HR professionals like you have a lot to do regarding managing the people experience within an organization. Managing all the responsibilities and projects within a nine-to-5 work day can be challenging.
Although we can’t reduce your to-do lists, some science-backed hacks and tips can help you accomplish more tasks in less time.
Let’s not procrastinate and get on with this list of 19 productivity hacks that HR professionals can use, right?
The first productivity tip?
Best Productivity Hacks to Help HR Professionals
- Make a daily plan
Each morning when you arrive at work, take 15 minutes to plan your day. Be strategic. Think about your ultimate goal and then plan how you will achieve it step by step.
After identifying your goal, write down the tasks you must complete today to get there. What are the obstacles you see? What resources are you going to need? Start by creating a simple, strategic plan that will help you succeed today.
- First, tackle the most difficult tasks
Look at your to-do lists and decide to do the quick tasks first. This will give you momentum and a sense of accomplishment. Then, it won’t leave enough energy or time to tackle the more complex tasks. They often spill over into the next day.
It’s okay to break down complex tasks into smaller chunks and spread them over several days. You will feel more accomplished if you start your day with your most challenging task or the one you enjoy the least.
You may have a difficult conversation that you are putting off, or you’re tired of tedious data entry. Do it. Put aside the part of your brain telling you to put it off and get on with the challenge.
You should complete the most difficult tasks first and ensure that you meet the most important jobs early in the morning.
Once you have created your day’s strategic and simple to-do list, add numbers to each task. One is the most important, and 10 is the easiest. You should try to complete as many tasks as possible in the “one” category. Don’t worry if you can’t get to the more important items.
- Do not multitask
Multitaskers, bad news! You’re doing your brain no favours. Stanford University research shows that our brains are not wired to concentrate simultaneously on more than one set of information.
Multitasking can also hinder your ability to complete tasks. It could even affect your intelligence over the long term.
“A University of London study found that multitasking participants experienced IQ scores declines similar to what they would expect if they smoked marijuana or stayed awake all night,” says Travis Bradberry, Forbes. Yikes!
Stop multitasking. Your brain will be grateful that you close all tabs in your internet browser and concentrate on one task at a given time.
- Combine similar tasks
Let your brain guide you as you go through your to-do lists. Switching between data analysis and verbal or written tasks can take time and effort. Try to break them down into smaller chunks during your day:
- Get rid of all phone calls.
- Start working on emails.
- Give yourself enough time to switch to data-brain for administrative tasks.
It is a waste of time to switch between tasks all day. Keep switching between missions to a minimum.
- Meditate daily
Meditation daily will help you build your willpower. Peter Bregman says that while your urges will not disappear, you will be more equipped to handle them.” Harvard Business Review.
Meditation can help you be more focused and efficient and make your conversations more productive. Bregman explains that meditation can help you communicate your thoughts in a meeting, but you know it’s better to listen than speak.
You are often confronted with difficult management situations as HR professionals. This frustration can cause you to lose focus and make it harder for you to do your job. Meditation can help you keep control of your thoughts and your day.
- Start a work sprint
Research shows that people are more productive when they run for 52 minutes, followed by 17-minute breaks. Instead of focusing for as long as possible, you can set a timer on the phone or computer for 52 minutes and see how many things you can accomplish in that time.
It is possible to get distracted from the task every ten minutes, especially if it is difficult or something you don’t enjoy. That’s okay. Getting your brain used to stay focused for nearly an hour at a stretch may take some time. Allow distractions to occur, but learn to recognize them and gently redirect your attention back to the task.
When your 52 minutes are up, pat yourself on the back. Refrain from being tempted to take your 17-minute rest to get more done now that you have momentum. Get up and drink some water. Then, take a break. Next, get back into the race.
- Know your deadlines
Sometimes, a strict deadline can be all that’s needed to motivate us, even if it is self-imposed.
Deadlines can be a severe issue for HR professionals. If they are missed, you could have compliance problems and expose your company to liability. For example, if you still need to add your employee to your benefits plan (opens in a new window) upon their 91st employment day. Make sure you are aware of the deadlines.
Knowing your deadlines will help you prioritize. Understanding your deadlines will help you prioritize, whether a colleague asks for a favour or your boss offers to add something to your plate.
This brings us to the next point…
- Learn how to say “no!”
You know that HR professionals must be “yes” people. This means being open to new challenges and willing to help colleagues.
Sometimes, however, you may spend too much time tackling new tasks that you feel your day is slipping away. Even if you have done many things in the day, it cannot be easy to feel productive if you are still looking at the same to-do lists that you started the day.
Understanding your priorities and your deadlines will help you say no when necessary. It is important to help others, but not at your expense.
- Eliminate distractions
Although we know that multitasking is not something we are good at, sometimes we do it even though we don’t intend to. Our phone buzzes in our pockets while we’re in a meeting. We are reviewing resumes, and our computer is constantly flooded with email and Slack notifications. These distractions can have a negative impact on our brains and productivity more than we may realize.
Are you looking to accomplish a difficult task? Find a quiet place, close your email app, and then turn off your phone. You can ignore any requests until you are done with the task at hand. Open office? Use sound-reducing headphones. A sign that states “Do Not Disturb” can be made for your desk to let colleagues know that you are in the middle of an important thing.
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