Sounds simple doesn’t it? However, one of the biggest frustrations for many of the people I work with is how their days disappear. They set out with great intent, a clear desk, and a ‘To Do’ list but somehow, they never get to complete or achieve the things that really matter to them and their business.
At the end of each week, or month they generally feel they haven’t moved the business on, they aren’t personally satisfied and there’s a feeling of Groundhog Day – in fact I wish I had a tenner for every time I’ve heard that in the past few weeks.
This feeling creates lots of frustration, a situation where the individual isn’t happy, the business suffers from low productivity levels and in some cases causes individual mental health and wellness issues.
Productivity will become more of a challenge as businesses move out of lockdown and furloughs and face more staff cuts, squeezed margins and even more demanding clients – everyone wants more for less.
One of the key drivers for this low personal satisfaction and low productivity is a lack of focus and clear goal setting. People aren’t focussing on the areas where they get most energy and engagement – and where they can make the most impact to their business.
Dr John Mervyn-Smith, Chief Psychologist at The GC Index says, “Self-esteem, confidence and belonging come from doing not being. We are at our best as ‘human doings’ when we have a clear role and task that plays to our strengths. When we can make an impact and play to our strengths, we can feel potent in how we contribute to a team. Understanding how we make that individual impact is key.”
Here at Coleville, we use two approaches to help people and organisations be more productive.
1. We use The GC Index® to help individuals and teams understand their natural proclivities and where they can make the most impact.
2. We use the Leadership Management International approach of identifying the big Pay Off activities by analysing the value of time and identifying the Pay Off of success.
Firstly, let’s be clear what productivity is, how you can measure it, and then how you can improve it by getting the right people focussed on the right things.
A simple definition… productivity, is a measure of how efficiently goods and services are delivered. In a broad sense it’s about the overall effectiveness of getting things done or performing well, it’s about doing what it takes to make more profit.
From a personal perspective it enables you to earn income, as well as grow and become the person you want to be. It means making more use of your available resources, investing in tasks, activities or responsibilities that will provide a high return to your organisation – or to yourself.
Productivity is determined by working on high Pay Off activities and this means identifying the things that really matter in your life or work and allocating the appropriate time to achieve them.
Spend time on high pay off activities and you’ll be more productive, working smarter not harder. Improving productivity drives continuous improvement, and this adds to your sense of personal accomplishment, professional success, and engagement.
Is this just Time Management?
Well, yes in a way, but it’s not just about creating lists of things to do, in fact, most people who create those lists just focus on the easy things on the bottom of the list, ticking them off merrily but never getting to the bigger more challenging tasks at the top of their lists. Often these are the things they have no natural inclination, ability or motivation to achieve, although these are usually the most important things to their businesses.
Most people would be horrified at wasting personal or company assets but think nothing of wasting their valuable time to accomplish tasks that are only worth a fraction of the time value.
Productivity depends on establishing specific understandings about the value of your own time, remember:
1. The time at your disposal is your entire time capital.
2. You cannot afford the luxury of wasting time – either used or wasted you will never get it back.
So why not make the most of it?
Have you ever worked out what your time is worth? This is a useful exercise we use with people in our LMI Effective Personal Productivity programme, and many are horrified when they work out the value of their time. Many are spending their days doing things that aren’t worth their time investment, either it shouldn’t be done, or they should delegate the task. Here’s a ready reckoner to help you work out your time value.
Annual Earnings Your hourly value is worth
With thanks to Leadership Management International, numbers rounded for ease.
By understanding literally what your time is worth and setting specific goals for its use means more achievement in the same number of hours, or the same in fewer by delegation – so you can make proper judgements on how to use each hour for maximum productivity and profit.
My recommendation is that you take some time over a coffee and examine all the activities that make up your day and decide which of these is worth less than the time it takes to accomplish it, then decide whether that activity should be eliminated, simplified of delegated to someone else.
Take time to understand what the Important things are not just the Urgent. If you do this alone, you will probably make yourself 10-20% more effective.
By working with individuals and teams like this help people identify what the important, Big Pay Off activities are – the things that are fundamentally important to the future and sustainable profit of the business, rather than just urgent.
This is when we also use The GC Index®, as it helps us understand the strengths of team members and the impact everyone can make. The GC Index® gives us real insight into where a person’s main proclivities are, helping them and their organisation make informed decisions about who’s suited for what role or project and then creating the right environment for them to thrive.
The proclivities are Strategist, Playmaker, Implementer, Game Changer, or Polisher we enable businesses to be more profitable.
Recently we worked with an individual who was the Founder of an eCommerce business which has been running several years and with some success but is now looking to scale and build further resilience with new products and markets.
Our work with her showed that one of the things holding the business back was her own proclivities.
With an energy for Implementation, she was down in the weeds too much, because she just liked to do stuff, getting her hands on every operational matter and she would rarely delegate. Whilst she was doing this the business wasn’t really getting the new ideas or innovation it needed because it didn’t have anyone with a real energy for Game Changing, and the fact that the Founder was head down she didn’t have time or headspace to hire or get external help in that area. All round it meant an unbalanced business, frustrations and some low levels of satisfaction leading to low productivity.
Once an individual really understands where they can make an impact, we can really get them – and their organisation to be super-efficient and productive.
Key Take Outs
So, to summarise and help you, and your team, make the most of your time.
- Take time to analyse the real value of your own time.
- Identify all the activities you spend time on now and identify the things that make a difference to your business. Focus on the few Big Pay Off activities that are important rather than the urgent.
- Understand where you can make the biggest impact and plan your days around those activities.
Get all this right and you’ll have happier, more engaged, more productive employees and you’ll get a more profitable business – Simples!