Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an office worker, or a company executive you know how important productivity is. High productivity leads to healthier profits and employees benefit too with enhanced pay packages and job security. A productive workplace also allows more time for creativity and innovation. Once the core tasks are completed, pet projects can be explored. Of course, this has to be a part of the organizational culture. On a personal level, we all know how good it feels to look back on a workday with a sense of accomplishment. So, how can we pump up our productivity to reap these rewards?
Analyze Your Workday
For a few days, write down everything you do and when you do it. Be honest! Are you checking your personal Facebook account10 times a day? Are you on the phone for 30 minutes to schedule a 60 minute meeting? I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you find.
Prepare a To-Do List
Start the day with a prioritized To Do list. It’s fine to have a couple of items left over each day— unless they’re your high priority items. Try to accomplish your top three. And if those same items keep getting put off, you’ll need to seriously analyze your priorities.
Tackle Big Tasks When Your Energy Level is Highest
Most of us start to fade after 3pm, so that’s generally not the best time to tackle major projects. Prioritize the most important, challenging tasks and get them done during your peak hours. Leave “busy work” for your lower energy periods. Return phone calls all at once, not throughout the day. And, evidently, if you use the phone while standing up it reduces the temptation to chat.
Limit Email Checks
Incessant emailing may be the #1 time waster. Check and respond ONLY two or three times daily. Incoming messages are often just chatter about some insignificant detail, or a Reply to All saying, “thanks!!!” Don’t get caught up in that. Just weigh in after the dust settles.
Avoid Social Media During Peak Energy Periods
Facebook and other social media are fine to surf during a coffee break but never in your peak energy period unless it is a part of your marketing campaign. That being said, social media breaks can work as a mood enhancer, so indulge in a quick surf after a big task is fully completed (if it is in compliance with your organization’s policies).
Run Tight Meetings
We’ve all been in those talk-until-you-drop meetings. They’re frustrating and incredibly unproductive. So, have an agenda and don’t worry about being a strict chairperson. Sometimes you just have to cut off the “long-winders” and “hijackers”. Keep the group on time and on track. People will thank you for it.
Get up from your desk. Go for walks, get fresh air. Taking health breaks makes you more productive, just like re-booting your computer helps it run efficiently.
Learn to Say No
There’s nothing wrong with helping out a colleague, but don’t get taken advantage of. And don’t get thrown off your own priorities. If you’re asked to help on a project that you don’t have time for, don’t be afraid to say no.
Try out a few of these tips this week and see how much you can accomplish with a little re-tooling of your routine. For more advice and support on time management and how to effectively launch or run your business visit www.yesmontreal.ca
Liz Ulin, MBA
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