5 Simple Ways to Make 2022 Your Most Productive Year Ever!

5 Simple Ways to Make 2022 Your Most Productive Year Ever!

Traditionally, the start of a new year is a time for change…especially given the last few years!

Everyone in business is always looking for ways to get more done in less time with less stress and frustration.

As a speaker, trainer and educator with Microsoft Office programs for over twenty years, here are 5 simple ways to leverage programs we all use in business to set yourself up to make 2022 your most productive year ever!

NOTE: To see how to do each item, take a look at my how to video below each tip!

Tip 1 — Change your Email program to open in Calendar View

Ever finished your workday only to feel like you haven’t got anything done? Or perhaps you have opened your email, started reading and responding only to find an hour later you are late for a meeting? If that’s the case, it’s likely you are allowing other people’s priorities, rather than your own, to drive your working day.

Research on The Cost of Interrrupted Work: More Speed and Stress from from USC Irvine’s Gloria Mark and Humboldt University’s Daniela Gudith and Ulrich Klocke suggests of their research subjects that “After only 20 minutes of interrupted performance, people reported significantly higher stress, frustration, workload and effort.”

When I first start working with clients, over 95% of them share that they open their email program as soon as they start their workday, and leave it open all day. With so much communication via email, and so few organizations providing guidelines or expectations of response times, many feel pressure to always have their email open, just in case something “URGENT” comes in.

A simple way to turn this around is to change your email program to open in Calendar view first. If your projects, tasks and meetings are in your calendar, this focusses your attention onto what YOU have scheduled for the day, and in turn what YOU want to achieve which automatically makes you more productive and less fragmented.

Action: Change your email program to open in Calendar View rather than Inbox.

Tip 2 Change Meeting Lengths

Meetings have generally been set at a default 60 minutes long. Parkinson’s Law states that the amount of work expands to fill the available time. So, if a face to face meeting is scheduled for 60 minutes, generally it takes 60 minute, that’s of course without considering additional time lost travelling to and from a meeting.

With the arrival and acceptance of virtual meetings, in many instances the default is still 60 minutes. Changing meeting times from 60 to 45 minutes offers several productivity benefits. A 45 minute meeting provides a framework of expectation and a goal to work towards. That the meeting will be focused and conclude at 45 minutes. A 45 minute meeting also offers a 15 minute window to close off any notes or document action items before moving onto the next meeting or task, or in the event there is nothing to document, you now have an extra 15 minutes available to get on with another task.

Action: Change default calendar meeting and appointment to 45 minutes in length.

Tip 3 Email Rules

If you’ve not used Rules in your email program you are missing out on an awesome opportunity to automate common tasks. Instead of having to deal with emails when they arrive in your inbox, email rules sort and act on your email based upon criteria you set.

Want to file all newsletters in a folder for you to read when you have a chance, no problem, set a rule so that when an email arrives that meets the criteria specified it by-passes your Inbox and heads straight to your “reading” folder, leaving your Inbox free for emails requiring your direct attention. Use email rules to file emails you send so they are automatically moved to a client folder. Then when you need to locate an email related to a particular client, all the sent and received items are in the same folder.

Email rules act as your own personal assistant and are a ‘game changer’ particularly if you receive a lot of email that needs to be processed or read as opposed to actioned.

Action: Identify rules that help automate filing or sorting of emails to reduce the clutter in your Inbox to make it easier to find information or to file items for you to read at a time that suits you.

Tip 4 Stop Doing Things

Every new year so many of us make resolutions to do something, like lose weight or get fit. This year instead of ADDING to your load of things to do, I suggest you SUBTRACT!

Consider what you could STOP doing.

Everyone has one or two things they do with technology that are time wasters. Perhaps it is a report you do that you know no one uses or reads anymore; perhaps you know you say YES too often to help others out at the expense of your own priorities; or maybe it’s scrolling through LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter under the guise of “keeping in touch”.

We all have things we do that may once have provided us with value in our work lives but are now no longer valuable. Identify what no longer adds value to your day, or workflow, or team and STOP doing it. An Important side note, if what you want to stop doing is something you have done for others, you may want to check in to let them know, or give then some notice before you stop doing it!

Action: Determine what you can or need to STOP doing and stop doing it.

Tip 5. Start Switching Off

In a world of 24/7 connectivity, it can be hard to switch off. But in the same way our body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate, our mind needs time to be disconnected from technology. Make this year the year you start switching off.

This can be as simple as choosing not to check emails after 5pm on weeknight; or not checking email on weekends. It provides an opportunity for your brain to be disconnected from technology and thinking and to be exposed and fully present to exploring time with family, friends, hobbies or anything that brings you joy and happiness. In his seminal best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, advocates as Habit Number 7, how important it is to “Sharpen the Saw” to be at our productive best.

Likewise, investment guru, Warren Buffet is credited as sharing his time management lesson of not having a fully packed calendar and leaving time for thinking. Additionally, when CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates would often take a week or more off to read and review information or just be with his own thoughts. If it’s good enough for these two, then it’s good enough for you too!

Action: Schedule time to switch off each evening or on weekends to recharge and think.

Whilst these 5 simple changes may seem like common sense things to do, they just aren’t always common practice!

Want more help getting productive in 2022 with Microsoft Office programs and really commit to making 2022 your most productive year EVER?

Here are 5 ways I can help:

1. FREE 5 Microsoft Excel Tips Mini eCourse: https://bit.ly/3tCLUZ2

2. Enroll in my Self-Study Data Analysis with Microsoft Excel Simplified Course – lifetime access : https://bit.ly/3DsC3cD

3. Join my Productivity Academy – access to 10+ of my online courses and a monthly group Zoom coaching/training call for $67 per month: https://bit.ly/3reJ8K3

4. Book a private call: https://calendly.com/bookdonna

5. Enquire about a presentation or training session for your team: Book a Discovery call : https://calendly.com/bookdonna

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