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Five efficiency and time management tips that actually work

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30.08.2022

There’s no shortage of time management and efficiency tips on the internet – but how many of them actually work? Often, we read about new ways of working and say, “This will save us so much time! We’ll be so productive!” – then never put them into practice.

We promise these five tips are different.

30.08.2022

Five diverse women of colour working collaboratively on a task. One woman is talking, two are writing, and two are listening. They look deep in concentration and about 25 - 35 years in age.

Efficiency and productivity tips need to be easy to adopt, seamlessly slot into, or piggyback off, your current ways of working, and should work for everyone.

Here’s five efficiency tips we’ve embraced, maintained, seen results from, and loved:

1. No-Meeting Mondays

Enforcing an organisation wide ‘No Meeting Rule’ to start the week off has made a huge difference to our staff. It gives us time to catch up on emails, plan our week, get into flow, and sets the tone for a productive and balanced working week.

Some of us extend this rule into No Meeting Mornings, clearing the first hour or two of our days to focus, free from meetings and without the need to immediately be “switched on”.

2. Use clear subject lines in emails

This sounds simple but inbox ‘hygiene’ makes a difference! By writing clear, informative subject lines, it can help the receiver to understand if it’s urgent and needs to be immediately responded to; and makes it easy to search for all – especially in an overcrowded inbox.

Consider what the receiver immediately needs to know about the email: What project might it be referring to? Is it a casual note, a deliverable, or a more detailed work plan or brief? Consider including key words in the subject line.

3. Set an agenda and a chair before meetings

We know how easy it is to get caught up in discussion and run out of time to address key topics. Having a clear agenda allows attendees to know what a meeting will cover and provides an opportunity for all agenda items to be discussed, and assigning a chair ensures someone is leading the discussion and can manage time and outcomes effectively. This might feel like a no-brainer, but we’ve seen great impacts when it comes to the efficiency and productivity of meetings since enforcing it.

4. Use different communication channels effectively

We use different communication channels for different purposes and set clear rules around how and when to use channels. To avoid overwhelming inboxes, we moved all internal communications to our messaging platform, Teams, and structured our communications across different channels, each with a unique purpose, within the platform itself. This means we can drop in and out of conversations without missing anything, cluttering our inbox, or having a sense of urgency, and it allows space for play, connection and fun, which is key when working remotely.

As an organisation, we also have a shared understanding that no one has to ‘always be available’ - even during the workday. There are no obligations to immediately reply to a chat, message or email, which allows people to communicate in ways that are effective for them!

5. Avoid back-to-back meetings - try the 50-minute meeting!

Whether working remotely or in-person, back-to-back meetings can be a real energy sap. We’ve introduced 50-minute meetings, to free up a little bit of time and give ourselves space between back-to-back meetings, which sometimes can’t be avoided.

You might be surprised at how efficient 50-minute meetings are. You can usually get through the same amount of content as an hourly meeting, but with a cheeky break included!

We hope you find these efficiency tips useful and would love to hear which work well for you and your organisation! Get in contact with us on our socials to provide feedback – and enjoy the time you’ve freed up.