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Is Time On Your Side?

The arrival of fall with its shorter days and crisp temperatures reminds us of long-held practices, many of which began when we were school children. The slower days of summer are over and the final quarter of the year is upon us; it’s a time to shift our mindset to personal productivity and get moving on that to-do list of priorities. While great in theory, being consistently productive throughout the day is difficult to achieve. In The New York Times article “Time Wasted? Perhaps It’s Well Spent,” Steve Pavlina reveals that the average office worker is engaged in work-related activity only 1.5 hours per day. The rest of the time is spent socializing, on the Internet, eating, making phone calls, shuffling papers, and engaging in other non-work activities. Sounds extreme, but it is a rare few of us who are satisfied with how much we accomplish in a day.
Conduct a Google search for “time management” and you’ll find countless tips on how to improve productivity: set daily goals, touch each paper on your desk only once, return e-mails within 24 hours, and maintain a clear desk at all times, but sticking to these practices can be unrealistic with so many distractions at hand. So, how do you stay focused no matter how unappealing the task? We’ve pulled together several suggestions that we have found to be helpful to us at Admiral Metals. We hope you will, too.
Carve out time that is yours alone. Interruptions, like an email inbox pop up, are the bane of focus and productivity. Try setting an “out of office” message, shutting down your email and silencing your phone for a specific time each day.
Make it public. There’s nothing quite as effective as a little peer pressure to help get something done. When you inform coworkers that you plan to finish a project, you will be more likely to see the job through.
Maintain momentum. Newton’s First Law of Motion tells us that when you enter a state of motion, the momentum carries you, making it difficult to stop. Take a break as you need it, but make your breaks productive, like a quick walk to think about what you’re tackling next. Then, get to it.
Change your environment. Altering your environment can diminish distractions. Family photos, a message requiring follow up, or a personal bill on your desk can all take your mind elsewhere. Try moving to a conference room or cafeteria where you might find it easier to focus.
Employee Spotlight
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Gabrielle Castro, Admirals’ Sales and Marketing Coordinator
When it comes to Admiral Care, no one is more familiar with the impact of customer service excellence than Gabby Castro. As Admiral Metals’ Sales and Marketing Coordinator, she coordinates the details of the way in which Admiral communicates service and quality, then measures its impact. She’s the engine that keeps the sales and marketing team rolling in the right direction.
A long-time intern here at Admiral, and a recent graduate of Fairfield University majoring in English, she brings a fresh approach to Admiral Metals’ communications. Look for the launch of our Facebook Page next month, we may need to change her title to Social Media Engineer.
If only I’d thought to take my phone with me, I could be getting some work done.
Write things down. Free your mind from the distraction of needing to complete one task while working on another by writing it down. Dedicate one notebook for your to-do list. The act of writing something down helps commit you to doing it and allows nothing to slip through the cracks. No one likes having a task sit on their “to do” list for long and we all know how satisfying it can be to cross a project off a list.
Stop surfing the web. The Internet is an endless vault of time wasters. That’s why it’s called “the web;” there’s so much interconnected content to read. Blogger Mark Wieczorek created a simple webpage with the words “Get Back To Work” with a spot to write down his next goal. It’s his homepage and stands as a firm reminder every time he opens his browser.
Follow the one-minute rule. Don’t postpone any task that can be done in less than one minute. Because the tasks are so quick, it isn’t too hard to follow the rule and it yields big results.
Buy necessary supplies and keep them in order. There are those who ascribe to the old saying “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools.” Not us at Admiral. When you have the right tools, and keep them organized, it increases your productivity and limits the frustration associated with looking for something lost.
Do what’s important first. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states, “80{41f8e085fc68038a2da2699f98ad8aea8b7e87e25f742017f6f76a0b55118d3c} of the outputs come from 20{41f8e085fc68038a2da2699f98ad8aea8b7e87e25f742017f6f76a0b55118d3c} of the inputs.” The same is true of productivity; 80{41f8e085fc68038a2da2699f98ad8aea8b7e87e25f742017f6f76a0b55118d3c} of your results come from 20{41f8e085fc68038a2da2699f98ad8aea8b7e87e25f742017f6f76a0b55118d3c} of the time and effort you invest. Try to determine which tasks on your “to do” list will produce results that will bring you closer to your goals. Focus on what’s important and try to eliminate the rest.
Set tighter deadlines. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson realized you adjust yourself to the deadlines you are given. When you set tighter deadlines it will force you to focus on what’s important and get straight to the point.
It’s not easy to stay on top of every detail, remain organized and operate at top efficiency at all times. It takes practice. Take small steps first; they can bring about big results. And the satisfaction of a productive day can be motivation enough to keep those practices going.
In order to provide our customers with the highest standard of Admiral Care, we can’t afford to let our productivity wane. Our Admiral Care customer care team endeavors to provide our customers with top quality service. These tips have helped us stay on track and we hope they will benefit you, too.
How do you remain productive in your work? We’d like to hear from you with tips or tricks you use to get the most out of your day.
Now, it’s time for me to get back to work…
Wishing you the very best in business,
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