All of us have 8 hours of productive work time in a day. How come some of us get to accomplish a lot, whereas others struggle to finish their work. In this article, I will share some work habits that have helped me a lot during my 25+ years’ work career and the few ones where I know I still need to improve. Here are my top 10 picks.
1. Keeping email subjects easy for future search
I learnt this from my co-founder. I wasn’t very careful with the email subjects and would struggle to find an old conversation with a client. This wasted a lot of my time. When you write an email or create a new document, figure out what subject/name will help you find the document in the future.
2. Intelligent naming of files and folders
I learnt this from one of my former colleagues. As a professional trainer, I conduct anywhere between 20 to 30 training sessions in a year. With 15 years of experience as a trainer, it is more than 350 now. Keeping track of this data is cumbersome. He advised me to keep the directories listed as YYYYMMDD-Subject-Client Name / Location. This has been super helpful to me to keep all my training data very well organized. Appending the date to the filename allows me to version the documents when I create similar documents in the future.
3. Keeping a document with the commonly required information
I am pretty lazy in typing. I realized that I need to provide the same information to multiple agencies and customers such as our company details and company addresses, and seek standard information from multiple stakeholders. So, I created a word document that contains the most required information. This has helped me to provide information quickly when I am asked about it.
4. Getting an external monitor and mouse
I recently purchased a larger external monitor, and I find it a lot more soothing to my eyes. I have poor eyesight, and this has come as a pleasant relief to my tired eyes. I can see the information lot more clearly. It also helps me to better designing of posters and documents.
5. Keeping your phone at a distance
This I tried practicing sometime back and found extremely helpful. Being always online and having social media apps on smartphones, one never realizes how much time is spent on the phone. So at times, keep your phone at a distance so that you find it a little hard to reach.
6. Keeping your MS Office default templates
Again, most of us love specific fonts and specific layouts. For example, I always keep my Excel cells formatted to top-aligned, wrap-text, and boundary for cells. So, I wrote a simple macro to format the excel with my preferred specifications. You can do the same for MS Word as well by creating a word template.
7. Keeping a hard deadline to get-off work daily
Ask a simple question – Usually till what time in the evening do you work? 7 PM? 8 PM? 9 PM or 12 AM?
I find many professionals working till almost bedtime. This makes one feel one has extra 5 to 6 work hours in a day, and hence, one needn’t focus on being productive during regular work hours.
8. Limiting social media time
I am personally guilty of this. I spend 100% more time than required on social media. I am active on LinkedIn as it helps me to connect with my prospects, learn new skills. I avoid Facebook (now Meta), Twitter and Quora consciously. Social media can be highly time-consuming. I read an article where a CEO hired an employee to slap him if he goes on Facebook during work hours. This is a bit extreme 😊
9. Setting aside time to learn something new every year
All of us should realize that things we learn in school and college are getting obsolete very fast. Not learning new subjects will keep us unproductive and can result in job termination as well.