At JP, we love our acronyms:
J.P. = Jane and Paul
R.O.W.E. = Results Only Work Environment
W.F.H. = Working From Home
T.Y.V.M. = Thank You Very Much
In life, we love our acronyms:
J.S.Y.K. = Just So You Know
I.C.Y.M.I. = In Case You Missed It
T.F.W. = That Feeling When
D.Y.K. = Did You Know
Heck, even commercials are starting to cash in on the use of what I like to call “wackronyms,” (wacky-acronyms) and getting their points across through the use of acronyms. Sometimes they’re so outrageous you can’t help but remember them.
But how can silly acronyms help you at work? More specifically, how can they help you be more efficient, more excited and more engaged in your work, while at work?
Easy. Just start chanting “S.T.O.R.E.” (Kidding …kinda)
No, don’t chant the word out loud in your office. Just remember it as a little acronym when you’re feeling like you’re drowning. Actually, remember it BEFORE you get to the point of feeling like you’re drowning.
So when I say “S.T.O.R.E.” I’m not talking about your favorite retailer. I’m talking about the acronym I’ve come up with to help with my productivity at work:
S – Stop multitasking and focus on the job (or person) in front of you.
T – Track your time and see how much time you’re spending on tasks.
O – Organize your day (or week) and prioritize your deadlines.
R – Rest your mind for a minute and take a break.
E – Exercise throughout the day and restart your brain.
Sounds counterintuitive, right?
“I’m great at multitasking and I can get the job done,” is probably a line we’ve either said or heard (to some degree) in a potential new-hire interview. And while we live in a world where people watch TV while scrolling through their phones – and have conversations with someone while texting someone else – multitasking is not always the most productive thing you can do during your “9 to 5.”
Research shows that people who attempted to complete multiple tasks at once actually took longer and were less successful in completing both tasks than a person who focused on one project at a time.
Plus, I mean c’mon – it’s rude when your significant other is talking to you and you’re nodding your head but actually trying to text a meme to another friend – am I right?
Track Your Time
This might feel funny to some, but it’s beneficial in the long run. See how long you’re taking on tasks and set yourself internal deadlines for specific projects. If you work at, say an advertising agency, chances are you’re using a project management tool that allows you to track your time easily.
If you’re a freelancer, there are plenty of tools out there to help track your time. Either way, it’s best to go into projects with a plan/projected number of minutes or hours you want to spend on something. Or you’ll find yourself four hours into a project and the Netflix playing on your TV is asking “Are You Still There?”
Track your time so you don’t lose track of it.
Organize and Prioritize
When I find myself just coming off a large task or right out of a meeting, I look at my email and can easily get overwhelmed. When trying to organize my workload, I always see two parts to this – we can refer to them as the “sprints” and “miles.”
The “sprints” are those tasks that come up that you can complete in five minutes or less. Shooting off a quick email, sending a logo file to a client, forwarding a request for some changes to an existing project. If you can do those quickly, do them then. It actually would take you longer to come back and finish these tasks than to do them right then and there.
The second, the “miles,” are those tasks that are going to take you longer to complete. You need to get others involved, collaborate and really concentrate to complete them. Prioritize those based on when they’re due and what’s involved in the scope of work.
Don’t just try to clear out your inbox. Take time and see what you can conquer immediately versus what you need to be planful for.
You don’t need to overthink this one. It’s just as it sounds: rest. Take advantage of a five-minute break when you can. Essentially, you’ll be more productive when you take short breaks throughout a long process rather than trying to finish it all at once.
I mean, I don’t know about you, but my attention span is worse than…. Squirrel!
So, I’m not just saying this because I teach a Cardio Fun(k) class part-time (and yes, that’s another shameless plug). I’m saying to get up and exercise throughout the day because those mid-day walking breaks really help to jumpstart your focus, your brain, and even increase your energy.
And let’s face it: if you go for a walk with someone, that gives you a chance to share all the latest gossip (like if Nicki Minaj and Cardi B are really beefing or not).
Well there it is. Feel more productive yet?
You probably spent about five minutes reading this, right? Did you track your time for that? (See what I did there)
–Carlos Perez, Account Manager