Productivity is one of the Holy Grails of today’s workplace. There are countless experts giving advice on how to become more productive at work and in everyday life. Search engines receive hundreds of search requests every day for this keyword. People want to optimize their activity by using their resources more efficiently. However, becoming super productive should not be the ultimate goal, but getting things done. Focus on the results and better productivity will be the natural byproduct of this process.
Here are some ideas that will help you get things done in a more efficient way:
- Clearly define your key results. Set your priorities straight from the beginning of the day/week/quarter/project/* for what you want to achieve. This way, you’ll know what’s at the other side of the rainbow and what you’ll work for. Key results are the better half of objectives and they always come in pair. Set up clear objectives and for each of them the key results. These are traceable, measurable, and offer you precious details on where you stand at each given time. Defining them well is priceless. Most people will create a true battle plan. From my experience, this works till the first teammate needs your urgent help. If it burns, go ahead and do your magic, but don’t let this repeat time and again or you’ll end up in tears at the end of the day. You could carefully organize everything, but I’d rather sketch some important milestones and leave it to that. When you reach a milestone, enjoy the moment. You don’t need to open a bottle of champagne for each thing you checked on your list, but feeling good about it will help you carry on even more determined.
- If you want to get things done, now it would be the right time to start doing it. This means you need to focus and cut off all interruptions, regardless of their form or origin. Do whatever it takes to get into the flow:
- Close your office door, if you have one. If not, you might use your team’s communication and collaboration app to signal your busy status.
- Put on some music, if you can work with music.
- Stop checking your emails and chat messages every 5 minutes. Come on, I know you can do it 🙂
- Turn your phone upside down to stop the notification invasion. The elegant way is to change the settings, but that takes time and patience, which we usually don’t have. Turning it upside down solves the problem blazing fast 😉 For me, it’s even easier because all I have to do is set our team’s communication and collaboration app to its Artificial Intelligence powered mode and I won’t get interrupted anymore.
- There is no such thing as efficient multi-tasking: you will do one thing OK (maybe, if you are lucky) and all the others poorly. If that is an option, then we might understand productivity differently and you shouldn’t be reading this. So, no multitasking, please!
- One of the things that greatly impacts productivity at work is stress. Eliminate stress factors and you’ll become more productive and of course less stressed at work 🙂
- Take a break from time to time to give your mind some moments to rest and become efficient again. Just don’t forget to factor in that after an interruption, it will take you approximately 20 minutes to reach the flow state again, according to various studies. If you want to read some tricks about better time management, here are 7 Ways to Organize Your Time and Boost Productivity.
- Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty. And no, it’s not weird that I’m including this here. You’d be surprised to know how many people postpone their lunch just to get that one last thing done. I’m not saying you should turn into baby mode and eat every 3 hours, but you’ve got to listen to your body’s signals. Make sure you pay attention to these basic needs, otherwise your focus will be seriously affected.
- And now, here goes the mother of all productivity hacks, which I was not able to find in the myriad of productivity articles I’ve read so far. Always stay in control. Over your time, your tasks, the interruptions that disturb you and over the work process in general. As long as you have control, you will manage to get things done. Lose control and nothing will work anymore.
Focus on results
At the end of the day, nobody will ask you how super productive you were, but what you managed to do. This is the only measurable, traceable and tangible thing that matters. Get things done and focus on actual results.