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Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

Job Satisfaction & Productivity: Rituals for Positive Work Culture
April 29, 2022

You hear about it often, but what exactly is job satisfaction? Job satisfaction is the measure of how fulfilled you feel by your work, and how content you are in your professional position. While it’s not necessarily easy to measure, it’s pretty obvious to tell when you’re not content at work. Maybe you’re constantly mentally exhausted, disengaged from your work, or feeling unappreciated in your position. On the flip side, if you’re feeling happy about your job – you’re probably more enthusiastic about your work, leave team meetings feeling connected and inspired, and have a higher sense of morale with your company. 

While every professional has a unique criteria for what keeps them satisfied at work – maintaining a positive work culture for your employees is foundational to both the retention and productivity of the team. On average, positive workplace satisfaction boosts productivity by 31% – with unhappy workers’ performance a full 10% less productive than their content colleagues. And with only 65% of US employees content with their job, employers are eager for improvements to increase job satisfaction in their employees. 

In this post we’re going to take a look at the relationship between productivity and job satisfaction, and cover effective rituals to implement to increase the productivity and happiness of your team. 

Which comes first, job satisfaction or productivity?  

Like the chicken and the egg – satisfaction and productivity positively encourage the other in a cyclical way. When we accomplish something productive (for example, finishing a task on our to-do list) our brains release feel-good chemicals like dopamine as a reward, which makes us feel satisfied and happy. When we feel satisfied and happy, we are, in turn, more likely to be productive when moving on to other tasks because we know finishing them will make us feel good. 

On the other hand, one of the biggest misconceptions in productivity (in our opinion) is that being busy is the same thing as being productive. In fact, having too many to-dos can actually negatively impact productivity due to increased decision paralysis, and even lead to burnout when you become too overwhelmed and overrun – something 60.2% of professionals across departments are struggling with as of October 2022 . And while it feels great to knock a bunch of tasks off your to-do list, not enough professionals are willing to stop themselves for even 15 minutes in the morning to ask the question “What is the most important thing I need to get done today?” You might find that a lot of day-to-day ‘busywork’ isn’t actually in line with your goals. 

Once you start to orient your day around the most important things – and really start to map your tasks and your schedule around the 3-5 most critical priorities – your whole workweek changes, and you can begin to harness actually sustainable productivity. You can say 'no' to things more confidently, prioritize your backlog more effectively, and end your days with a feeling of true satisfaction and calmness. 

And employers and managers can often fall into the same busy/productive trap – giving employees lots of incentives to stay in the office (or at their home desk) for as long as possible, and optimize for filling out the workweek with stuff rather than helping their employees to be smarter about how they manage their time. The same approach applies here: when companies start to embrace the idea of ruthless prioritization around their corporate objectives, they suddenly find that there are many more hours in the week than they realized. They also facilitate happier employees, who get to live their lives with a lot more flexibility and balance – while getting more accomplished every week.

Positive rituals to improve workplace productivity

A majority 74% of US employees report that company culture is one of the most important contributing factors to job satisfaction. And while there’s a lot that goes into building a positive workplace culture – developing structure around productivity is foundational to empowering employees to stay on track, make the most of their time, and protect them from getting overrun by non-priorities and feeling disengaged in their positions.   

Monthly rituals (or even weekly, especially in fast-paced organizations where things change often) can encourage professionals to step back from the treadmill for a moment to evaluate where their time is going. It’s very typical to go through a busy week, get to Friday, and snap out of it to say “What the heck just happened? Did I really move anything forward?” 

Taking a breather on a regular cadence to re-evaluate your priorities and groom your backlog across work and life can help to center your productivity, rebalance your needs, and ultimately gain a lot more happiness in your job.

Let’s walk through some positive rituals you can apply on an individual level, or across your entire team, to boost both productivity and job satisfaction in the workplace. Professionals should take an agile approach to these kinds of rituals. Once a month is great, but there are micro-rituals you can perform daily and weekly that make the monthly ritual even more effective. 

Here are the rituals we use here at Reclaim:

1. Morning & afternoon check-ins 

This one is really simple. In the morning, write down three priority tasks (no more than three!) that are the most important things to get done that day. Centralize your daily plan around accomplishing just those three tasks – fitting in any smaller to-dos only after they are completed. If they are cognitively demanding tasks, try blocking off time in the morning for deep work (when the average person is most productive) and reserve the afternoon for tasks that only require shallow work. At the end of the day before you log off – review, and write down the three things you need to get done tomorrow. The next morning, review that list and make sure it is still in alignment with your priorities. Rinse and repeat. 

While three tasks a day might not feel like a lot, it ensures realistic daily progress towards your goals, and minimizes decision paralysis, context switching, and overwhelm – especially on weeks when you’re staring down a massive task list. On a company level, this can even be applied as a best practice for teams to use in their daily standups and reports. By encouraging the team to share their three priorities for the day, you can support uninterrupted focus time for bigger tasks, scheduling fewer meetings, or even implement a company-wise ‘no meeting day’ so everyone has dedicated time for individual task work. 

2. Weekly Status Reports

Are you all too often wondering what you actually got through this past month? Instead of trying to recall work that seems way distant now, spend an hour or so at the end of each week to write a status report that you share with your manager and team. 

This weekly status report can take a variety of forms, but the format we recommend is orienting around the Three Ps: Priorities, Problems, and Progress. Basically, review your current 3-5 most important priorities, discuss any blockers or issues you’re having trouble making progress on, and document what you’ve done to move your priorities forward.

This way you can reevaluate your current master task list against your priorities, share any blockers you need support on from your team or manager, and organize a more productive work plan for the following week. 

3. Calendar Audits

The goal of a calendar analysis is to regularly look at your calendar event-by-event, and evaluate where exactly your time was spent. These audits are most effective when performed consistently at regular intervals, so they should be completed at least monthly, and ideally weekly if you have a busy schedule balancing many different priorities. If looking at your time analysis you find that your daily work isn't actually aligned with your goals – that’s a great signal to review your time management strategy. And not just on an individual level - companies can also benefit from evaluating progress and productivity across teams via the calendar to see where time may be being misallocated towards lower priority items, and realign efforts back to high-priority goals.

And completing a regular calendar audit doesn’t need to be another time-consuming task you have to make time for every week. Reclaim.ai has a free Calendar Stats feature that automatically audits where your hours are spent across work and life so you can visualize exactly where your time is going without any manual analysis. For an easy snapshot, Reclaim sends you a Weekly Report every Friday breaking down how much of your time was spent in meetings, on solo work, and when you made time for your important habits like lunch. 

Improve workplace culture = boost productivity and job satisfaction 🙌

These rituals help in creating a positive work culture where employees have the flexibility to focus on clear priorities, opportunities for effective communication around goals with their team and managers, and a supportive structure that fosters efficient planning and reviews. 

As the professional collective gravitates away from the hustle mentality of cramming more work into less time, the research supports that clearer priorities and fewer distractions are actually more efficient in the overall success for both workers and companies. Implementing rituals that support this on an individual and team level is key to improving and supporting long-term productivity and job satisfaction, as we move forward to accomplish our goals, together.

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The best time to meditate depends on your intention and your schedule. But no matter when you meditate, you can reap the benefits. The important thing is that you make time for this healthy habit.
Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools
August 24, 2021

Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools

Staying organized can feel like a constant battle for people with ADHD before you find your ideal rhythm and workflow. Here are the top ADHD organization tools to help you become more productive.
No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company

Are meetings consuming your workweek? 78% of people feel their meeting schedule is out of control - see how one no-meeting day a week can improve your productivity, team morale and prevent burnout.
Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman
August 17, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman

Working as JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman, Ben shares how he balances priorities while developing the JSON Schema strategy and it's tooling, and supports the open-source community.
Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite
August 11, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite

Shay Kingsbury at Hootsuite shares how she balances priorities while leading merger and acquisition integration and Go To Market for Sparkcentral at the social media marketing and management platform.
Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages
August 10, 2021

Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages

Slack released a much-anticipated feature in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome Status syncing capabilities from Reclaim, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk
August 9, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk

Michele Wiedemer at Synk shares how she balances priorities while developing the education training program for security champions and developers at the open source security platform.
Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever
August 4, 2021

Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever

Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by as much as 3 years, and you’ll sleep better and feel less stressed too. Here's how to optimize your workouts for the best time of day.
Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Reading has amazing benefits, and 35% of people want to do it more. It increases verbal intelligence, makes you a better leader, reduces stress, and fends off Alzheimer’s. Here are 5 tips to try out.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, shares her style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the top digital payment companies in the world.
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

Connor MacDonald at The Ridge shares his style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet.
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day: what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space, there are some key differences to consider.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

Need to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues and incoming schedulers? Calendar communication starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

While you may think multitasking is a skill you can master, only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. Your brain performs best when “single-tasking”, focusing on only one thing at a time.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Time blocking is the habit of mindfully scheduling daily and weekly tasks to get everything done as efficiently as possible. A time blocking planner is used to organize your new, efficient schedule.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
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