168 hours! That’s how much time each of us have per week. The majority of these 168 hours will be spent in bed, hopefully being sound asleep. The second biggest chunk is being taken up by our work. Being in the Middle East, we often face working outside of our normal working hours. Who doesn’t work with colleagues in Western countries which are 2, 3 or even 8 hours behind our time zone and which have the Monday – Friday working week instead of our Sunday – Thursday working week?
Just like you, I don’t want to spend day and night working. There are too many great things in Dubai (and in life) which I like to experience. Over the years, I’ve been experimenting with different approaches to become more efficient. Here are some tips to help you work smarter and enjoy life more:
First things first
Use the first time in the office to work on your biggest frog, the activity you’d most likely procrastinate. As Mark Twain said it, once that is out of the way, everything else will become so much easier to handle.
- It’s very tempting to start each day going through your emails. Don’t!
- Turn email notifications off. You don’t need to see every email that arrives pop up with an extra notification.
- Check you emails less often. This may be a challenge so see if you can ignore your inbox for 30 minutes at first and gradually increase it to 45, 60 or 90 minutes.
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary emails and newsletters. If you don’t read the newsletter or are no longer interested in the topic, don’t fill your mailbox with it.
- Prior to scheduling any meetings, ask yourself: Can I obtain the information through a quick call?
- Reduce your standard meeting time to 30 minutes.
- Before inviting a group (or as I call them, a party), ask who needs to be present and who just needs to be aware about the outcome of the meeting. Use the “required” and “optional” invite options.
- If you are inviting for a face-to-face meeting, can you hold it at a different location (meeting at the coffee shop or going for a walk)? A different scenery helps getting innovative ideas and solutions. Plus you avoid the sedentary nature of an office job.
- Start meetings on time with an agenda, which you shared prior to the meeting. Afterwards, send out a status update and an action plan.
Recharge your batteries during the day
- Remember to keep your body hydrated during the day. Have a glass or bottle of water standing within sight on your desk. Go easy on caffeinated and carbonated soft drinks.
- Take a lunch break – away from the computer. Sit with your colleagues in your cafeteria or go for a walk during your lunch hour. Give your eyes a break from looking at the screen.
- Eat a balanced diet. Prepare some healthy snacks like nuts and apple instead of crisps.
Before you leave the office
- Clear your desk at the end of the day.
- File that print out and the documents worked out today. Put away any stationary.
- Look at tomorrow’s agenda and prepare your to do list for the next day. By what time to you need to be in the office?
- Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or wash any used dishes.
What changes will you be implementing this week? I’m looking forward to reading your comments about how you are increasing your productivity.