Top Ways to Boost Your Productivity
The old adage that accountancy is a boring, staid job has been proven wrong by recent research. The changing nature of the profession makes it one of the most challenging. In a survey compiled by E Financial Careers, accountancy was classified as the ninth most stressful job. This is particularly true for professionals who interact with traders on a regular basis. Career Builder Canada, meanwhile, lists accountancy as third in its stressful professions list, since accountants “not only deal with a client’s finances, but also have to take into immediate account volumes of rules and regulations that change each year.” Stress can propel employees into greater action, but also hamper productivity in the long run. In this post, we highlight important steps accountants can take to improve their productivity, health, and well being.
Improving sleep hygiene
Research carried out by the RAND Corporation has found that a lack of sleep costs the Canadian economy $21 billion, and 80,000 lost working days. Health experts recommend that adults obtain at least eight hours of sleep a night. However, more than a quarter of Canadians sleep for less than seven hours. Sleep deprivation not only increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes; but also affects our productivity, hampering focus, cognitive function, and working memory. Good sleep hygiene will boost your performance, helping you sustain attention and giving you the energy need to work at your best. It essentially involves establishing a nightly bedtime routine, avoiding stimulating foods and beverages in the afternoon. As well, avoiding the use of gadgets prior to bedtime is important. Ensure your room is comfortable, quiet, and dark. Finally, exercise daily so you are tired at night and more likely to fall asleep quickly.
Consider mindfulness training
Mindfulness, or simply ‘keeping the mind in the present moment’, has been found to improve focus, manage stress, and improve how employees work together. This is why many companies are investing in mindfulness training. The latter can involve mindfulness meditation, found in numerous studies to improve attention, cognition, emotions, behaviour, and physiology. If mindfulness training is not offered in your office, consider it worthy of pursuing yourself. Not only will it reduce stress, hone your mental sharpness and help you work better with others, but also boost your empathy and compassion – which are particularly important if you are a team leader.
Honing time management skills
The most efficient way to battle stress is to manage your time well. Break larger goals into small ones. Make your first task of the day a draft list of what you need to get done throughout the day. American entrepreneur Steve Olenski has a useful tip he calls the ‘two-minute rule’. The latter involves immediately completing tasks that take two minutes or less. By doing so immediately, you will save time in the long run. The rule serves as a goal since you will inadvertently try to stick to this time frame, without allowing distractions to stand in the way of task completion.
Exercising at work
A study by researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute found that making time for exercise during work hours actually productivity. Those who do so tend to get more done, largely because they use the time they have more efficiently. Yet another study carried out at the University of Minnesota found that employees using treadmills instead of office chairs as they worked, were more productive!
We have mentioned just a few proven ways to improve productivity and save time, yet there are many more. To be more efficient with your time, try working on your own. Other effective stress busters include spending time in nature, doing Yoga or Tai Chi. If you find that you are bogged down by work, get on top of the situation by proactively tackling stress and improving your time management skills; your health and happiness depend on it!
Contribution from freelance writer Lucy Wyndham.