One of the biggest frustrations of my clients – and many colleagues – is how days disappear from them. They set out at the start of the day with great intention, a clear desk, a ‘To Do’ list but somehow they never get round to doing what they intended to do and at the end of the week they still have the same projects to complete, the same people they have to talk to and the same reports to write. Not only does this cause a lot of frustration and stress but put simply it makes them inefficient and means they are delivering low productivity levels, something I believe will become an even greater issue for businesses as we move out of lockdown and face staff cuts, squeezed margins and even more demanding clients.
One of the key drivers for this low productivity is a lack of focus and a lack of clear goal setting. This is a subject for another day and one we concentrate on helping clients with as the base for greater business success and personal development. Here I want to outline some straightforward tips to help increase your daily productivity.
- Understand your business objectives (company team, project)and prioritise what you have to do to deliver against those key objectives in order of high pay back. Focus on the things that will give highest payback, then the others after
- Allocate specific time for each of these, and complete what you have to do within that time – don’t worry about making it perfect and finessing. Too many times I’m told about the hours lost by people making a powerpoint presentation look beautiful whilst the thinking and content was written days, or weeks earlier!
- Write down the specific objective, the deliverable and allocate appropriate time into your diary and stick to
- Switch your phone off, and if you’re too afraid of doing that stop automatic notifications from email, messaging and social media
- Schedule time for thinking, make yourself reflect on what you’re achieving, what is and isn’t going well and planning your next steps to deliver successfully.
- Bundle admin and routine tasks within clear time blocks, schedule email checks twice or 3 times a day at most. In this way you stop the constant drip of distraction and the belief you are successfully multi-tasking
- Make sure you create a work environment that reduces distractions
So, just a few simple tips but always good to remind ourselves about the importance of efficiency and how to be productive.
Personal productivity and leadership will become even more important as our new new becomes the norm