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Kylie Porter2 min read

Increase productivity by 25%

“What are all of the things that could go wrong..?”

A lot! That was my immediate thought when Dr Amantha Imber asked this when discussing a four-day work week. Turns out, it’s all positive: productivity increases by 25 percent, teams experience less stress and job satisfaction rises.

It’s not, however, as easy as 1, 2, 3. Reinventing the workplace takes deliberate effort.

As leaders we need to understand our own productivity – what type of work motivates us, what work habits negatively impact on great work, when and where are we most productive.

Are you better at focusing on demanding tasks when you’re at home? Do you get better outcomes when you have set days to engage with your team? Amantha terms this as our ‘work hygiene’, and we need to design our work week so that we have time for ‘deep focus’, synchronous and asynchronous work. For me, this means protecting focus time in my calendar and not forfeiting it for ‘shallow’ work.

We also need to know our chronotype – the lark, the middle bird, and the owl – and how to use them in a team environment. Whilst only one in five people are owls, there are tools that enable teams to create a chronotype map so that deep work, brainstorming and creative thinking time can be carved out in a manner that gets the most out of people. As a team with at least one owl, I’m eager to explore this!

We also need to be aware of productivity killers like too many meetings, interruptions and being stuck in your inbox. I loved the recommendation to treat your inbox like a dryer - go into it with purpose – clear it – move on - and to shut your inbox down for at least two hours every day. I’ll be putting this in place. What about you?

Finally, we need to create moments where we don’t have other inputs into our brain. Cal Newport talks about ‘solitude deprivation’ where we have constant inputs from outside (i.e, podcasts, emails, social media), and the need to find solitude to ignite creativity. This doesn’t mean eliminating social contact (think social deprivation PTSD from COVID lockdowns), rather finding times to disconnect: go for a walk, sing in the shower, and sit alone while eating lunch in the winter sun.

So go, boost your productivity and free your mind of distractions!



Kylie Porter

Abundium Country Leadership Team member Sustainability & Responsible Business leader and adviser Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Australia UN Global Compact Board Member