We should work smarter – not harder.
Many jobs leave us feeling overwhelmed and behind the curve – even when we get there early, leave late and eat lunch at our desks. Then, we check email from home. Wouldn’t it be great to find ways to boost your productivity without logging even longer hours?
Some tips you know for yourself. Is it good to sit outside for a bit to work? Do you crank it out when you crank up your favorite tunes? Need coffee? A donut? A brisk walk in the middle of the morning?
Productivity boosts are personal. There’s workplace culture and human resource policies to consider. A piña colada might bring out your best work, but your manager might not appreciate it so much.
Here are a few alternative ways I’ve found increase productivity for me – some for short bursts, and others for the long haul.
1. Catch some Zzzs
If you’re a boss, you might cringe at that one. But stay with me here.
Most mammals are polyphasic sleepers. They take short naps all day. (Just like your cat or dog.) Humans are that grumpy minority of monophasic sleepers. We have a designated sleep time and wake time. But when we nap like babies, the elderly and spoiled cats, it’s a huge benefit.
A nap can increase productivity. Research from the University of California at Berkley revealed a nap helps our brains retain information, and put us in a better place on a neurocognitive level than before we sleep. You’ll be sharper for your sales calls and visits after a siesta.
Tip: Try a preparatory nap. That means you schedule some zzzs before a period of busyness to keep sleepiness at bay.
2. Provide or suggest flexible work options
Some of us are most productive first thing in the morning. Others find their steam at midday. You might even be a late-day bloomer.
Many companies recognize this. If you’re a manager, what if your employees could work from home sometimes? Or what if they could have an unconventional work schedule?
Increasingly, companies offer sales positions that allow workers to telecommute. Sales representatives who work from home can also work unconventional hours. Companies such as Xerox, UnitedHealth Group and Dell lead the way on work-from-home options.
Tip: Track the work you do in a flexible schedule to ensure you’re keeping up. Especially if this is a new effort where you work, your productivity can help prove the program’s worth.
3. One thing at a time
When we have a lot to do, we try to pick it up all at once. It’s a better idea to take on that ton of work one armload at a time.
You don’t win when you multitask. You can do more at once, but lower quality is the result. A Microsoft study revealed it takes 15 minutes for your attention to return to your work when you stop to read an email or text. And that’s just a small diversion.
Diversions are particularly harmful for sales. Active listening leads to rapport building, which leads to sales. Know your product inside and out, so that you can concentrate on what your sales lead is saying, not what you’ll say next. None of this is possible if your attention is anywhere but the sale.
Tip: When you tick things off of a to-do list, you gain momentum. Your undivided attention to the task at hand will result in a better product, and you’ll get more done!
Most businesses are all about productivity. If you can show your idea produces results, most employers will be all for it. And it might give your boss just the evidence she’s wanted to justify a midday nap, too.
Base compiled an extensive list of sales productivity resources you can peruse too.