Categories
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?

Categories
Coaching Mentoring Time Management

Time Management

Moving from reactive to proactive has been the key skill I have had to coach for individuals to progress in their career.

Reactive activity: Activity driven by Emails and phone calls, demand from stakeholders including customers

Proactive: developing and overall strategy, steps to achieve and setting up cadence calls. Building stakeholder relationships, focus on the projects and only check emails once or twice a day.

If you are the most productive in the morning, dont check email, allocate time for a project where we are at our peak in terms of attention and focus.

If you have worked in a customer service role where you have been responsive and reactive and then move into sales, you will need to adjust to Proactive work from mainly reactive. To make this transition look at training, reading the below book and also getting a coach.

It takes time to change behaviours but this adjustment is well worth the effort.

https://gettingthingsdone.com This is a great book to really nail your productivity.

If you are starting out in your career, learn project management skills as this will be a core skill for the Proactive time management.