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High Performing Teams Personal development Time Management Work life balance

How to improve productivity?

Being productive and feeling a sense of achievement at the end of the day or week, is critical to feeling successful and high performance.

Here are four performance rules I live by every day.

1. Todo list management

TODO lists are critical, as none of us can remember everything we need to do in a work context. Covey 7 habits of highly effective people is a great way to prioritise what is important as opposed to interruptions and time wasters. Use the four quadrants to section your todo list. That way you focus on the right items first.

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2. Track Projects

In addition I track projects. Todo lists are not good for managing projects, so I keep projects seperate and populate the todo list and quadrants with activities related to the projects for the week. This is one of the many take aways from the book “how to get things done”. I use a project tracker, which I keep in a word document. Each project is listed with next steps and a RAG status. I publish the list to my team and peers, which enables them to view progress, but also contribute, ask to participate or lead, ask for prioritisation and help them when communicating with their customers.

3. Weekly set aside time to plan your week

Each week on a Sunday evening or late friday evening to set the priorities for the week using the above techniques. I block time in my calendar for activities. This is good to do for two-three weeks out. That way if you any one “diary dumps” you can decide which is more important.

The other key thing I do, is I was start with the tasks, never email. I am more productive in the mornings, so I get on with the heavy tasks and early.

4. Email

As for email, I only check twice a day late morning and late afternoon. All my CC emails are on Auto direct to a cc folder. I only read when needed. If someone has given me an action, then I need to be in the TO line not CC.

Other tips:

  • Turn off email pop up alerts
  • Make emails short (no more than 5 sentences or 5 dot points)
  • Break the chain – pick up the phone instead of engaging in email trails
  • Text if it is urgent
  • Avoid Reply All and adding ccs
  • Set clear instructions – For Action, For Info, For Approval.
    • Say up front when a reply is needed.
    • “To” means action/reply needed.
    • “CC” means the cc must know this.
    • If neither applies then don’t email!
  • Inbox “Zero” Rules
    • Delete
    • Delegate
    • Do Now
    • Defer
    • Discuss

So here are 4 key productivity activities you can do that will make a difference:

1. Todo list management

2. Track Projects

3. Weekly planning ahead

4. Email

Good luck with achieving more by planning for success. Let me know how you get on?

By angelalovegrove

Angela has over 20 Years International Business Leadership experience in Technology sector working across the Financial Services, Government, Telecommunications, Construction, Mining, Consumer products, Retail, Not for Profits, Manufacturing and Health

Angela has led the setting up of technology start ups including fund raising - Quofore Europe, Asia Pacific, Masterpack Europe, Tenuteq Europe, High growth leadership Quofore Asia, Salesforce.com Australia, nbnco Business and Transformation leadership at Telstra Business NSW Australia.

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