Brainstorming productivity hacks

Productivity: it’s the one thing our workplaces have in common, and we all want more of it. There are so many different solutions for getting more productivity out of the day. Here are some of our favorite systems and solutions to help organize our time, and get more productivity into our work week.

One thing many workplaces have in common: they have very little in common. Yet, in spite of their differences, productivity may be the one thing that is shared almost universally from one workplace to another. But even in this unifying goal, there are many different solutions for getting more productivity out of the day.

No matter where you are in the premium and luxury brand space, adding these tips for calendaring, time management, or candidate engagement can help to eliminate wasted time, and ramp-up your hours of productivity. Practiced regularly, these tips can make a real difference in your workday – helping you feel more organized and accomplished.

Liberate your Inbox

It seems like we are subscribed to a new email list, if not multiple emails, every day. If you’re not an avid unsubscriber, pretty soon, your inbox can turn into a carnival. It’s only a matter of time until important emails get buried and critical communications get overlooked. That is why we like unroll me, an app with extensions that delete everything you’re subscribed to. This keeps your inbox more organized, you can spend less time sorting through junk. (Now, if only we could find a way to unsubscribe from notifications about cleaning the office refrigerator.)

New behavioral methods to develop more productive habits

It’s been proven that changing our habits, or developing new techniques can make a real, long-lasting difference to productivity. New behavioral techniques – thoroughly vetted and backed by scientific research – are a custom fit for modern digital workers struggling with productivity in our new connected age.

  • Nap your way to more productivity. This is easier said than done. To the untrained eye, it literally looks like you’re sleeping on the job. This is why many businesses are creating a space for employees to catch some quick shut-eye. They’re finding naps can increase attention, keep employees more engaged, and boost productivity. Maybe taking short, discreet, and productivity boosting naps is one reason why many people are finding working from home helps them be more productive.
  • Get clarity. Another key productivity hack (also very useful for people who are working from home) can be designating and organizing a specific workspace. One of the benefits of working from home is an efficient transition between work and home. But sometimes, that transition can be too efficient and can create distractions throughout the day. Setting boundaries and sticking to them could increase productivity even more by eliminating distractions and cutting down on the time it takes to refocus between tasks.
  • No more multitasking. For many people, multitasking is a must. What many people aren’t taking into consideration is, often they’re doing the same amount of work, just mixing it all together. But when we’re constantly switching between tasks, the quality of our work can suffer. To the best of your ability, blocking time for each task and keeping heads-down will create better results and could eliminate the extra time needed to go back and correct mistakes.

Get e-Productive with the latest productivity apps

Changing behavior can be effective, but for those who could benefit from a technological assist, there are many productivity apps that are designed to help users get more productivity out of their day. But do they actually work? After sifting through a number of productivity apps, we’ve found some of our favorites that can fit a variety of lifestyle to meet your productivity goals:

  • Todoist: Remember to-do lists? That’s the list of tasks you write down and never look at again. There are a number of apps that help to organize a to-do list, but we like this app in particular for its user friendly interface and a unique feature which enables users to create categories for tasks. This helps keep tasks for our personal lives separate from work tasks. There are other apps that do this as well, but there’s something about the interface of Todoist that just clicks with us more.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Voice dictation is both a blessing and a curse. Dictation software can be an obvious timesaver. It can also create a monster. Many of us have received unfortunate text messages or emails from someone (we’re looking at you, mom and dad) who don’t care to enunciate their words like a robot, or worse, take the time to edit what was transcribed. That’s why we love Dragon’s app. They have specific versions for legalese and law enforcement. But the home edition is the most useful for day-to-day use.
  • IFTTT: If This Then That takes an intuitive approach to setting tasks. It’s a free app that’s been around for a while, so a lot of the kinks have been ironed out. Users can give IFTTT timesaving directions like, “If I have a calendar appointment, then set two reminders for one day and one hour before the event.” or “If someone posts a picture of me on Instagram, save a copy to my Google Drive.” This can be helpful in setting bulk tasks to address the little tasks that fritter away at our daily productivity.

A good, old fashioned journal, but different

Maybe you’re someone who swears by old fashioned, tried and true methods. We’ve found many people are using journals printed with bullet points instead of lateral lines to help increase productivity. It’s a small change, but if we think differently about how we write our notes, we can stay more organized.

Getting back into the habit of writing down notes can have the added benefit of physically writing down tasks. There’s something about the kinesthetic exercise of writing that seems to help to boost your memory and remember the task in more detail. Maybe we should start writing notes about where we last put the car keys?

Tips and systems for calendar management to increase productivity

How we use our calendar can make a big difference to our productivity. Many of us feel very strongly about how to properly manage a calendar to save time and just feel more organized in general. So we’d like to share some examples of calendar management tools or systems and how we use them:

  • Time blocking: Some of the most productive people are highly calendar-focused and adamant time-blockers. Many choose to create multiple calendars in Google Calendar: a personal calendar and a work calendar. Some pro time-blockers color-code by task and block time on their actual calendar. This can be an especially useful tool for managers who often are pulled in a lot of different directions. Time blocking is simple, but helps keep your focus on your most important activities in the day.
  • Be polite but firm: It’s a small gesture, but adding a note that says something like “Please ask before scheduling during this time.” This helps anyone who’s setting meetings or tasks to your calendar a helpful note to respectfully think twice about scheduling over it. Many people notice a significant increase in time management once they’ve added a note. Protip: it helps to be specific. Add information of what you’re working on like “sourcing candidates” so people know to not mess with that blocked time.
  • Maintain control: Some of us prefer to maintain control of their own calendar. Even though it may take a little bit longer on the front end, it saves a lot of time and confusion on the back end. Calendar-controllers like to batch their activities especially if they’re working in several different roles, combining the content helps to keep them efficient, rather than always switching between what they’re working on. This can still be a challenge however, because none of us have complete control of our calendars. 
  • Task batching: It makes sense to organize similar tasks together on a calendar. By batching tasks we could eliminate the buffer time it takes to switch between tasks. Instead, using a bit of time to take a break between tasks to mentally adjust and prepare for the next task with setting buffers.
  • Setting buffers: Many of us need just 10 minutes between tasks to help us keep things organized. We’ve found even a ten minute buffer is enough time to take notes, or take a quick break between blocks of time. Adding 10 minute buffers between back-to-back calls allows just enough time to implant notes in the moment, rather than waste a lot of time trying to recall the details of a conversation days later. In addition to setting buffers in Calendy, you can also streamline your schedule with GoodTime buffers.
  • Schedule time to manage reporting and data: We found scheduling 20 minutes at the beginning and the end of the day to input data is a big time saver. We’ll also block out extra time at the start and the end of the week dedicated to cleaning up Monday or whatever program we’re working from just to make sure the data is up to date.

Try new things!

There are so many great tips and tricks to maximizing your time management. Sometimes it takes a bit of hit-and-miss to find what works best for you. We always suggest checking with other team members, especially the ones who really seem to have their productivity together. Chances are they have a secret to the madness. Keeping an open mind and trying new things is the best way, with all the time-saving devices and systems, to find what works best for you.

The Bowerman Group: We can help

Are you looking for more ways to boost productivity? Try cutting down the time it takes to source and recruit top talent for your premium and luxury brand space. Call on the recruiting experts at The Bowerman Group. We make finding the right talent and the right fit a snap (so you can relax enough to take a post-lunch nap before that 1:00 meeting). Contact the recruiting team at The Bowerman Group today.