Whether working from home or in an office setting, it can be easy to get distracted from work. Grabbing coffee with a co-worker or taking a quick break to surf the web can quickly turn into time lost from the task at hand. Even too much work can lead to overwhelm, frustration and, ultimately, procrastination.
While managers want employees to take breaks when needed and have some freedom with their workloads, it can be challenging to balance all this while also fostering productivity. For leaders looking to help their teams achieve that balance, try encouraging your employees to take up these daily habits, suggested by a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members. Below, these experts list the habits they’ve instilled in their own teams to help them gain more focus and boost productivity.
I think mindfulness is hugely underrated for inspiring better decision making and improved productivity. For some reason, certain business leaders appreciate and specifically recruit individuals who make split-second decisions and react quickly. This isn’t always a well-thought out strategy. Instead, it’s often better to take your time and not react too emotionally to stressful situations. More often than not, employees who can stay mindful and cool under pressure do a better job than stressed-out split-second decision makers. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
When I was starting out, I’d go to my boss for all the answers, and each time I’d go to him, he’d say, “How do you think you’d do it?” or “I don’t know; why don’t you figure it out?” Every time I heard this response, I had to go to other team members, reflect back on what I could do differently and get my work done. I learned two things: 1. You’re hired so you can tell the team what needs to be done, and then the other way round. 2. The ability to self-learn pushes you to build relationships within teams, become more independent and have ownership in the work you do. That’s why I try to instill a figure-it-out attitude in my team today. The more you self-learn, the more ownership you’ll have in your work, which in turn naturally makes you want to be more productive and focused. – Nirman Dave, Obviously AI
Even before the pandemic, I encouraged my team to practice meditation. It became even more important during the pandemic, as anxiety and stress levels rose, often subconsciously. I keep meditation easy and simple at my company. Implementing it as a daily habit does not need to be stressful or a major deal! For example, at the beginning of each meeting, I simply set aside 90 seconds for meditation. This helps people focus, manage stress levels and frame their mindset for the rest of the day. On the days we don’t have a meeting, I send gentle reminders for them to do it when they have time. I have found that just five minutes a day of meditation contribute to employee and company health. – Shu Saito, All Filters
I encourage my team to prioritize at the start of each day. Ask yourself, what are the most important two to three things I can do today to advance our shared goals? The answer to this question isn’t always the same as what’s on your current to-do list, and recognizing that and adjusting is really important. Once you’ve identified the most important things, then focus on ensuring the structures (e.g., a dedicated, uninterrupted work block) and your mindset (e.g., taking a walk or making a cup of tea to clear your mind) are ready for the task at hand. Whenever a team member is struggling to prioritize, we huddle and usually answer the priority question, and finding the right supporting conditions unlocks productivity and ongoing focus. – Danielle Allen, Building Impact
5. Meeting With The Team
Host a daily huddle. Every team should meet briefly (either in person or via phone) for approximately one minute per team member to share what they’re doing that day, what’s blocking them (if anything) and some good news to keep things positive. This simple meeting will keep your team and company aligned, moving forward and upbeat. – Matt Knee, MyCompanyWorks, Inc.
Honor periods of disconnection. Every day, I turn my out-of-office message on, put my cell phone on silent and focus on the most important task at hand for a few hours. This time spent uninterrupted allows me to make massive movements forward instead of spending time answering all the interruptions that would otherwise flood in. Our entire team has started to embody this habit. As a result, we work faster and with fewer errors than before. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
7. Time Blocking
Time blocking is a great habit to encourage your team to try. Teaching them to block out time for priorities is a strategic way to help them easily tackle the priorities and also have time for other tasks they want to be able to complete. I like to encourage my team to add that time they blocked off to their work calendar. This way, the rest of the team can see what time slots are available to schedule with them, should they need something. Additionally, setting a Slack status to let your team know when you’re busy is also a good way to communicate without having to email everyone to let them know not to send urgent requests during that given time period. Overall, time blocking has helped our team immensely, and it promotes more respect for each other’s time. – John Hall, Calendar
8. Movement Breaks
Whether your team is back at the office or working remotely, the best daily habit they can form is to physically get up, step away from their computer and move. Our team gets a 15-minute morning and afternoon break. During that time, we urge everyone to get up and move, whether that’s going on a walk, getting in a short yoga session or even doing laundry. What’s most important is that small disconnect from the screen and getting their blood circulating. By resetting their bodies and minds for that short period of time, they’re able to work with more positive intentions and avoid burnout. Sure, it sounds like common sense, but we’re all guilty of getting too caught up in staring at the screen for hours. Get your team in the habit of this practice each month and then survey them to get their thoughts. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.