September 1st, 2020
Technology and digital advances are happening faster than we can keep up with and has us playing catch up more often than we’d like. It also has us constantly measuring our productivity and looking for ways to do things faster and in some cases cheaper.
What does your level of productivity cost you when it’s not optimal?
As a leader, you might say when your team isn’t as productive as they could be, it costs everything! When you’re evaluating their productivity, are you leaving yourself out of the equation?
In other words, is your own level of productivity being impacted when your team isn’t productive?
On the one hand, you’re being encouraged to slow down, take pause and take a breath. COVID has forced us to slow way down, perhaps not even realizing how fast you were going before until your world suddenly came to a halt.
The race to constantly be on the go is real, which is why the sentiments mentioned above are ongoing and constantly being echoed. We don’t have a healthy balance between the two and it’s costing you your health and wellbeing. The most important asset we have.
The slow down message is real, so much so that learning how to slow down, actually allows you to go faster. How? Well, if you’re really taking a pause and caring for yourself in the best way possible (like it’s your job), you have more energy, more bandwidth and capacity to create, plan and lead others in your charge. As the replenished and energized version of you, instead of the depleted version of you.
How does this concept apply in real-life?
It comes down to your boundaries and your willingness to commit. Take that a step further and add your level of willingness to commit. We all have a scale we work with from 0 – 100. Are you all in and 100% committed to your goals? Or are you somewhere in the middle maybe closer to 50% or so?
This is also assuming you’re clear on what your priorities are. What goals you’re working towards and if you’re not, then get clear first before assessing how to be more productive.
You don’t achieve optimal productivity by half-assing your efforts. You achieve optimal productivity by setting clear boundaries and committing to them 100%. This also doesn’t mean beating yourself up and wagging that finger at yourself when you’ve only completed 3 out of the 10 things on your to-do list.
We all fall off our ‘lists’ from time to time. This comes down to what’s required of you to ensure you’re reaching your ideal levels of productivity so you’re getting the most out of your day as you work towards your goals. Whatever they may be.
Remote working was common pre-COVID, however as we continue to evolve into more of a hybrid workforce post-COVID, productivity becomes a frequent topic of conversation. A Gartner study says 61% of business leaders have implemented more frequent manager-employee check-ins. And it’s not just to say, “Hey, how are you?”
So how do you ensure you’re being productive in your workday?
- Boundaries – know them, create them and enforce them. I’ve talked a lot about boundaries, and they’re super important when it comes to measuring your productivity. Do you have them? Are they clear? Use them when you’re putting structure around your day and protect your time.
2. Prioritize tasks – your most important tasks and responsibilities should be completed first. Identifying which tasks will take the most energy and time, start with tackling those first and complete others accordingly.
3. Schedule & take breaks – an obvious one by now yet one that many of us tend to struggle with most often. With working from home being the norm these days and spending more time there than usual, it’s vital to ensure you’re giving yourself space and time away from your devices and to clear your head. Whether it’s a walk around your neighbourhood or getting in a workout throughout the day, scheduling and taking breaks is necessary!
4. Turn OFF distractions – we all have them and most of the time, we know what they are. Our phones, email notifications, now that we’re at home, kids, pets and so on are part of those distractions. The list goes on. Turn off or minimize your distractions where necessary. Silencing notifications or leaving your phone in another room altogether is a great way to not be tempted to pick it up and endlessly scroll Instagram or Facebook. If it’s email that’s a time-waster, schedule time in your calendar specifically for checking email and use that time only for that task.
Look for the distractions that get in the way and minimize or turn them off.
These are just a few recommendations that have been lifesavers for me when it comes to maintaining my productivity. You may have a loose system in place or you may not have one at all and yet, getting the most out of your day will require strong boundaries and your full commitment to whatever it is you’re working towards.
Note: some of these are also important practices to help prevent burnout! For more tips on preventing burnout, check out my post here.
When it comes to staying productive throughout your day, what’s a productivity hack you’ve found works best for you?
I’d love to know in the comments below!