Making yourself more productive.



Being under pressure at work can be stressful. You have too much to do and you don’t have enough time.

 

Learning the difference between urgent and important is vital if you are to become more productive.


If you are one of the many thousands of us who constantly check your emails, immediately respond to every query from colleagues, clients and even friends then you can’t be concentrating on those things that are important. If something is so urgent, wouldn’t your colleague, client or friend have picked up the phone?

 

Right! So, we now know the emails can wait a while until the important jobs are out of the way. Some people have been known to put an out of office message saying that ‘I will next be checking my emails at 4pm this afternoon, if your email is urgent, please ring me.’ Would that work for you?

 

Equally, are you one of the many thousands of us who write a ‘to-do’ list every day and then pick off the ten easy ones only to wonder what you’ve really achieved – with the important stuff still outstanding?


The difference between urgent and important.

Urgent tasks:

 

There is demand for your immediate attention all the time – daily deadlines, answering phone calls and important texts, emails from your boss, emails from your best clients, social media messages needing a reply. All of these feel important but often some are not.

We are drawn to these tasks because they make us feel wanted and important; people want a reply from us but do they need that reply right now?.

Important tasks:

These can be less dramatic with no alarms or drama like urgent tasks. It’s easy to ignore them. But rather than someone else’s goals, important tasks contribute to your long-term goals whether these are professional or personal and could include hitting those sales figures, completing that project, getting more financially secure, and advancing your career.


If that seems like an easy distinction we’re often quick to confuse the two. If you are checking your email so often but it’s preventing you from getting in the actual work done you mistaking urgency for importance.


What you can do.

Have a look at your to do list each day and grade each task with a ‘u’ or an ‘i’ according to their importance or urgency. Work on the important tasks first and the urgent stuff will get done because it has to be done. If something urgent tries to get your attention ignore it until your important work is done for the day.

 

As US President Dwight Eisenhower once said – “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

 

Remember, Mayfair cares

The Effect of Happiness on Workplace Productivity

When it comes to incentivising employees to be more productive, employers often resort to raising salaries and/or reducing working hours. While doing this does result in some measure of short to medium term success, nothing quite compares to the productivity that is exhibited by a staff member who is happy in their work.

Staff benefits

Recent studies show that no matter how well you pay or how many staff benefits are available, an unhappy employee is found to be 10 % less productive than the average whereas a happy employee is 12 % more productive.

The study, which was conducted in the University of Warwick, showed that happiness has a positive effect on the productivity of a human being. Feelings of positivity stimulate employees to perform better and enhance their self-drive. Monetary benefits are not enough when it comes to boosting workplace productivity.

Professor Andrew Oswald, a member of the team that conducted the research, pointed out that employers who invest in employee satisfaction initiatives benefited from more productive employees.

37% improvement

He highlighted Google where employee satisfaction spiked by 37 % solely because of the company’s efforts to improve their employee support systems. This goes to show that financial incentives are just not enough to inspire motivation in employees.

According to Shawn Anchor, positive feelings greatly impact on the brain, which in turn improves the productivity of an individual. The author of The Happiness Advantage explained that positive feelings inspire people to be more creative and also enhances their problem-solving skills.

Happier employees are also more willing to work as a group and prove to be more driven towards achieving common goals, according to another study. In Anchor’s perspective, companies that build strong, personal relationships with their employees always enjoy greater profits, all because of the enhanced productivity brought on by the positive environment. 

Employee satisfaction however cannot be classified as the responsibility of the employer alone. There are easy ways employees can create a positive working environment full of good vibes and happy individuals.

This can be through helping each other out, healthy interactions between co-employees and even some light meditation for a few minutes every day. The main idea is to create an environment where the employees feel like they are an important member of a family, not an insignificant cog in a larger scheme of things.

Happiness & Leadership

To prove that strong relationships do impact on happiness in the workplace, two researchers from Harvard conducted a study on students which revealed that students with better social lives and healthy relationships both at home and in school tended to be a lot more productive and less likely to develop stress.

Phil Stone and Tal Ben-Shahar also noted that these happy students carried on those acquired traits and skills to their respective workplaces and proved to be better at stress management and better suited to forge strong relationships with their co-employees. 

The two researchers concluded that happier employees also make the best leaders thanks to their superior human interaction capabilities. Woohoo Inc founder, Alexander Kjerulf also agrees that happiness in the workplace is the key to employees with better leadership traits, better time management skills and, ultimately, better productivity. 

So, what does your company do to create a positive, happy working environment and could you do more?

Remember, Mayfair Cares