Professionals exalt the concept of productivity as the almighty answer to all of our problems, our greatest objective and the No. 1 challenge to our personal and professional growth. In an age where cutting-edge technology is the norm, you’d think we’d have this whole productivity quandary put to bed. Unfortunately, even with automation abound, HR representatives seem to face more maxed out inboxes and higher mounds of paperwork than ever before.
So what’s keeping you from unleashing the powerhouse of productivity you know you’re destined to become? The answer isn’t necessarily that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but that certain productivity vampires are sucking precious time from your already overburdened schedule.
Here are a few of the most common productivity time traps for HR reps and how you can strategize your way to a solution.
1. Poor Priority Management
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when everything on your to-do list is marked “urgent.” That’s why it’s imperative to prioritize your tasks. Systematically arrange items by time-sensitivity and length of time to complete. If an extremely large project is looming, finish smaller, equally time-sensitive projects first. This way, when you move on to tackle the larger beast, you’ll have a clear head and more wiggle room in your schedule.
However, beware of the perpetual back burner. Over time, those less important tasks can add up to become their own giant, looming monster. If you begin to notice too much to-do list carry-over, devote a block of time to tackling these tasks head-on or delegate them to others.
2. Distraction Overload
Part of the reason technology seems to hinder productivity is because we allow it to control every aspect of our lives. It’s amazing how quickly a 5-minute Facebook break can turn into a 40-minute vortex of cat videos and newsfeed political debates. While it’s certainly better for your productivity level (not to mention your sanity) to take small breaks throughout the day, spending your breaks on the wrong activities can do more harm than good.
Instead, be cognizant of the amount of time you spend on various distractions. Consider utilizing a time-tracker to hold yourself accountable and stay on task.
3. Ineffective Organization
Think back to your school days. You arrived on the first day of class with a set of brand new notebooks, neatly labeled and color-coordinated. However, by midterms, your once-pristine notebooks were marred by scrawled reminders and loose papers haphazardly stashed between dog-eared pages without rhyme or reason.
We fall prey to the same mistakes in our professional lives. Even with the best of intentions, our organizational skills fall to the wayside as soon as major projects hit crunch time. That’s because good organization requires regular maintenance. By allocating just a few minutes per day to organizing your workspace, you can save yourself hours of frustration.
4. Lack of Automation
Some companies avoid HR automation for one simple reason: They’re not fully convinced technology can replace good, old-fashioned human labor. The flaw in this logic is that even the best employees hit a threshold. After that point, quality can suffer. On the other hand, well-managed automation can save companies hours of labor and eliminate human error.
Reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews and chasing down potential candidates are all tasks that can quickly consume your workday. However, these are also activities that can be accomplished via automation—thereby freeing up hours of valuable time for employee onboarding, team building and other pressing matters.
Recognizing HR productivity vampires and eradicating time traps will help you continually increase your level of efficiency. Follow these tips and who knows? You may even enjoy a full lunch hour every once in awhile.