My socks were rocked a few days ago when I saw multiple sources cite that Sweden announced it would be shifting to a six-hour workday. Of course, alarm bells might go off here for you – Who says? Who is “Sweden”, exactly? What, is everyone in the country just going to start leaving work at 3:30pm now? – and look, I don’t know these answers. Google it.
But this gives credence to an idea that I’ve held onto for a long time now. Most of our days at work could be shorter if we were all a lot more productive. Dripped throughout my social media feeds, I’ve seen that these shorter days mean Swedish employees are being asked to stay off social media networks and keep meetings to a minimum – things which undoubtedly run rife across work environments in Australia too.
Imagine: long summer afternoons with enough time to get down to the beach after work, or leaving the office in winter when the sun is still in the sky.
Despite recent changes, I have a feeling that we in Australia might still be a few governments away from such a progressive stance on the workplace, but here are a few ways you can create a productive work environment, which will hopefully save you some time…that you can then blow on social media.
A tidy workspace
I read somewhere once that creative people typically have messier desks. I can’t remember if it was a scientific study, academic research or just some silly listicle, but either way, a messy workspace is a distracting one. Even though I type this with papers strewn about the place, the pillars of my desk are all in order. I have my iMac, phone, second monitor, plants and desktop trinkets all in their rightful places. This keeps my head clear and my mind in the zone when I’m writing.
Quality computer equipment
Anyone who has ever worked with a slow computer will know the exponential pain associated with having crappy equipment. It’s not just that everything takes a long time, but also that unsaved files get lost in computer crashes, programs freeze and trains of thought get lost waiting for software to catch up. For a range of computer gear that will help you achieve a productive work environment try shopping online at Warehouse1.
Productivity is essentially getting more done in less time due to system efficiencies and one of the best ways to be productive is to give yourself deadlines and time limits. I use a simple spreadsheet with all of my due tasks listed in order of their deadlines, then I simply work backwards. If you’re struggling to get things done, try organising them and then using a simple egg timer or stopwatch. After 20 minutes, force yourself to take a break and walk away from your keyboard. Come back after 3 minutes break and start hacking away again.
Being in the right job
Arguably the most important factor for workplace productivity is actually being in the right workplace. There’s no point trying to get things done faster and in more efficient ways if at the end of the day you hate what you do. Take a minute to ask yourself if you even want to be more productive at work – and if the answer is no, then quit and find a job where you do!
Being productive at work is great for individuals, but the real victory is if you can help your co-workers make better use of their time, saving yourself time, whilst boosting overall company productivity. This means being supportive and being surrounded by supportive people.
This post was written with support from Warehouse1.