Guest Blog: How to have a productive January - by Lilli Hender from Office Genie: A desk and office space marketplace.

It’s been noted that Britain has a bit of a problem when it comes to productivity, the Office for National Statistics estimated we’re 30% less productive than countries such France, Germany, and the US. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to explore ways to improve this.

If you want to be an effective force in 2016, I have has everything from organizational tips to useful apps to help you out. Start January with high levels of productivity and you’ll set a great example for yourself for the months to come.

Learn to plan

Forward planning is crucial to good business: look at the year ahead and consider the opportunities you’ll want to take advantage of and how best to do so. Even planning a couple of months in advance can make a big difference.

Making an event calendar is a great way to get to know the key dates and occasions in the year. When you’ve documented them, you can think how to capitalise upon them and prepare accordingly. Planning for the end of the year at the beginning might seem crazy but you’ll thank yourself when it comes around.

Use productivity apps

There are lots of apps that can help you get the most out of your working day: Google Calendar can be used to create an orderly event calendar and proves useful for everyday matters too, such as meetings. Evernote is great if you like creating to-do lists and the online and offline app sync to make for easy access.

Social media is crucial to business and it can be difficult to keep up, but luckily there are apps available to help. On Hootsuite, for example, you can schedule posts for up to three accounts for free. No more worrying about social media outside of office hours!  

Look after your wellbeing

There are also apps that remind you to drink water and take breaks from your computer, but your wellbeing requires a bit more attention than just that. To function well, your physical and mental health need to be in good condition. Consider little changes you can make at work that will benefit you: swap sugary treats for healthy snacks, go for a brisk walk on your lunch break or ditch the car and travel by foot.   

It’s also important to remember that you have a life outside work; make sure to dedicate time to yourself and the things you enjoy. A study at the University of Warwick found happiness makes people around 12% more productive, so when you’re having a good time on a weeknight or the weekend, it’s benefitting your working day too!

Manage your time

The time of year often determines how busy a company is and this can differ hugely between sectors. You may or may not be rushed off your feet this January but regardless of the pace, you need to know how to best manage your time. Best practices can vary from individual to individual but bearing in mind the following advice could help:

  1. Make a to-do list and number the tasks in order of priority. Begin at the top and work your way down.  
  2. During busier moments, aim to complete as many high priority tasks in as little time as possible but try not to compromise on the quality of the work.
  3. Start important jobs in the morning: this will make for a less stressful afternoon and if they spill over, you’ll be thankful you started early.
  4. If work is slow, seize the opportunity to complete tasks you’ve been putting off and plan for the year ahead.

Structure your day

It’s fun to be spontaneous but when it comes to business, it’s much better to be a bit of a bore and stick to a routine. Humans respond well to repetition and structure; we feel more comfortable when there is order to our day. You won’t always have the same tasks to complete but following a basic routine will help you feel like you’re in control.

Start with simple things like making your bed and extend this methodology across your working day. Decide upon the tasks you’d like to complete and the time in which you want or need to complete them. You might not be able to tick everything off but accomplishing even a few goals can do wonders for your self-esteem, and help you approach tomorrow with a positive attitude.

Taking on board this advice (or even just some of it) should help you start the new year on the right foot. You won’t be able to stop procrastination altogether and not everything will go to plan, but part of being productive is learning to accept this. Ultimately, try to figure out how you work best and when you know that, there’ll be no stopping you in 2016!  

For more information on how to be more effective in 2016 visit: