The days are drawing longer, there’s blossom on the trees and the air just feels that little bit more fresh, but what does daylight saving time (DST) really do, and more to the point, how does it affect us at work? The clocks go forward on Sunday 26th March, at 1am, but despite ‘longer’ days, research has shown that workers are generally less productive during the summer months.
How does DST affect productivity at work
A study by Christopher Barnes & David Wagner found that workers are less productive on the first Monday after DST, ‘cyberloafing’ - using their computers for anything other than work. They suggest it can take three weeks for productivity to restore itself when the clock are turned back in Autumn.
Express Productivity Workshop
To combat the energy slump during DST and restore productivity levels we have comprised some tips to help you to achieve maximum performance inside your working hours.
- Map your route
- Operate efficient meetings
- Exercise your right to be selfish
- Break the shackles
- Learn from the best
- Stock your arsenal with time-saving tools
Productivity is about time management; at its core it’s about producing a certain amount within a specific time frame. The easiest way to increase productivity levels is by predominantly establishing your vision. What is it that you are looking to accomplish? What is the end goal? If you don’t know where you are heading it is impossible to map the route.
By stating a clear set of objectives and breaking these down into manageable tasks within set time frames you can track your progression towards said goals and thus track your productivity.
Meetings are great for brainstorming and direction, but there is a tendency for them to run on for hours at a time, covering multiple topics. Capping meetings to half an hour will allow for the exchange of ideas, whilst simultaneously constructing an atmosphere respectful of people’s time. Similarly, stand-ups are a great way for colleagues to conceptualise plans swiftly and effectively.
To productively manage your tasks you may need to decline outside requests, focusing on the task at hand and only that. This can be difficult, but if you really want to achieve optimum efficiency it’s imperative to keep your vision at the forefront.
Looming deadlines are shackles to the desk, but one of the top ways to increase energy levels is exercise. Going for a run on your lunch break will exercise both your body and mind, allowing for higher levels of focus and overall productivity upon your return, alongside lowering your chances of cardiovascular disease. Win-win.
Gauge the productivity winners from your inner circles and mimic. Not all productivity traits are transferrable, but chances are if it’s working for someone else it will work for you. CEO of Reddit Steve Huffman advises not to respond to every email as a key component of time preservation. LinkedIn is also a great resource for following influencers and heeding their counsel.
Time or lack thereof, is a key component to the productivity equation. Buy yourself some time by using organisational tools such as Trello or Asana that allow you to prioritise your tasks from high to low, alongside setting deadlines and assigning tasks to others.
Struggling on a task? Move on. Operating at full capacity doesn’t have to mean tearing your hair out over a problem. Tackle a new task and give yourself some breathing room. By the time you return you’ll have a fresh outlook and hopefully a solution to the problem.