10 Effective Steps to Gain Productivity in the Lab

10 Effective Steps to Gain Productivity in the Lab

10 Effective Steps to Gain Productivity in the Lab

Posted on the 14th of Jun 2018 by Westlab

Productivity: the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. So how do we achieve this? You may be thinking… that’s easier said than done! Let’s discover 10 effective ways to increase your productivity in the lab.

1. Begin Your Day Planned Out

Time starts now! With so much information and distractions surrounding our daily lives, it is imperative that you take the time to plan out your day. Jot down your visual overview of the day by way of a to-do list so that you can tick off tasks once completed. Planning your day will allow you to structure time frames and complete items on your priority list which gives a sense of achievement as you accomplish one after the other. A good rule of thumb is to try to achieve the 3 most important tasks before 11am to really kick start your day and ensure you are working on actions that will give you the biggest result.

2. Time Manage Your Tasks

You want to know how long tasks will take to complete and ensure that you allow enough time to complete them! When you begin a task, try to immerse yourself in it so to get it done as quickly and as effective as possible. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done when there are no distractions and you’re fully concentrating on the task at hand. Aim to have at least 25 minutes of undistracted time when starting a new task and put a time constraint on the task. This will allow you to be more focused on getting the task done in the allocated time. Don’t forget to take breaks between tasks to clear the head and get ready for the next task. Take a couple of deep breaths and get up and go for a quick walk.

3. Utilise Spare Time Appropriately

Free time! You have accomplished your tasks and have minutes to spare in between applications, experiments, or waiting for equipment to become available. This is an opportunity to prepare buffers, complete stock check, and revise your task list. See if you can tick off another task!

Silence is golden. We are more technologically connected than ever before but when it comes to being productive you need to be aware of your usage. Our phones are always within arm’s reach and no matter how hard you try, the constant notifications that cause our phones to beep or vibrate are a major distraction! Add those few minutes of checking social media tags and emails from company’s you don’t remember signing up to and you’ve got a lot of wasted time. So, turn the phone on silent when you have important tasks to finish and set a time each day to check your phone. Consider using ‘flight mode’ on your phone in times where you need to keep focused. This will prevent any notifications coming through until you turn ‘flight mode’ off again.

4. Know When You’re Optimising Your Best Work

You have times in your day where you are working to full potential, whether you are a morning functioning person or adapt better later in the day, your very best is yours. Coordinate your tasks that suit your work ethic by scheduling lighter duties for times you are warming up to your best. On the high peak outputs, schedule those challenging tasks to overcome diligently.

5. Agglomerate Your Space of Unnecessary Items

Take a close look at your workspace. What do you see in front of you? If you have piles of papers, resources from the storeroom cupboard you haven’t returned, and only have one working pen; then you need to invest time in a makeover for your workspace! Clear your desk, file important papers into their assigned folders, and take the opportunity to exercise by returning items back to the storage cupboard. The next step is to make room for the essentials.

For example:

  • A stack of working pens in one easy to grab area even a coffee cup will do
  • A pad of paper handy so you can jot down important numbers and ideas
  • Sticky Note pad for those urgent to-do items or notes to colleagues
  • Stackable folders, drawer dividers that are boldly labelled
  • A timer – particularly handy when you’re working to a deadline and you need to allocate your time strategically. In fact, set the timer for 20 minutes to clear your desk, try to beat the clock!

6. Micromanage Supplies & Materials

Ready to run that experiment and collect all the necessary equipment and consumables only to find you’re missing something! Fortunately, you may already use Westlab and we have a speedy hassle-free service to put your mind at ease but generally, a system is more effective. Westlab can help with ‘Valet Store’ orders if required where items are automatically topped up. The simple Kanban system is also an effective solution, see 4 Tips to Manage Laboratory Inventory which goes over the Kanban system in detail.

7. Classify – Collocate – Compile Your Data

Technology is so helpful in today’s future of laboratories if used correctly. Entering data on completion of an experiment will ensure you are entering fresh information and keeping on top of it. If you are using other forms of organising your data, simple strategies are often better managed than processes that take too much time, inevitably you may miss something important. Using structures such as map formats, alphabetically, time or categories can minimise clutter around the lab and alleviate menial double handling.

8. Separate & Take Control

We all have a role to play in our lab environment and as group leaders & lab managers, it is important to devise tasks based on expertise and juncture between team members. You are investing in teamwork and production. Aid and encourage everyone to help and reach out to others to accomplish as a team. Enabling members in the lab to display their skills will reveal a better performing laboratory.

9. Unity Not Rivalry

To be uniformed and work together goes well with point 8. We all have so much to offer others based on experience in our environment. Offering to help the newbies or that post-coffee fix lab assistant creates morale and productivity with individuals and as a group.

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved” – Mattie Stepanek

10. Bring Order To Prepare

Your experiment is now complete, you can’t avoid the clean-up! Exercising to address this directly will save minutes towards the end of the day. Implementing a systematic flow of cleaning habits straight after allows you to set up for the next one quickly or finish your day with just a general spot check around the lab. Always aim to start the new day with no clutter, lab areas cleaned, and organisation in place!

2018-06-14 00:15:00
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