Team productivity

9 tips for a productivity boost to finish the year

It’s hard to believe we are in November, the year is almost over! Amid Christmas parties being booked and annual leave being approved there is so much work to be done. Here at Finestream, and I’m sure for you as well, we are busier than ever and there’s a lot to fit into the last month and a half of 2021.

We have compiled 9 tips for a productivity boost to finish the year. Now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal, but to tighten your focus on your goals and tasks to finish the year well. Let’s get into some tips that we are implementing and will help you boost your productivity.

1. Set goals for the end of this year, not just resolutions for the beginning of next year.

Many of us are just trying to get to the end of the year and we leave the goal setting to that mystical time of the new year where resolutions run wild. However, having clear direction for the final months of 2021 is the best way to finish well.

Put time aside to set clear goals for yourself and your team. Write them down. Communicate them. And start smashing those goals!

2. Take stock of your workload

You ask anyone how they are going and inevitably they will answer you, ‘Busy, mate!’, ‘Run off my feet!’. We are all busy, busyness can overwhelm us to the point that we aren’t getting much done, we are just overwhelmed and stressed-out.
Take stock of your workload. Make time to write down all of your tasks and then order them by priority. Do this personally and with your teams so that you have a list to come back to and keep you focussed when that workload continues to get crazier and crazier.

3. Leave unimportant tasks (and emails) for the new year

Those emails will keep filtering in. Those tasks will keep piling up. Discern what is important, consult your list of priorities and then leave the unimportant tasks and emails for the new year.
Similarly, rely on your email program’s flags and filters to keep only important emails that require immediate action at the top of your inbox.

4. Over-communicate

Piggy-backing onto no. 3, do all you can to over-communicate with your clients and staff.
Here’s an example: Set-up an automatic reply on your emails, explaining possible reply delays. Flag possible delays in your phone conversations with clients, 9 times out of 10 if the person knows it might take longer than normal to get an answer, they will be fine with it.

Knowing you have communicated something to your clients or co-workers takes the stress out of ‘another email I have to quickly reply to’. But, don’t forget to put time aside to actually reply to those emails!

5. Hug Your Dog

Many studies have shown how having pets can promote physical and mental well-being. Ted & Harvey, our office dogs are a special part of the day-to-day running of Finestream. There’s nothing like a cuddle with a furry friend to alleviate some of that toxic stress.
If you don’t have an office dog, come on over and give Ted or Harvey a cuddle, they will love it (and so will you!)

6. Turn Off Alerts

It’s so hard to get into your stress-free zone when your phone is buzzing every few minutes. Buzzing, vibrating, red dots, email counts constantly increasing, depending on how chatty your phone is, you may get notifications for everything from emails to What’s App chats.
It’s essential to shut these notifications off! You’ll see your (and your team’s) efficiency skyrocket!

7. Cut meeting times in half

At Finestream, we have a weekly staff meeting. They are short and sharp, but even still, coming into the last weeks of 2021 we could shorten them even more by focussing on our end of year goals and actions.
I read a quote the other day,
“whoever invented the one-hour default in calendar software wasted millions of people-hours.”
The truth is that most meetings never need more than 30 minutes to accomplish their missions. Cut those meeting times in half!

8. Schedule it!

I am a slave to my calendar, how about you? I block out time to work on new or existing contracts, I schedule time to reply to emails, I even schedule time to wash my car! Rather than being swayed with all the distractions that come in, I’m a slave to my schedule.
“scheduling requires you to be realistic about what you can get done. It makes you seriously sit down and consider your available time and what specific slots you can designate to completing certain tasks in a given day.”
We’ve talked about the importance of writing your lists and prioritising your tasks, but scheduling is a game plan!

9. Supply the donuts!

For so many, Finestream included, the end of the year means big hours! If your team is putting in big hours why not give a little extra in return? Show your gratitude by supplying the donuts for morning break. Or buy coffees for your people from the local café. Doing something extra (that’s not on that to-do list) will help your team feel acknowledged and appreciated.
And they get a sugar or caffeine hit, which always means a productivity boost!

Wishing you all the best and extreme productivity as 2021 comes to a close.