By John Murphy
I don’t think I have ever met anyone who does not want to be more productive each and every day.
The day just never seems enough to get all you want done! Recognize this? Let’s be honest, it is an issue for all of us and is a constant challenge that comes up in all my coaching work.
Books have been written, courses delivered and seminars run on this subject – many wonderful (some not so much!) but the volume of advice can be so overwhelming that it actually inhibits your productivity. Not quite what you were looking for!
So, to assist in the elimination of the overwhelm I have set out my 6 Tips to Boost Productivity, which, if undertaken, will vastly improve your productivity and give you that sense of achievement at the end of the day that you are really seeking.
1. Be Razor Sharp About Priorities.
You can never be effective unless you have clarity about your priorities – otherwise you are just engaged in the next activity that lands on your desk or in your head. Busy? Yes. Efficient? No!
To get really clear about your priorities you need clarity about your goals so that you can decide if the specific activity you are undertaking is moving you towards the achievement of your goal.
Your priorities are those actions that will support the delivery of your goals. So, those things on your to do list today – do they progress your goals or not? If they don’t why are you doing them?
Get your priorities crystal clear!
2. Schedule Your Activities
This is fundamental to any discussion about time management and effectiveness! Schedule your activities as if they are appointments with yourself – and make that time as sacred as a meeting with your most valued client.
If one of your priorities this week is to prepare a performance review of your staff, or draft a proposal to a prospective client, then do not leave that activity on some to do list to do when you find time. Be disciplined about it and schedule to do it at a specific time and then be resolute about adhering to that.
An item on your to do list is an aspiration, a scheduled activity is a commitment! Being productive is all about commitment!
3. Be a Continuous Learner
Never be content about how productive you are – we can all get better! So have an attitude of continuous learning about ways to improve productivity. Now, just to be clear, I am not suggesting you spend your life trying out different systems for productivity. What I am saying is that new technology is being developed all the time that can really help your productivity, and don’t just ignore it. Check it out to see if it will improve your productivity – if it does, then incorporate it. If it doesn’t just dump it!
For example, I have become a recent convert to Evernote – a great tool to capture “stuff” on the go that I can refer to later. It really does help me to be more productive – I can have folders for various pieces of information I want to keep to look at later, and I know it is all in one place.
4. Celebrate Progress.
Every day celebrate your progress! Sound naff? Not at all! There is great value in reviewing your day and celebrating your successes and the progress you made towards your goals.
It is the fuel that boosts your energy for the following day.
5. No Multi-Tasking
I take real exception to those who laud “multi-tasking!” I do not believe it is a male/female thing – I believe it is simply a bad habit we can get into and then justify as a virtue!
Multi-tasking has to be inefficient because we are not giving full attention to any one thing, and consequently the output will reflect the input, which is divided and lacking focus!
Do one task at a time, and do not move to the next one until you have completed it. If you have scheduled the time for that activity, then give it 100%.
6. Restrict Your Time on Email
Email is one of the great tools we posses but it is also one of the greatest time stealers and inhibitors to productivity.
How often do you check your emails every day? Go on, be honest!
Checking your emails that frequently is only ensuring that your agenda is being run by everyone else – you want to know who has sent you what, and then you find that really interesting link.. ! 15 minutes later you realize that you are not doing what you should be.
I heartily advise that you allocate 3 periods in the day to check your email – and that is it! The world will not stop turning because you have not checked your email for 2 or 3 hours! Be in control of your time, not reacting to other people’s priorities.
We all can do something about our own productivity – and it is our responsibility to do so. So, now that you have read this – what are you going to do? And when are you going to do it?