“Working smarter becomes a habit, a challenge. You get satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all that effort is going to pay off.” ~ Mary Lou Retton, Olympic Gold Metalist
Topics: Distractions, To-Do List, Priorities, Timing, Breaks, Meetings, Interruptions, say NO, Productivity Tools.
It doesn’t matter what you do or where you work, everyone is looking for ways to be more productive on the job. But excessive amounts of caffeine and list-making won’t get you any closer to reaching peak Productivity levels today.
Distractions. So, why are we all so obsessed with productivity? It’s probably because in this digital age, staying on task by avoiding distraction is harder to accomplish than your actual work. Not to mention the feeling of a productive workday is somewhat euphoric.
Mis-Conceptions. This search for a more productive workday has led to a certain mis-conception about what productivity really is — and it’s a lot more than just checking tasks off your to-do list. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things – the important things !!! Make room for increased productivity by putting these habits into play:
- Reduce your To-do List. Getting things done during your work-day shouldn’t mean fitting in doing as much as possible in the time you have. Do you really need all those tasks on your To-Do List? Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing the things that matter. Can you “delegate” them? Can you put them off till later? Can you eliminate them, because they’re not important.
- Set Priorities by following the 80/20 rule. Only 20 % of what you do each day produces 80 % of your results. Eliminate the things that don’t matter that much during your workday — that have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. Review your To-Do List daily (ie, 1st thing in the morning) and also break your Project/s down into small steps and systematically remove un-needed or non-productive tasks – until you end up with the 20 % that gets the 80 % of results. Note: the ratio could be 90/10 or 70/30 – depending on your situation.
- Tackle your most “challenging” tasks before Lunch – when your brain is most clear, from a good night’s sleep. If you have any busy/ boring work or meetings, save them for the afternoon – if you can. By scheduling your day this way, you’ll be creating a new and more productive way to manage your time.
- Take more Breaks. The weary, tired drained, exhausted, sleepy, etc, feeling, [or your brain is numb (&dumb) from your heavy concentration] after long periods of work, should be your signal to take a break. Since your brain has used up its fuel, give yourself a “re-energizer break” by going for a short walk or do something else physical, to get the blood flowing to your body & brain. You’ll come back re-charged, more creative and ready to be more productive with what you want to do.
- Control (or avoid) Meetings – when possible. If you can, keep the following tips in mind:
- Conduct Short Meetings “standing up”. You can keep a chair or two in the room, in case anyone really needs to sit down, but if the majority of the people are standing, the meeting won’t last long.
- Set an Agenda for the meeting. Send it to attendees ahead of time, so they have an opportunity to propose important items before the meeting starts. This keeps the point of the meeting clear and reduces any deviation.
- Put a Time Limit on each topic in your Agenda. People will learn to get the important things out fast and focus on work-critical conversations. If you’re going to run over, delegate a committee to study. Have them report back to you with any suggestions.
- Only Invite “necessary” people to the meeting – if they absolutely need to be there.
Most meetings are an incredible waste of time & people. We suggest that you either avoid meetings when you can or look for ways to streamline the entire process.
- Learn how to deal with Interruptions. You don’t always have as much control over your day as you’d like. What often happens is your workday becomes a series of interruptions, making it impossible to stay productive, because you constantly have to deal with them. Interruptions range from minor irritations (such as an unexpected phone call) to major problems (ie, illness).
We all encounter interruptions, but what separates the successful people from everyone else is, knowing how to handle them when they occur. Here is the best way to do this:
- Create Interruption Buffers. Identify how you’re often interrupted (phone calls, text messages, email or people in your office) and take a pro-active approach that prevents them from happening when you’re engaged in an important task. (ie, 1) set & limit Availability Hours, 2) use Text & Email so the person keeps it short & to the point. [Doesn’t waste your time.]
We all have interruptions. The important thing is to understand that they happen and to have a plan for when they occur.
- Learn to say NO !!! People often say Yes when they should say No. There are many reasons why we do this—like not wanting to disappoint someone. But saying yes to everything puts a huge strain on your time & productivity. Do this enough and it’ll kill the possibility of better productivity? Whenever you say “yes” to a request, you say “no” to something else in your life. Of course, there might be some people you feel you can’t say no to, such as a boss. If that’s the case, practice the “Yes, But” method.
Example. #1. You can say, “Yes, I’d be happy to do [requested item], but that will put me behind on [another important item]. Would you prefer that I do [requested item] first, or would it be better for me to focus on [the other important item] instead?”
#2. Keep in mind that saying no isn’t rude, and there are many ways to say no without using the word “no.” For instance, you can say something like, “Thanks so much for considering me for this opportunity, but I don’t have the bandwidth to do it justice right now.”
That approach affirms the person and opportunity, without forcing you to give in to a request that isn’t right for you.
8. Use Productivity Tools. There are a number of tools you can use to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a computer.
Rescue Time is a time-management program that monitors what you do on a computer and provides a daily report of your productivity.
Unroll.Me is a simple tool that hunts down all your subscriptions so you can look at them in a single Email, un-subscribe from unwanted lists or ignore the Email and keep it “as is.”
Sanebox is a third-party program that works with all Email clients. Its purpose is to “only allow” important messages to show up in your inbox. The rest are sent to a separate folder. Then, at the end of the day (or at a time you specify), it will send you a message that contains everything in the “separate” folder.
Use FastFox (for PC) to help you quickly craft messages that are common to your particular job.
Conclusion; We currently live in an amazing age with infinite options for stream-lining work activities, but you might have to do a little research to identify the tools that work best for your work style and job responsibilities. We spend about 1/3 of our time working. Because of this, it’s critical to organize your day, so you get the most important things done first, without succumbing to the idea that you need to complete every task on a daily basis. Being more productive isn’t about getting more time so you can work more. Instead, you should strive to be productive to spend as much time as possible doing what you love and spending time with the people who truly matter.
Comments: Do you know of any other Productivity tips that work for you?
from Forbes.com & GoodHabits.com 3/17 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
For more Info, click on Productivity.