As an adult, choosing the attitude you wish to carry throughout the day is important and it can truly make or break a productive day. Staying focused at work early in the morning can be difficult. Unfortunately, so many workplaces, spanning across a multitude of different industries and verticals, lose out on productivity from their teams early in the morning. The reasons for this vary, therefore, there is no single solution to prevent time theft or procrastination in the workplace. Although you cannot completely eliminate distractions and interruptions, you can attempt to minimize them. By doing so, you can increase workplace productivity and boost morale. Below I will discuss a few ways managers and employees can avoid wasting time early in the morning.
Reduce the time spent in meetings and conferences
Depending on the number of employees in your workplace, your team may rely on group meetings and conferences to keep everybody in the loop relating to updates and project progress. Often, these meetings take place in the morning to ensure everyone is aware of events that are taking place each day. Meetings are an imperative component in a communicative organization, however, issues can arise if meetings drag on for much longer than intended. Conferences and meetings than extend past their scheduled time slot can quickly change from a discussion about work-related topics to a conversation about last night’s sports game or tonight’s series finale. For your next group meeting, we recommend that you put a time restriction on it; set a stopwatch or timer to ensure that you are not surpassing your 10-15 minute allocation. Another practice that could prove beneficial is to have your team members stand, rather than sit down for these meetings - the reason for this is that standing will prevent your employees from using their cell phones and will heighten their attention when they are called upon for information regarding their jobs and responsibilities. Holding meetings later in the day can also optimize productivity.
Encourage pre-planning for the next day’s work
The last few hours of the day can be exhausting and distracting as employees count down the minutes until they can go home, relax and spend time with their families. For workplaces everywhere, the last hour of the day can be as unproductive as the first hour of the day. Regardless of how hard you push your employees to remain stringent with their work ethic and productivity, sometimes, your employees will need the last hour of the day to take their foot off the gas to recharge their batteries. This is a wonderful opportunity for employers to take advantage of the slower pace; as a manager, you can use this time to encourage your employees to prepare for the next day’s workload. Pre-planning will prevent the last hour of the day from being wasted and make it easier for your employees to initiate their work the following day. So many mornings are spent by employees organizing their workload and prioritizing projects, however, if you recommended that all employees are to prepare their agenda for the next day, you would significantly increase productivity.
Answer emails half-way through the day
Emails, in numerous organizations, are an important form of communication, both internally and externally. Whether you need to discuss project details with other departments in the workplace, or you need to reach out to clients or distributors, emails are a major part of the work environment. In many workplaces, opening up unread emails is equivalent to having a morning cup of coffee. The issue with emails is that they are time-consuming; reading emails and formulating responses can take hours depending on the size of your inbox. While some businesses prioritize quick and coherent responses, if your workplace isn’t client-facing, refrain from allowing emails to consume a good chunk of your workday. Employees should come into work and focus on the most important matters at hand before getting lost in the wormhole of their inbox.
Allow your energy levels to guide you
It can be tough to feel emotionally prepared and energized to undertake major projects early in the morning. A tired mind can only operate so efficiently, and therefore, it can be irresponsible and reckless to begin work on a task that requires your complete and undivided attention. In situations like these, it can be beneficial to allow your energy levels to take control of your workday schedule. For some people, their creative and artistic abilities are heightened as soon as they wake up in the morning, which means that the morning is the best time for these people to work on projects that require an innovative mindset. If you find your team is more creative in the early morning hours, you may recommend that they perform lower-energy tasks such as answering phone calls or responding to emails later in the day.
It’s important to consider the days of the week when gauging your employees’ energy levels. Typically, the beginning of the week is when energy levels are the highest - following a couple of days off, employees have had the opportunity to refresh their bodies and enter the new week with an open mind and different perspective. As a manager, the beginning of the week is a great time for you to initiate projects that require a lot of brainpower.
Provide your team with healthy snacks
Nutrition is key, but not everyone is able to cook a hearty breakfast in the morning. It’s the little things that mean the most, and as an employer, you have the chance to improve your employees’ work environment by providing them healthy snacks to consume as they start their workday. Apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and orange slices are healthy and nourishing food options that support brain function and could provide a boost of energy to your team. Investing in an office coffee brewer would also go a long way in helping them stay energized to overcome the challenges and obstacles of the day ahead.
For more information on time management techniques, consult Tempo’s blog!