As our ability to instantaneously access everything from a bank account balance to a DVD rental to friends from high school, it’s easy to be lulled into the assumption that faster is always better. But when it comes to workplace productivity, there’s much to be said for a more deliberate, well-paced approach with ample accommodation for breaks to share knowledge or just to share lunch. We break down the four simple – but oft-overlooked – ways to elevate your productivity.
Recent surveys show that proper lunch breaks on are on the decline due to increasing workloads. But eating less so that you can get more done is a false proposition when it comes to productivity. As a recent Web Worker Daily article points out, “Skipping meals leads to poor cognitive functioning, including loss of memory, concentration, the ability to learn, hand-eye coordination and catching mistakes.” Like any engine, our brains need fuel to keep going. By building lunch breaks into your company culture, and personal routine, you can actually improve productivity and focus.
It has been proven that people who take breaks to exercise during work hours are happier, calmer, and more productive. In a 2008 study in England, 72% of participants reported that working out improved their time management, in addition to having other positive impacts, such as making them more pleasant to work with. Often, we feel so busy and overwhelmed that finding the time to exercise seems impossible, but the improved productivity and focus that it yields makes the time spent a worthy investment.
Behance has always advocated the notion of utilizing appreciations rather than criticism to motivate team members, and a recent study spotlighted in the Harvard Business Review reiterates the case for positivity. While anger works well for motivating army recruits, leaders who govern teams working on tight deadlines have more success when they transmit their objectives with enthusiasm and encouragement.
A key part of any management role is being a good teacher, but it’s easy to forget the importance of passing along knowledge when we’re overworked and pressed for time. More often than not, we opt for just “doing it ourselves” when someone asks a question or does an inadequate job with a task. In the short-run, it’s faster. But in the long run, such behavior just paves the way for having to do the task yourself again in the future. Or as RISD president John Maeda recently put it, “Leading by doing ceases to be leading when you are doing more than leading.” A good work culture emphasizes the importance of taking the time to explain everything from a best practice for dealing with clients on down to a basic Photoshop technique. Once the knowledge is passed on, you can delegate.
***This post by
***This post byJ.K. Glei is based on research by the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the 99% productivity think thank, the Action Method project management application, and the Creative Jobs List.