Struggling with feedback? We’ll help you do it better!

As a manager, I often find myself thinking about what makes work so interesting these days. With new trends appearing on almost a daily basis, the need to keep learning regularly to be great at what you do has become an intrinsic part of our lives. But that brings me to the question: Is learning, on its own enough? I mean, how do you know that you’re learning right if there’s no feedback about it?

One of the most important things I have learned with age is that being a good manager is no easy feat. Not only are we responsible for driving a team, it is also up to us to help employees develop their skills, motivate them, and create a positive environment at work as well. Quite the interesting challenge. Isn’t it? 

But if you think about it, you’ll realise that all of this stems from one simple thing: Feedback. 

 

Feedback for all 

 

When you think of feedback, a lot of us immediately think of the dreaded annual review that rears its head once a year just to ineffectively talk about your most recent successes or failures, your performance for the rest of the year rendering irrelevant. 

As continuous feedback makes its presence felt in the realm of Human Resources, the more we learn about it, the more we realise that apart from letting employees know how they’re performing, a good system can actually enable an organization to recognize what the employees are doing right, and what they aren’t, they can also make communication regular, seamless and flexible. 

 

How? 

 

  • The changing nature of feedback makes it more effective and efficient than older processes. 
  • Seamless communications help both employees and employers to share opinions, reviews and even prioritise tasks, as well as feedback and communication. 
  • Ease of use and simplicity encourages use as well as interaction allowing space for more collaborative efforts to come into play. 

 

More to feedback than you think

 

It was in 2009 that Mason OJ and Brady F conducted an experiment that showed us that people, when kept away from information, start exhibiting signs of anxiety that can easily be culled with easy access to the right kind of information. And feedback is no different. 

Without access to the right kind of information helping you address queries you or your employees might have about their performance at work, don’t be surprised if you suddenly see a dip in self-confidence, performance and even congeniality. 

As you can probably figure by now, there’s more to feedback than figuring out what your employees are doing right or wrong. With the right feedback system, you can also help your organization grow. And the wrong feedback system can actually make work rather stressful for you. 

 

Welcome to the idea of the Losada Ratio. 

 

Inspired by the research of John Gottman about marital studies, Marcial Losada decided to put it in action in the field of organizational psychology. By adopting Gottman’s coding methodology for business teams, Losada kept a close watch on a few teams of eight as they got busy developing business strategies. She noticed, that like Gottman’s studies, the ratio of positive communication to negative communication could actually predict how successful the team will be. The factors that were considered for this were profitability as well as evaluation from peers and managers. 

So to sum it up, the Losada ratio is the sum of the positivity in a system divided by the sum of its negativity. And the ideal ratio that corresponds to high performances are 3.0 to 6.0. 

Basically, without a fair share of positive and negative feedback, there’s not much one can do to improve employee performance or morale. 

 So do you know what to keep in mind when giving feedback to your team? 

  1. It’s important to give regular feedback 
  2. Keep in mind that only positive or only negative feedback can be detrimental for an employee’s performance 
  3. Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of feedback at a go 
  4. Have facts ready to support your statements 
  5. Don’t let your emotions blind you 
  6. Take the time to discuss feedback in detail 
  7. Don’t let indiscipline creep in
  8. Make sure the employee feels involved 
  9. Don’t hesitate to make suggestions for improvement 
  10. Remember to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely

Let’s Talk OKRs

It’s that time of the year when I have to sit down, plan and figure out what we, as a team have to achieve to help a company succeed. Success, as we all know, means different things to different people. In fact, if you also take the time to ask your team what ‘success’ means to them, you’d be impressed by the number of different answers that come straight at you. I know I was! With so many opinions and ideas on the table, it’s very important for each one of us to have a clear idea of what success means to every individual project we undertake. 

That’s where OKRs come into play. 

 

What are OKRs? 

 

Welcome to the idea of Objective and Key Results, or as we know them better, OKRs. For the uninitiated, OKRs help you plan, manage and execute your goals to maximise the team’s efficiency.

When done right, they not only help organizations achieve success in their terms, it also helps establish measurable data that is easy to access, understand and share not just within the company, but externally too. 

 

How do OKRs help you? 

 

Knowing what you have to do is a part of every job. But having robust OKRs in place can be beneficial. Here’s how it helps you: 

 

  • Be more agile 
  • Align and collaborate across functions and teams 
  • Be more efficient and thereby save more time 
  • Communicate better 
  • Engage employees 
  • Focus on accountability 
  • Be disciplined and achieve even smaller, more ‘boring goals 

 

Making a difference to your OKRs 

 

The changes that are taking workplaces by storm have taught us quite a few things. But one of the most important lessons has been: consistent evolution. With rapid changes coming our way at an alarming pace, it’s only when you embrace and adapt to them that your company can truly evolve as a workplace of the future. In the world of OKRs, this very change is what is encouraging us to focus on numbers. Additionally, we’re learning to observe and assess the performance drivers like activity levels, process, method, aptitude, and attitude. 

 

Activity Levels

 

Sometimes working smart is what you need to do, and sometimes, only good old hard work can save the day. Activity levels help teams understand who the key all-rounders are. 

 

Process

 

Thorough understanding of processes not only means better output, it also means a greater chance of converting potential customers into loyal ones. 

 

Method

 

Each team rock star has a few work related secrets up their sleeves. These secrets are usually foolproof as they are methods born out of experience as well as application of skill and knowledge. 

 

Aptitude

 

Knowing a product is never enough. Along with sound knowledge of the product, it is important to have a good understanding of the industry, strengths of the organizations, how their competition is faring and its impact on their markets. 

 

Attitude

 

While sales cycles can be unreliable, it is not recommended that attitudes follow that lead. A positive outlook coupled with creative communication allows clients to respect your positions as industry leaders. 

With Dockabl you can switch to a more continuous and realistic way of working by adopting our ‘OKRs’ Module by staying connected with your team on important goals & co-creating successful outcomes. The platform allows you to set up and delegate goals very easily and seamlessly. 

Additionally it makes room for week-on-week execution while keeping an eye on your long & short term strategy. It also helps you update progress on objectives & key result areas via the on-going check-in feature. Lastly, managing people & resources real-time by keeping the lines of communication always open becomes a cakewalk with Dockabl!

Want to up your sales performance management game? Here are 5 simple ways you can!

The new year is finally here. And along with it, it has ushered in 365 brand new days of new chances to learn and evolve. But life would be terrible if it was all sunshine and smiles? Wouldn’t it? Which is why, along with new opportunities there are a whole lot of challenges the new year has in store for us. Challenges in the form of new projects, targets, deliverables and deadlines. 

Whether you want to admit it or not, coming back after a sweet year end break doesn’t make getting acquainted with brand new targets any easier. If anything, it can be overwhelming for many. Which is probably why I found myself wondering how to make life in the new year a little easier and a lot smarter in 2020. After all, if you think about it, that’s rather imperative for any company’s success. 

But before you start planning how to reap the benefits of your success, it’s time to figure if you really have the right performance management strategies in place. 

 

Do you have the right team in place? 

 

So you’ve hired someone who seems like the perfect fit for your team. But does that mean they can’t be good at anything else? Thanks to flawed hiring as well as evaluation processes, very often you come across someone who is visibly better at things than the role they were hired for. Dockabl can not only help you track how your team is faring, but also allows you to recognise hidden talents that could have otherwise been overlooked easily. 

 

Is your team learning on the job? 

 

The pace at which work is changing, it is safe to say that learning is no longer restricted to universities and educational institutions. With so many trends and tools being introduced on a daily basis, there is little one can do apart from learn on the job. While learning on the job isn’t that intimidating thanks to robust online courses and educational videos, knowing if you’re learning right can be quite the challenge. With Dockabl you can easily provide feedback based on the performance of your team members, positive or even negative, motivating them to do better. 

 

Is your team motivated enough? 

 

In the past, monetary benefits and gift vouchers went a long way in terms of motivating employees. But with the changing ways of workplaces, things aren’t that simple anymore. Starting with relevant real-time feedback, and including advanced training programs, rewards to motivate employees have become rather diverse. But one of the simplest things that work wonders is the act of recognising a job well done. Thanks to Dockabl, cheering the stars of your team is easier than it was. 

 

Do celebrations feature on your calendars? 

 

While doing the best you can at work is what each of us is expected to do, it makes a huge difference if you take the time to celebrate successes, no matter how insignificant they might seem to be. Since going out to celebrate is something most teams reserve for those really special occasions, we at Dockabl decided to help you celebrate online with just a little click. 

 

Are you communicating well? 

 

In the new year, communication is key to every successful project. When you have a robust communication system in place, not only do you get the opportunity to navigate through projects – big and small – more easily, you also get the chance to align your employees with the core values of the company, guiding them towards success that is in sync with the company’s. With Dockabl’s easy-to-use interface, communication becomes faster, simpler and more effective, helping you to save time and focus on things that really matter.

Add some cheer to the lives of coworkers!

Though late-nights are nothing to write home about, once in a while, all of us have to deal with what we call the unavoidable workplace evil. Especially when we have to roll out new updates and integrations. I’ll let you in a little secret about the processes, they are relentless. So it’s obvious that everyone needs to be vigilant, careful and responsible. Watching pieces fit into place and give rise to something new and amazing. 

But the question is, who watches the watchmen? 

 

Being human goes a long way 

 

You see, getting through a particularly hard project without the right kind of support isn’t easy at all. While having a competent team in place is of utmost importance, having members with impressive humane skills is too. You might assume that in a highly specialised role empathy can’t play any kind of a role. But you’re wrong. At the end of the day, it’s empathy that urges us to get our co-worker a hot cuppa! Similarly, the creative ones can help arrive at unique solutions and ones with good managerial skills can take care of small hiccups without you even noticing! 

Sadly, in traditional methods of recognition and rewarding, incorporating the finer details about work that made the day worth it wasn’t prevalent. So it was very, very easy to overlook these rock stars who make the team grow. 

 

Cheers to all! 

 

But thankfully, with the changing landscape of work things are beginning to look different. 

For example, you now don’t have to wait for appraisal meetings of any sort to let your teammate know how awesome they’ve been. With just a click, you can leave them a cheer or a boost at any time for a job well done, whether it is being an ace at a meeting or being really organised. 

Sounds good. Right? But imagine how much better it would be if there were points to win and redeem at the end of the day? 

 

Thanks to our mobile Work-Life app, that could be a part of your work life. And here’s how: 

 

After people cheer or boost you, you’ll get to respond on the action to indicate whether it was helpful or not. The number of validations left on the feedback help others understand its importance. Eventually, this will give rise to the opportunity to calculate your Work-Life score. 

Different activities allocate different points, the points help you reach higher levels. So how can one even begin to start calculating the work life score?

Since feedback currently is derived by behaviour and skill, a mix is very important. At the end of the day, both skill and behaviour play a huge role in determining your capabilities and progress in an organisation. 

Similarly, quantity also matters in the future. A large quantity of feedback doesn’t essentially mean great feedback, so the system needs to know the right balance. 

Feedback impact helps the user validate the importance of feedback that has been left behind. How? By helping you understand what kind of an impact it has on you at work! 

And that’s not all. With some great integrations in place, getting used to it isn’t a hassle at all. With gamification playing an important role in getting things done and calculating scores, it gives the tool a chance to curate feedback that actually makes a huge difference in both recognising as well as rewarding someone. 

Applauding your team’s rockstar is just a click away

I love apps. I love how simple life gets all thanks to them. Starting from keeping tabs on my finances and ending with keeping tabs on how many steps I’ve taken in a day, there’s absolutely nothing that helps me stay on track more than the little reminders that keep popping up on my devices every now and then. And to be honest, it definitely beats sticky notes filling up my life. 

At work, things are honestly no different. With the digital boom transforming the ways in which we work, new tools are being introduced to our lives every single day. Some allow us to communicate better, some help us eliminate toxic practices and some help us work better, more seamlessly distance notwithstanding. 

Despite how amazing this is, a lot of people fear that technology is something to be afraid of. At the end of the day, so many jobs – both specialised and generic – have already been replaced by AI. 

 

But what if I told you that there is no need to be afraid? 

 

What if I told you that embracing this change is exactly what you need to help your business grow? You see, the power of human imagination and creativity is not something technology can replace. So when aided with the right technology, it creates some of the most beautiful solutions that help your organization thrive and grow. 

With Dockabl, not only can you observe and track your work, you can also communicate and appreciate your team effortlessly, all with a click of the button. 

While there are several apps that can help you get through work, what makes Dockabl special is that it allows you to Cheer and Boost your colleagues and team. Though a lot of you might write off the importance of appreciating your colleagues and team, at Dockabl, we know it makes a positive impact pretty instantly! 

 

Motivation miracles

 

At this point, it’s normal for some of you to wonder about the hard work you need to get used to a whole new app. Thanks to our user friendly design, not only is using Dockabl rather intuitive, you have access to the most important updates right from your home screen! 

Even if you are new to the system, getting used to it hardly takes any time. With our assistant right there to help you, you won’t even have to worry about how to write your first email of appreciation to Cheer or Boost your colleague. We have it covered!

Our smart AI also integrates seamlessly with your email app to not just track feedback notifications you get from the tool, but also consolidate it, allowing you easier access and making processes less intimidating. Similarly, our Bot also makes work smoother on Slack

When it comes to the calendar, we not just set reminders for meetings, we also help you gather information from them and offer you the opportunity to give the star of your meeting a quick Cheer. 

On Jira, every time you’re notified of a completed task, our seamless integration enables you to give a quick nudge to cheer or boost to employees who are doing a good job. 

While working hard is important at work, staying motivated is equally important if you think about it. And in our experience, a simple thank you for a job well done, goes a long way. Not only is productivity boosted when an employee realises that their efforts are being appreciated, but others are motivated to work hard too. On our platform, every single job well done calls for a round of applause. And the results are tremendous. At the end of the day, such is the power of validation.

Welcome to the world of gamification

All work and some play can make deadlines a lot of fun

 

Donna loves her job. She really does. Proactive, enthusiastic and creative, though she is young, she has some of the best solutions to offer at dead ends. Additionally, she rarely misses a deadline, is up for a challenge almost all the time and even lends her colleagues a helping hand when they need it. Sounds like quite the perfect employee. Doesn’t she? Well, she could be. But you see, there’s something about her that even she admits to being less than perfect. 

Her reluctance to get mundane, dreary jobs done. 

Though her attitude towards this is pretty relatable for most of us, with age, we have learned to accept that work can’t always be interesting. But for those who are just starting out, it will take a year or few to wrap their heads around it. However, there’s a simple way we can make it easier. While we can’t do much to make the task in itself more interesting, we can make doing it less cumbersome than before. 

 

Welcome to the world of gamification. 

 

Why gamification some of you might be wondering. At the end of the day, there are enough people talking about its loopholes. But what most people fail to understand is its impact on performance management. 

With immediate feedback being one of the most important offerings of gamification, it motivates an employee to do better it even helps them learn from their mistakes and take measures to rectify themselves, and thereby have a huge positive impact on the business. As traditional approaches to performance management are becoming a thing of the past, full of outdated practices, modern strategies defined by gamification yield better results as they seamlessly integrate into the digital landscape of an organization, collects real-time data from them and helps you understand how the company is faring at the very moment. 

For the uninitiated, gamification is simply the process in which you introduce game mechanics in non-game environments, like work. By adapting values that enhance transparency, competition, design, fun, play and even addiction, modern day workspaces are turning to gamification to not just engage and motivate employees, but also to retain them by offering them enough incentives. 

 

Is your performance management strategy up-to-date? 

 

In a public study conducted by Deloitte it was revealed that a large number of employees have little faith in their organization’s ability to positively impact performance or even employee engagement, thereby leading the majority of workforces to believe that “performance management is broken.” 

The study further claims: 

  • Today’s widespread ranking- and ratings-based performance management is damaging employee engagement, alienating high performers, and costing managers valuable time.
  • Only 8 percent of companies report that their performance management process drives high levels of value, while 58 percent said it is not an effective use of time.
  • Leading organizations are scrapping the annual evaluation cycle and replacing it with ongoing feedback and coaching designed to promote continuous employee development.

Defined by age old practices like annual reviews and appraisals, forced ranking and hierarchy as well rigid rating systems, performance management systems and strategies are currently struggling to not just adapt to the ways of the new world, they are struggling to put forward an argument that actually supports the legitimacy of traditional performance management. 

With the need for timely feedback that is future-focused as well as the removal of forced rankings being the need of the hour, ranking systems that don’t leave an employee feeling demotivated is the last thing your company needs. You see, traditional performance management systems have quite the reputation of being rigid, past focused and frustrating as it did little to address an employee’s concerns about how they are doing in the present to perform better. 

 

It is time to embrace the change 

 

But that is not all that gamification has to offer. 

  • A promise of trust

With unfair judgment being a great concern among employees, gamification gives rise to a system where ratings have no space for being subjective. Since everyone is rated along similar parameters, based on data that is being collected on the go, gamification helps build objective systems. 

  • Death of rankings 

By eliminating rankings that keep only a few people in focus, not only does gamification shift the focus from unhealthy peer comparisons, towards individual achievements, making employees more accountable for their performances. 

  • Bridges some gaps 

By dismantling corporate hierarchies, not only are gaps being bridged between managers and employees, but employees in different departments as well. This gives rise to a system where not only communication is key to success, but also one that is adaptable and agile enough to make space for collaborations that were otherwise impossible. 

  • Feedback matters

With learning on the job becoming more and more important with each passing day, feedback can no longer vibe restricted to annual procedures. With employees depending on real-time feedback to learn and improve their performance at work, gamification not only helps collate accurate data from users, it also helps them have a better understanding of their present performance, giving them the scope to improve in the near future. 

  • Growth begins here 

Contrary to what might seem intuitive, ranking employees on characteristics that are relevant to managers does not quite lead to growth. You see, it is only with a system that allows you to observe and offer constructive feedback that enables your business to grow. 

While gamification does have a few loopholes that one can easily point out, like how the lack of a robust system can lead your entire strategy to fail or how it might become repetitive and mundane, we at Dockabl are here to prove you otherwise. 

 

Continuous feedback: Bridging gaps and celebrating empowerment

One of the most interesting things about changing workspaces is the simple fact that there are so many new things to learn everyday. With new trends appearing almost everyday, it isn’t easy to embrace them without the will to learn, even when you’re at work. But sadly, just learning isn’t enough. How do you know if you have learned right if there’s no one to tell you that? 

In a world that is home to a large number of fast-paced changes, it is wrong to assume that management styles won’t undergo massive change as well. And one of the biggest changes we see is the rise in continuous feedback. 

 

What is continuous feedback?

 

With annual reviews proving to be rather ineffective in the modern era of work, new tools have risen that help to not only bridge the gap between managers and employees, but also introduce practices that can make work more agile and flexible, giving rise to greater employee engagement and thereby, productivity. 

So a system that allows you to give continuous feedback does not only eliminate flaws like timeline issues that restrict annual feedback to just a few relevant months, the boring nature of the yearly procedures as well as insufficient feedback, it can enable an organization to recognize what the employees are doing right, and what they aren’t, they can also make communication regular, seamless and flexible. 

  • The changing nature of feedback 

With the idea that feedback is restricted only for someone who isn’t doing their job right-ruling the roost, it’s not surprising to know that feedback is essentially a rather negative word to use. 

But with the changing times and trends, not only is evident that we need to stop villainizing the word ‘feedback’, we also need to understand that it actually helps more than it harms. 

At the end of the day, it is only with the help of feedback that you can understand what you are doing right. It is with feedback that you can even start looking for creative solutions to difficult problems and even empower your organization to innovate towards growth. 

With employee feedback becoming an increasingly important part of organizations, so are cultures that celebrate easy communication, constructive criticism as well as empowerment that enables not just the organization to excel, but the employees too.  

  • Ratings matter 

With the ability to rate various opinions and reviews, organizations can understand suggestions that are popular and credible and learn from them. 

Ratings also help employers and employees prioritise answers that communicate the urgency of its nature to everyone else. 

Being able to rate the one who is rating allows a team of credible, unbiased voices that bridges gaps between employees and managers. 

  • Censorship can make a difference 

With the help of analytical tools, not only does monitoring comments become easier, it is also easy for the management to keep hate speech, leaking sensitive information and unwanted comments at bay. 

While comments are important to understand issues better, in a system where anonymity is important, it makes sense to review them before publication. 

  • Anonymity encourages conversations  

While it is true that anonymous surveys are not easy to trust, in a professional space where a comment can cost you your job, anonymity actually encourages people to speak up. 

Be it safety issues or sexual harassment or failing managers, some topics are way too sensitive to be dealt without diplomacy and care. With repression not exactly helping the organization realise where they are failing, creation of safe spaces not just bring these issues to the forefront, it also protects employees from the worst. 

  • Simplicity is key 

Starting from how easy it is to use the tool and ending with how short and sweet the questions you have are, simplicity is quite the winner when it comes to feedback systems. 

And if you have a ratings system in place, nothing could actually be better! 

Distinctly different from employee feedback surveys in nature, ratings not only means quick and easy feedback, but true feedback too. 

In fact, if you design your system right, access can be simplified to such an extent, that you can actually update things from your inbox. 

  • Designed to win 

While surveys and long questionnaires can discourage people from engaging with them, a feedback system can prove to be a whiff of fresh air if designed right. 

You see, a feedback system is not merely restricted to figuring out what your employees are doing right or wrong. It is an effective way to realise what the company is doing right, and even they ways in which they can improve. 

Not only do people respond more to shorter surveys, also known as pulse surveys, they can address several issues, be open to suggestions and eventually build detailed feedback that makes a difference from those working in the company. 

 

Though adapting to change can be intimidating, we’re here to help. 

How? Read on to know: 

 

  • Dockabl 2.0 is a continuous feedback tool which seamlessly integrates into the ecosystem of work for any individual or team. 
  • It then enables ongoing feedback on work, projects and skills, behaviours. 
  • This is achieved by reaching our customer where they are, rather than asking them to indulge in more work on our tool. 
  • This is solved through plug ins and integrations with work tools such as Slack, Jira, Asana, Email, Calendar, Whatsapp etc. Dockabl 2.0 focuses on feedback consolidation, curation and deep insights on this data. We have come up with a concept of a worklife score which we envision will replace any performance review rating score, assessment score or any other metric in the context of work performance. 
  • What a credit score is to you in the context of financial metrics, worklife score would be in the context of work metrics. 
  • This score could become the norm for performance reviews, career progression, pay, recruitment, succession, etc 
  • The best part is that, these insights and analytics are an outcome of multiple quantitative and qualitative data points over a period of time and not a random rating shared by a manager at the end of the year. 
  • Moreover, there is a strong layer of gamification where an employee will continue to strive for higher levels which is synonymous to higher performance and holistic development in the context of work and work progression.

How many breaks have you taken today? 

“It’s time to take a break,” is probably not what you expect to hear at work very often. After all, we have been taught that diligence and constant vigilance is the key to being good at what you do.

What if I told you that we have been taught wrong all our lives? 

Curious much? Then allow me to introduce you to the POMODORO system of time management! A technique that helps you get more productive without burning yourself out. 

 

Go ahead, take a break

 

Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the name of this technique means “tomato” in Italian, inspired by Cirillo’s college timer that sparked this genius idea. And the process? It’s quite simple if you think about it. It doesn’t need you to make startling changes to your work habits, for starters. It just encourages you to break up your job into bite-sized portions, making things easily palatable. 

How? By tackling each segment of work for 25 minutes and taking a break for 5! 

 

Recipe to get refreshed 

 

While you can kick off using this technique at any given point in time, given that it barely requires any preparation, there are some things you must always keep in mind, apart from having a timer handy, that is!

  • Know what you have to do 

Unless you have an idea about what you have to do, getting them done is not going to be easy. So make a list of the tasks you need to get done. Preferably in order of priority.

  • Set your timer for 25 minutes 

While it does seem easier to keep an eye on your watch instead of being rudely interrupted by an alarm, you’ll be surprised to realise how engrossed we can get in whatever we’re doing unless snapped out of it. 

  • Track your task 

Apart from making a list, it is important to see how you did in 25 minutes. Whether the task could be completed, whether it was adequate, whether you are biting off more than you can chew can easily be seen with proper task-tracking. 

  • If a distraction pops up, don’t try to fight it. 

Fighting distractions is harder than you think it is. The more you try to fight, sadly, the more your mind will wander. So the best thing to do is give in to your thoughts, but not immediately. 

This also works as a great reward system for those who are just starting off and need that extra push to get through 25 minutes without giving in to procrastination. 

  • Take a five minute break 

You’ll be surprised to see how much of a difference these breaks make. Starting from doing simple things like keeping yourself hydrated and stretching to keep those work pains at bay and ending with quickly catching up on thoughts that distracted you, these five minute breaks help refresh you for your next 25 minute haul. 

  • Every 4 POMODOROs, reward yourself with a 30-minute break 

Longer breaks mean more time for yourself. The key to working well is not working all the time. It just means working efficiently and one of the things that make you efficient at work is taking care of things that are important outside work. 

  • Repeat as needed

Getting into the groove might be harder than you think initially. But once you do get used to the technique, you’ll see things are actually different. They are in fact, better. 

 

Rest to the rescue

 

Productivity hacks, are not a new thing. Starting from collating smaller tasks to create a larger, more important task and ending with customisable sleep schedules, enough and more experts have weighed in, trying their best to help us be at our most productive. 

So a technique that encourages us to use our work hours in a more efficient way, allowing us to do more than work all the time is exactly what we need to keep our work and personal lives perfectly balanced. While some of us take great pride in being workaholics, some of us firmly believe that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” 

A team that flows together, grows together! 

Rumour has it, like yawning, productivity can be contagious too! Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story. As a fresher at work, once in a while, I’d be caught up in a project that would be really, really important. With sleepless nights and cups of coffee for company, teams I’d be a part of would work very hard and get the job done perfectly. Now, if this scenario sounds familiar to you, you’re probably expecting me to talk about the complaints that followed. 

But sadly, none ever did. Every project completion was celebrated with smiles. 

Sounds strange. Doesn’t it? What if I told you that you and your team have been working hard pretty wrong all this while? 

Allow me to let you into a little secret. The secret that all happy and productive  teams have actually. Team Flow! 

 

Flowing through the team 

According to Hungarian research psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the discoverer of ‘Flow’, “the overwhelming proportion of optimal experiences are reported to occur within sequences of activities that are goal-directed and bound by rules—activities that require the investment of psychic energy… Often hours seem to pass by in minutes; in general, most people report that time seems to pass much faster.”

Now, while a lot of us believe that Flow is a rather individual process, it isn’t quite so. Starting from surgeons and ending with army officials, instances of achieving Team Flow are many. Remember that time you all worked to meet the deadline that seemed impossible to achieve? That time when you registered little apart from what you had to do – working hard, determined to do your best so that the piece of the puzzle you were responsible for fit in seamlessly at the end of the day? And when you were done, you realised that every single person in your team had done a job so good, that it was absolutely perfect!

Well, that’s Team Flow for you. 

While the thought of contagious productivity can be extremely intriguing, it isn’t particularly easy to figure how you can get your team in the Flow state. But thankfully, there are ways to get there. 

  • The power of communication: While having tasks and deadlines in place is obvious, it is important to communicate goals and deadlines very clearly.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of insignificant tasks: Even though there’s always a larger objective to achieve, it is very necessary to keep track of all the small tasks that need to be done. At the end of the day, every little detail is important and skipping one might just make you fall flat on your face.
  • Feedback matters: Though being in the zone is fun, it doesn’t work well unless all your team members know how they are doing. You see, doing the work isn’t ever enough. Unless you know if a task has been completed successfully, you’ll never be sure of what to do next. And when you don’t know what to do next, your productivity takes a blow.
  • Don’t test your limits: Expertise exists for a reason. And while getting into flow that is exactly what makes you tick. At times, even testing your abilities can do wonders. But in case you aren’t skilled enough yet, it will only stress you out. Be sure you never bite off more than you can chew.
  • Team power: A great team makes getting into the flow state easier. At the end of the day, if you don’t have to worry about someone taking advantage of the others, it is much easier to concentrate on the task at hand. It really feels great to know that your team will have your back!

 

Let’s go with the Flow

Have you heard of the Flow State? 

 

Wise men say, if you truly enjoy what you do, you never know where the time flew… Sounds doubtful, right? It did to me as well. In fact, when I was new to this world, it was especially difficult for me to figure out how people were so engrossed in work, yet happy. I also couldn’t figure how they would achieve so much without feeling stressed and most importantly, I couldn’t figure out what I had to do to get there. 

To be honest, much as I tried, it seemed impossible for me to solve this. To love your job was one thing, but to achieve so much, an absolute mystery. However, things became clearer when I was introduced to the idea of the Flow State. 

For the uninitiated, the Flow State is one where people are so immersed in what they are doing that there is little scope for them to even acknowledge something that isn’t a part of their plan of action. 

 

Rules that make it Flow 

 

The idea of being so engrossed at work that your productivity is at its optimum is a great thought, but putting it in action takes effort and quite a bit of discipline. And here’s what makes it tick. 

  • Define your goals. Unless you know what you have to do, achieving them can be very, very hard. 
  • Eliminate distractions, internal and external. If you have your mind wandering, trying to figure things that aren’t on your To Do list, chances are, you’ll end up confused and distracted. 
  • Know what you can achieve. It is important to have a realistic idea about your skills, talents and limitations. Biting off more than you can chew can often lead to burnouts which are more evil than good. 
  • Be able to judge yourself. There’s no point in toiling for hours if you are incapable of judging your progress and performance. When you fail to do so, you often end up having to redo most of what you spend hours on completing. 
  • It might be hard, but loosening up and saying goodbye to self-consciousness is a very important part of the process. You see, it is only when you bid goodbye to relevant inhibitions that you can truly experience peace. 
  • Don’t try to track yourself in terms of time. While it is important to be able to finish work on time, giving yourself strict deadlines won’t help at all. 
  • Be in control of the situation. If you feel like you’re flailing, chances for panic modes to set in are very high.
  • Make sure you love what you’re doing. If there’s no love, there is no scope to go with the flow! 

 

Flow at work 

 

While most cases of Flow are linked to success stories of writers, artists or athletes, it thankfully isn’t restricted to only creative professions. If you think about it, Flow can easily occur when you are so focused on your tasks that everything seems effortless! 

The minute you focus wholeheartedly on what you have to do, there is an immediate spike in performance.

Moreover, Flow can encourage individuals to learn more at work. Why? Skill is an integral part of achieving this state. When you lack a skill, achieving complete focus can be harder than you expect. In fact, it might even seem boring without anything challenging your abilities after the first few times. 

Being engaged at work is not merely about turning up everyday and sitting at your chair for 8 straight hours or more. Those who have experienced Flow know better. When you are so engrossed in work that you love, not only does the quality of your work improve, it also leads to greater work satisfaction. It also boosts creativity which in turn has a great effect on performance and productivity and even intuitive decision-making. But to expect everyone to experience this state is not the right way to go. After all, if there is no love for the job, there’s no way you can go with the flow!