half. After that, you must switch to the right brain hemisphere for roughly 20 minutes. Normally, you
start getting drowsy, yawn, and feel a sudden urge to eat and stretch your body.
Unfortunately, most of us do not work according to our natural, ultradian rhythms. Instead of utilizing the productive potential we have in 90-minute bursts, we allow our surroundings to disturb us, depriving us of our super-concentrated state of mind. Usually when the brain orders us to rest, we force ourselves to carry on, pumping natural stress hormones such as adrenalin, noradrenalin, and cortisol into our bodies.
HOW YOU BECOME SUPER-PRODUCTIVE
Knowing your ultradian rhythms can help you become immensely effective and productive. All you
need is to plan your activities so that you work inexactly the right 90-minute periods during the day, making sure that you are not disturbed while in the ultra-productive mode.
At the same time, you must cherish the 20-minute breaks when your body is predominantly controlled by the right brain hemisphere. Go for a walk. Small talk with your colleagues or do something else that doesn’t require too much mental capacity.
If you note how productive and energized you are at different times during the day on a piece of paper,
your unique work pattern will soon emerge. After that, it’s up to you to utilize this powerful new information.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF THE PRODUCTIVE BRAIN
If managed the right way, most knowledge workers are capable of producing what normally takes 10-12 hours of traditional work in just three bursts of 90 minutes of work, followed by three 20-minute breaks. No more long hours burning the midnight oil.
This discovery is great news for companies and managers striving to increase work productivity to keep pace with the demands of the market. But it also requires most workplaces to organize work and office spaces in completely new ways.
We must supply quiet rooms for people working in open office spaces. We must respect the employees who need some time to themselves, and stop mistrusting people who take a short nap or leave the
office for a while.
But most importantly, we must deal with the “always on” attitude of the modern workplace. In the future, the “off” time is most important.
CONFETTI DAYS KILL PRODUCTIVITY
Confetti days are when you’re are constantly interrupted with issues not on your original to-do list. This makes it impossible to complete even the smallest of tasks; it rips your day into little pieces and leaves you where you were when the day began.
Confetti days are part of the modern workplace. According to a study by the University of California, office workers were interrupted roughly every three minutes by colleagues, their smart phone, or emails.
While not every distraction may throw you off course, some of them are bound to pull you away from what you’re doing. Once thrown off track, and it can take as much as 23 minutes for you to return to the original task – if you even succeed in doing so.
These interruptions add up to many hours lost. This is frustrating for the individual, but it also costs the business a considerable amount of money and lost opportunities.
So what can we do to put a stop to this?
- Tell people when you’re busy
Simply telling people around you that you need to concentrate will help. Very rarely will people intentionally interrupt you if you have told them you’re under pressure. In fact, they will often protect you from outside interruptions and try to solve issues
- Set presence indicator on “busy”
This is a no-brainer, but few of us do it. UC clients let you change your status to “don’t disturb” or “busy.” This way, people will likely only interrupt you if it’s absolutely urgent.
- Don’t pick up the phone
Few questions are urgent; most can wait an hour or two. Not feeling like you must take every call is a
good strategy when you have to get things done without interruptions.
- Go somewhere else
Not being there to get interrupted is also effective. Finding a conference room or working at home, if possible, will save you from much distraction. Unfortunately, confetti days are here to stay, but you can avoid much distraction by using these simple tips.