Jun 18, 2015

How to … Boost Productivity (Part 1)


Last week at the Chatelaine Profit W100 Idea Exchange for Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs conference (we dare you to say that 5 times fast!) our CEO, Grail Noble presented on a fundamental topic for business owners; productivity. Here are 3 of our top picks from her list of productivity boosting tools.

1) The Team Huddle (not cuddle, but you can do that if it is ok with HR)

The huddle brings the whole team together in one common space to share 3-5 individual goals for the 2 days between huddles. Video conferencing works for bigger teams or for when team members are on the road. Some teams do a huddle daily, but we find twice-weekly works best. Each person gets 1-2 mins max to speak, it helps the team to see how individual goals herringbone together, taking workload and each other’s objectives into account. The huddle also allows the team to ask for help when needed, share learning’s and creates accountability for action items. We add an opportunity to share a “stuck” or a “learning” to each update to enhance what is known as Knowledge Spillover. Plus, it’s a great excuse to gather & share a plate of salted caramel donuts with your team!

2) Flex Hours/ Workspaces

Study after study has proven that individuals are exactly that; individual! We all have a time of day where we are more or less productive and all thrive in varied environments. For example, you may power through your to do list when your fav song is blasting in the office, while your coworker could find that same song makes it impossible for them concentrate at all.   At YellowHouse, with our open workspaces, multiple boardrooms, open bar and couch seating and variable summer hours, we really are living the flex dream!   We’ve given our employees the opportunity (within reason) to choose when they’d like to work and where. The result? We’re producing bigger and better events each day and having a blast doing it.

3) “Pomodoros”

What on Earth is a Pomodoro, you ask? Well, the Pomodoro Technique is a long studied time management method that promotes the efficacy of breaking your workday into focused, smaller modules (preferably 25 minutes in length) with short breaks in between. Named after a traditional Italian tomato kitchen timer, the idea is that focused work time with no interruptions, followed by frequent breaks can promote mental agility and can double productivity. Who hasn’t experienced “brain drain” from spending long hours, and even our lunch breaks in front of our computers? The Pomodoro technique can help you avoid that. The key is turning off all alerts and distractions for each 25 minute increment.

We challenge you to give it a try for just one day. Put your headphones on, or put a picture of a tomato on your chair so everyone knows you are in a “Pomodoro”. Just 4 Pomodoros a day will double your productivity versus an 8 hour day of interruptions, email alerts and too much multitasking. Your breaks will be fun too. Get up and take a quick walk, joke around with a colleague, take a YouTube Ten or, if you’re incredibly talented like we are, belt out whatever happens to be on your Songza playlist with your coworkers (our neighbors love that one).  Our bet is that you’ll achieve more and have more fun.