The average workday is 8 hours. More often than not, the employer expects their employees to be working for those said 8 hours. That means 8 hours of sitting and concentrating on whatever tasks that profile deems as “work”. However working many hours straight without a break does nothing for your productivity. By concentrating consistently throughout the day, you risk burnout.
Let’s be real and face it. Business owners have a lot on their plate. When you have a business to run you often get distracted from the day-to-day activities. To overcome this you need to be productive.
Mark woke up with some nausea. Some pain, some headache, but he needed to put all that aside and focus on the day ahead. After brushing teeth for 10 mins he checked his work emails which were overwhelming because 2 customers were angry with late delivery of the order. If it was a usual day, Mark would have resolved the issue in the office but today he was not feeling that well. He forgot to message his secretary to move forward his 11 am meeting with a potential client and got back to sleep.
He woke up at 11:30 when her secretary called him to notify that the client waited for half an hour and canceled the meeting after some abusive words. Now, this is typically one of the days of a manager. What went wrong here? Ideally, the Mark should’ve have assigned task to the secretary with a productivity management software and updated it before sleep. Just because nothing was automated or scheduled, Mark faced serious consequences.
Related: Getting Organized with TaskQue
Although so much have been written about how to be productive, there is still a need to write more and do more. So here are some tips that can help anyone who is willing to do more and achieve more.
- Start Canceling Meetings
This sounds crazy right? Well, not according to Steve Jobs. When Steve created Pixar, one policy he focused most on was ‘meet while you walk’ In Pixar you don’t need to sit for a meeting. You can just go to the relevant person and do meeting while you’re standing there. This according to Steve, saves a lot of time.
The best approach is to cut down your meetings and follow the technique by Steve Jobs. This will not only help you be more productive, it will help you save a lot of time too.
- Question your actions
One thing managers fail to do is to question their actions. Being a manager doesn’t give you a right to do anything you want. It means you need to learn from your mistakes. You need to analyze every decision you make and it doesn’t serve you well, you need to leave it and do something else instead.
- Switch off your smartphones when doing an important task
The biggest productivity killer is your cell phone. Constants notifications break your focus and you find it difficult to concentrate on one thing. The best way to save yourself from being distracted is to switch off your cell phones before you start something important. If something is urgent, you will hear it, but for now, you need to focus on the task at hand.
- Use Mind Maps to boost your productivity
Tony Buzan introduced mind maps for a reason. Mind mapping is one of the best ways to capture your thoughts and bring them to life in visual form. Beyond just note-taking, though, mind maps can help you become more creative, remember more, and solve problems more effectively.
- Figure out the best possible solution
Daniel Shapero of LinkedIn uses a simple 2×2 chart called the Priority Matrix to prioritize projects and allocate resources based on value and probability. The Matrix helps Shapero break projects down into four categories:
Home runs, which have a high value and a high probability of success. Shapero actually delegates these projects, but keeps a close eye on how they’re being executed.
Big bets, which have a high value and a lower probability of success. Shapero gets personally involved here, knowing that a high level of his investment will be necessary for the project to gain traction.
Small wins, which have a lower value, but high odds of success. Shapero delegates here as well, but spends less time managing the project’s execution.
Junk projects, which have low value and low odds of success. Interestingly, Shapero puts a high amount of effort into these projects as needed – not to turn them around, but to destroy them.
If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and putting your effort into the wrong things, Shapero’s Matrix could help guide your productivity.
- Take Adequate Breaks
It might sound crazy, but working less can actually mean working more productively. A study led by Emily Hunter, Ph.D., and Cindy Wu, Ph.D., at Baylor University found that the more time that had passed since the beginning of the workday, the less useful a break was. Their takeaway recommendation? That people who aim for peak productivity take breaks throughout the early morning, and get a good long break mid-morning.
We all know that traditional energy cycles put peak energy times during the mid-morning and mid-day. The interesting conclusion they’ve drawn, however, is that it’s easier to keep that energy up and replenish it with an early break, as opposed to one taken later in the day.
Ultimately, there are as many unique solutions for enhancing productivity as there are unique people in the world. Experiment with these suggestions, but don’t limit yourself to them. Find the combination of practices and principles that makes you as productive as possible.