March 29, 2018

The Roundup: Productivity tips and elastic thinking

This week, suggestions to embrace Mondays and your natural sleep schedule for better productivity. Also, how flexible thinking is beneficial in workplace change management.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Make friends with Mondays

Moody about Monday? Turns out it might be your most productive day of the week, according to a Redbooth study of its users. The data revealed users accomplished the highest percentage of tasks on Monday, while Friday was nearly 20% less productive.

Redbooth also noted that the “Sunday Blues” (also known as the Sunday Scaries, or, as the New York Times called them back in 1991, “the blahs”) may push us to work harder on Mondays.

FastCompany suggests that instead of succumbing to the feelings of dread that Monday may bring, embrace the “clean-slate” feeling of a new week to inspire creativity and get things done. It also provides some tips for making the most of Monday, from productivity coach Deb Lee and author Scott Amyx.

Those include prepping for the next week on Friday afternoon or over the weekend, whether making meals or checking your calendar. Amyx notes that email can be a source of stress on Mondays, so checking once or twice over the weekend could help to prioritize what needs to be addressed when the work week starts.

With flexible work and work-life blending becoming more of an employee expectation than a perk, more and more employees may look to ways to maximize their Mondays – and their work weeks in general – during their off hours.

Sleep specialist says early birds and night owls are equally productive

In a previous Roundup, we covered the idea of hacking the work day to be more strategic with our own moods and mental patterns. Let’s add to the productivity conversation with good news for those individuals who feel they need to become morning people to thrive at work.

Certified sleep specialist Michael Breus tells FastCompany that employers should want “both [early birds and night owls] in [their] organization.” Breus says that people should embrace their chronotype – the category they fall into due to their natural sleep habits and energy levels – instead of trying to change it.

He describes common chronotypes – wolf, dolphin, bear and lion – which have different strengths and are more productive at different times. The key is making sure that people of various chronotypes are doing the right jobs and right duties at the right times, basically operating during their peak workday hours.

Can elastic thinking help with change management?

Physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow says in his new book, Elastic, that times of change call for elastic thinking. The disruption, speed of change, continuous navigation of new landscapes today can become “dizzying” or overwhelming, Mlodinow tells Scientific American in an interview.

This also applies to the work environment, in which change and strategic shifts are seemingly met quite unenthusiastically by employees. But Mlodinow says that humans are actually not averse to change; in fact, they’re attracted to novelty. He says that aversion to change comes from how it is portrayed.

“So why do business articles commonly say things like “Employees tend to instinctively oppose change,” and ask, “Why is change so hard?” That’s simple—while management endows change initiatives with names like restructuring, turnaround, or strategic shift, employees often see them as something else: more work for the same pay, layoffs, or just plain chaos. To oppose that isn't change aversion, it’s negative consequence aversion, or unemployment aversion”

In times of change in the workplace, elastic thinking may be beneficial. Mlodinow says it allows the mind to relax and interpret situations not through the lens of what has happened in the past, and instead to look at situation in new way. Elastic thinking, he adds, is also advantageous in spurring creativity and innovation individually and in teams.

 

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