After a year of new responsibilities and challenges, we all have hit a wall. It doesn’t matter if you are exhausted, suffering from a time loss or just trying to get back on track; it’s not easy to get back on the right path. This is why software providers, authors, and consulting firms have created a multibillion-dollar industry focusing on productivity. You don’t need to spend much money to get more from your day. These are some simple and cost-effective work habits that Successful HR Leaders swear by.
Are you feeling stuck? We asked HR professionals to share their top productivity hacks.
- Daily “Scrum Meetings”
Software engineers are familiar with Scrum meetings, a hallmark of agile product delivery. These short 15-minute meetings allow team members to share their daily priorities, progress and challenges. HR leaders referred to these meetings as “scrums” or daily “stand-ups”. They gave the team structure and helped them prioritize tasks.
“We have daily meetings like a project team would organize a scrum.” This keeps us connected on everything HR-related,” stated Sara Whitman, Chief People Officer of Hot Paper Lantern. We go over the essential things, discuss how our actions align with our business strategy, and exchange what we hear outside our agency, brainstorm, and keep socially connected.
- Templates for Building
Although a career in HR can be fraught with unexpected challenges, there are still repetitive parts. You can easily spend a lot of time on administrative tasks such as following up with job applicants or sending welcome packets to new hires. Reusing old answers can help you save time if an employee contacts you with a frequent question. Human resource leaders said they have a lot of templates for almost every situation.
Paul French, the Managing Director of Intrinsic Search, an employment firm, said, “Over the years I’ve tried not to reinvent the wheel by creating templates I can easily retrieve or refer to.” Instead of creating a new set of questions each time I interview a developer, I have a template I can pull out and use to conduct the interview. Google Drive makes it easy to create and retrieve templates.
- The “Pomodoro Technique”
Time management has been a hot topic in business circles since the beginning of a business. Recent praise has been heaped on the “Pomodoro Technique” by management experts and some HR leaders. This approach combines focus time with frequent breaks. Francesco Cirillo is the creator of the time management model. He specifically suggests that professionals:
- Choose the task that they are most interested in.
- You can set a timer for 25 mins and then work on the task.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Continue for four more 25-minute rounds or until the task is completed.
- After you are done, take a break for 15-30 minutes.
Darrell Rosenstein, founder and CEO of The Rosenstein Group, an HR firm, said that time is a significant enemy for many HR professionals. “I devote 25 minutes of concentrated, timed attention to complete an important task. After that, I take a brief break to meditate or walk around the block. It has helped me to manage deadlines, avoid distractions, avoid burnout, and have a better work-life mix.
- Working Outside
We spend nearly 90% of our lives indoors. This percentage may be higher for those who do not commute to work. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that working outside occasionally can increase engagement, memory retention, stress levels, and physical health. Although it may sound counterintuitive, HR leaders said that working remotely has allowed them to enjoy more fresh air — which has helped them reap professional rewards.
“I have changed my morning routine since I moved to remote. Whitman stated that while I meditate every day, I now make it a habit to exercise and sit in his front yard every morning to read or to write. It has helped me get my day started fresh. If I don’t have the time to finish my work in the morning, I do as much outside as possible during the day. My Wi-Fi can allow me to make video calls and take pictures. It’s been quite reliable.
- Get Enough Sleep
We all enjoy coffee and need to get us going in the morning. You can’t ignore the importance of sleep. 43% of professionals need to get more. Many HR leaders have mentioned how important sleep is in their mental clarity and decision-making ability.
“Most HR professionals view sleep as something you can power through and get caffeinated over,” stated Jagoda Wieczorek. You can get by with just a few sleepless nights per month. It’s not a problem if this becomes a routine. I recommend the built-in iPhone bedtime app, which reminds you each night when it’s finally time to go to sleep.
- Stay Connected
People teams perform best when influencing business strategy and impacting people’s lives. It’s easier to achieve either when you are isolated — and HR departments have a history of being seen as closed-off for confidentiality reasons. You can break this stereotype by making an effort to be involved in other areas of the business. One HR leader explained how she does it.
“Keeping in touch with the product and service teams and our overall business goals is my best work habit. “HR is the link between leadership and frontlines. This means that our daily habits must be designed to connect with employees.
- Deep Focus Sessions
Are you putting off something for a while now? You might find it helpful to have a deep focus session, or “Cave Day”, to get you on track. These sessions are facilitated and can be held in person or virtually. They involve professionals coming together to commit to completing a series of sprints. Participants give up their smartphones or disable them in virtual sessions. Then they…work. It’s the professional equivalent of a study hall.
Cave Day is a great cause that I support. Whitman stated that this community of remote workers has been incredibly beneficial to her of the solitude and time she needs to think and to work on large projects. But Whitman added that the accountability and motivation from others keep her moving. It’s great to see what other people are doing. It has given me great ideas to incorporate into our internal meetings to add energy and variety.
- Listening to music
Research has shown certain types of music can improve your mood and productivity. You can mix and match music genres to enhance your ability to complete specific tasks. For example, pop and dance music can improve data entry and proofreading. Wearing headphones in an office setting can indicate that you are busy and don’t want to be distracted.
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