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There are countless ways to boost your productivity in the office… at least, that’s what the Internet says. How do you separate the productivity champs from the chumps? It’s simple, really; just look for the tried and true methods that have been backed by thorough research. One such study, performed by Julia Gifford of Draugiem Group, claims that workers can be more productive by not trying to do as much office work as possible.
This is hardly the first productivity strategy proposed by professionals. What makes this different from others? Well, it’s backed up with results. Using the tracking application DeskTime, the researchers at Draugiem Group examined how their best, most productive employees spent their time in the office. Surprisingly, it boiled down to how much time wasn’t being spent doing work.
52 Minutes of Work, 17 Minutes of Rest
While it might seem incredibly inefficient, the results of this study turned out to be a cycle of 52 minutes of hard work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. This is similar to the Pomodoro technique, another relatively well-known process which includes 25-minute work intervals with five-minute breaks, followed by one 15-minute break after the fourth increment. Overall, the 52-17 rule seems to be geared more for those who are confident they can stay focused on a single task for almost a solid hour.
The Importance of Rest
Rest is an absolutely critical part of any function performed by humans; therefore, its importance cannot be overemphasized. In fact, many researchers studying the science behind workplaces find that rest is absolutely imperative to the success of all participants.
Entrepreneur Chris Winfield claims that he cut his work week in half because he took consistent breaks throughout the workday. As you can imagine, finding the right balance between work and rest can be a tricky subject. Meetings and other time-sensitive appointments are difficult to fit into an individual’s schedule. For Winfield, he was able to cut his 40-hour work week down to 16.7 hours (not counting the time he spent in meetings). This is a considerable difference, especially because he was still getting everything done that he wanted to.
The End Result: Increased Flexibility
As you can imagine, scrunching your work week to less than half of the original size opens up several opportunities. The only way this is possible is with proper prioritization of important tasks. By ensuring that high-priority tasks are tackled in the most effective way possible, you’ll be able to approach the rest of your work in a clear, stress-free manner. Winfield claims that his approach changed the way he looked at the work week:
The final piece to my puzzle was moving from a five-day workweek, where I had to stop by 5 p.m., to a seven-day workweek, where I could work when it suited me. This took me from 40 to 45 hours available to get my 40 Pomodoros in, to having 168 hours each week. Since I only need 16.7 hours net, that means I only work 10% of my time. What a difference.
Granted, Winfield didn’t count the 20-to-25 hours of meetings and phone calls toward his total time, yet, he still managed to save his sanity by taking small breaks.
If you aren’t quite sold on either the Pomodoro technique or other work-break increment strategies, there are several other alternatives to look into. For one, you can look into using the latest and greatest technology solutions to improve the overall efficiency of your time spent working. Give us a call at (703) 288-9767 to learn more about what productivity solutions can help your business.