If you’re looking for ways to make your business a success, then it means improving the productivity of every member of staff you employ. So, what’s the best way to do achieve this greater level of company productivity? Leading by example. Here are 10 rules of productivity that work, which you can start performing today and others can then learn from. You might want to write them on the wall, or make them your computer background or even send them around in a company-wide memo.
1. Do not multi-task
It’s all too easy when juggling multiple tasks at one time, to jump from one to the other as your mind quickly swings back and forth with new ideas. However, the problem with this is that true productivity on any task only occurs once you get into it the full swing and make it your only focus. By moving from one to the other you break your clear chain of thought and always need to get back into the true productive flow with any one job. So, the way of properly eradicating multitasking is with good scheduling and time management. Make it clear in your daily diary what needs to be done and then allocate specific time slots to each task. Only once each once is done can you move onto the next thing.
2. Prioritise the mundane
Everybody has jobs in their daily schedule that they don’t like doing and that they are continually being tempted to avoid and come back to later. The problem with this is that part of your mind will always be dreading those upcoming tasks, or feeling guilty for having neglected and put them off. Instead, make the tasks you least like doing your first jobs of the day. Then, once they are done you can effectively move onto everything else and not be constantly reminded of things you don’t want to do.
3. Take breaks
Taking breaks is in no way a bad thing, and instead, allow you to re-energise and refocus your mind for the day ahead. Don’t fall into the cycle of just ploughing through your to-do list with no rest, as your productivity and focus will quickly drop and you’ll actually end the day getting less done. Instead, focus on having a 5-10 minute break every 50 minutes. Get away from the desk, clear your mind and start to assess what you will get done in the next 50 minutes.
4. Be honest with colleagues
If you are in any position of leadership or have a commanding knowledge of a section of the business then no doubt you receive multiple requests a day from colleagues needing your assistance. By all means, you should spread your knowledge and assist where possible, but don’t let it be to the detriment of your own day. Next time you are half way through a task and someone asks for your help, be honest and tell them that you need to get this done before you can help them. Give them a time frame like 15 minutes until you will be able to help them. This way, they still get your help, you are less distracted and they will come to respect your time as valuable in the future.
5. Do what you love
There is no true cure for improving the productivity at a job you do not like. If you find it impossible to truly get into your work, and everything on your list is a task that you don’t relish, then it could that be you aren’t really doing what makes you passionate. Instead, you need to discover that passion and work in that respective field. Hopefully, that doesn’t necessarily mean moving company, but it can mean finding ways to get involved in projects that excite you more and will allow you to be truly productive.
6. Do not have too many tabs
If there’s someone in your business who you believe is properly productive at what they do, then next time you’re at the office, take a look at their computer screen. It’s likely they only have open on their screen what is most crucial to them at that time. You, on the other hand, may be falling into the trap of having 10 to 20 tabs open at any one time. This shows a lack of focus and opens you up to a larger number of potential distractions. So start being critical and only leaving open what is important for the task ahead.
7. Develop routines
Routines are the bread and butter to the daily schedule of many of the most productive and successful people around. It’s like by getting out of bed the same time every morning and going to sleep at the same time - you will train your body to be more energised at the right times of the day. So, you should do the same with your daily tasking schedule. Get similar jobs done at the same time each day and take timed breaks at the same intervals as well. Over time, your body and mind come to expect and appreciate this routine and be more productive when it needs to be.
8. Use productivity tools
There are so many tools out there which are great for encouraging you to be continually focused and more productive. Whether this is pre-programmed reminders of what needs to be done, or an all-in-one cloud storage system like Dropbox which allows you to access your work from anywhere when you need it, productivity tools are a great addition to any working schedule. Speak to your colleagues about what tools they use and identify problems in your daily schedule that are kurbing your productivity; no doubt there is an app or website out there to help you.
9. Hold yourself accountable
If you are performing a given task and it has seriously over-run the amount of time you know it should have taken, then there is only one person to blame for that: yourself. Don’t make excuses like “Jeremy needed my help for 10 minutes” or “the meeting over ran”. Instead, define how long every task should take you and when it should be done by. If something or someone is going to steer you away from that deadline then don’t do that task, or inform your colleagues that you need to leave the meeting early or help them when you are done. Be accountable for your own schedule and don’t blame others.
10. Try, fail and try again
The most crucial element of improving your productivity is being critical of yourself and assessing what is working and what isn’t. You should be trying new ideas to become more productive, but be self-aware enough to know that, when one isn’t working, stop doing it and try something else or seek further information. Achieving all 10 of these rules won't happen overnight but is instead a trial and error process that takes time and effort to achieve, so be willing to put in the work.
At SmartPA, we are all about improving your productivity and helping businesses get to the point where they are running at maximum efficiency at making the best use of their most valuable asset: time. That’s why we offer tailored solutions that help take away mundane and distracting tasks by giving you access to remote personal assistants who can do them for you. If you have a number of these tasks on your desk each day that you know could be better performed by a PA, then get in contact with us today and we can see if we are the right fit for your business, and help you access the power of the 10 sacred rules of productivity.