IT’S CRIMBO CRUNCH TIME – SO HERE’S HOW TO DEAL WITH FEWER HOURS IN THE BUSIEST MONTH OF THE YEAR
Let’s face it, the demands of December can turn the prospect of tying up those loose ends at the office before 2020 rolls around into a nightmare of epic proportions. So what productivity hacks can you incorporate into your day to ensure you stay on top of work commitments while also having the time to make merry?
PLANT YOURSELF HAPPY
Beardy types at the University of Exeter found that flora in the office increases productivity by 15%, and a further study by the hirsute at Harvard supports their theory. So invest in a pot plant or two to help purify the air and bring a little bit of nature into the built environment.
START A LIST
Why do successful people seem to have everything go their way? Because success begets success, by creating a sense of momentum where one thing naturally leads to another. A good way to get the ball rolling is by recording your tasks in a list that can be satisfyingly ticked off as they’re completed – or perhaps via a task-management tool which will even send encouraging nods to help you on your way.
SWITCH IT OFF
It may sound obvious, but checking your phone every two seconds is not going to help you focus on the task at hand. How are you going to concentrate when that handheld attention-grabber is blinking with notifications, desperately getting you to look at group convos about who’s coming to which Christmas party? Meditation specialist Headspace recommends only reaching for your phone when you have a specific task to perform – but we’d go one step further: why not switch it off entirely, or even hide it in a drawer?
REST AND RECUPERATE
Contrary to popular belief, taking time out to smell the roses isn’t better spent at your desk, hammering away until the work is done. The brain is incredibly good at wrestling with problems and figuring things out when you’re preoccupied with doing something else, so get out there and refresh your senses. Think about it: how many good ideas do you have when you’re in the shower?
BE MORE SWEDISH
With IKEA, Volvos and iconic pop bands in their repertoire, those Scandis have a lot going for them – including a commitment to a better work/life balance. A countrywide commitment to reducing the working day from eight hours to six has resulted in shinier, happier people – with no drop in productivity. In fact, Swedes have reported feeling more fulfilled by achieving more with less.
FIND YOUR FOCUS
That Swedish success story, like many of these hacks, is partly down to focus. After all, it’s much easier to get something done when there’s only one thing to do. So even if you have plenty of tasks on your list, paraphrase Rihanna and treat each one like it’s the only girl in the world. And forget multitasking: doing a little bit of something here and a little bit of something there adds up to a whole lot of nothing at the end of the day.
AVOID THE CHATTERBOX
Of course it’s fun to discuss the latest boxset and whether Claire Foy or Olivia Colman makes the best Queen Elizabeth II. But it’s not going to get much done, and that chat will feel foolish when you’re stuck late at work instead of sipping on something mulled with friends. By all means, enjoy working with your colleagues but stay away from the one who never stops talking – or you might never stop working.
IT’S NOT 9 TO 5, IT’S TIME TO THRIVE
The rise in flexspace and flexwork means we can do our jobs how, when and where we like. And with that comes a whole new mindset that emphasises productivity over work, which can only be a good thing. Instead of seeing the way you pay your bills as a necessary evil, figure out how to prioritise your tasks and reframe your day into a series of interesting challenges that offer a sense of satisfaction as you blast through them.