THINK EFFECTIVELY! We strive to be better to achieve more and to be better. However we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure so we must have a realistic plan for all aspects of our life. Productivity is one such area that we strive to be better at. In the interests of this article I will focus on the work environment, the principles however can be transferred to our personal lives also.
The fundamental principles is to be prepared, have a positive mental attitude, plan for what you wish to achieve, have a strategy, and be kind to yourself. All you can do is your best but you must be honest with yourself and if you do find you can improve certain areas it is your responsibility to make the changes required to improve your chances of success in the future.
Plan for the day ahead. Prepare from the onset, where are your keys, bag, phone, wallet. By addressing these seemingly inconsequential needs you will be well on your way to taking charge of your day. Always set a contingency in place to ensure that you arrive early to work. Consider elements out-with your control and plan measures that will counter balance them i.e. bad weather leave home 30 minutes early. This is an easy way to reduce the amount of stress you might feel and give you more control of your day.
Be positive about the day ahead. Reflect on your achievements and recognise what you still have to do and how you are going to do them. A positive frame of mind will go a long way to setting the scene for the day ahead. Trust me if you can control the start of the day there is more chance of controlling the rest of it. Being more enthusiastic will help a great deal to you becoming more productive.
Consider realistic, specific, measurable goals for the day. Focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking is not gender specific, although there are lots of academic argues that support it and it should be kept to a minimum. Its easy to start a task but don’t forget to complete it is the goal, otherwise all you are doing is wasting your time. Get rid of the distractions. Be strict with yourself and work with concrete deadlines this will have a positive influence on the volume of work you accomplish
. Don’t try to take on too much be realistic and use all resources at your disposal. Having the foresight to recognise when delegation is required and having the confidence to identify appropriate individual to take on the task is a great strength. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to complete every task in solitude. This can deskill those around us and can be an indication of lack of confidence in oneself. Remember you don’t need to be involved in every aspect of a project, your time can be more effectively utilised on specific areas. For example you should ask yourself do I need to be involved in the administration element. Concentrate on the most crucial 20 per cent of your workload, because performance would still be strong. By setting realistic deadlines and reflect on your to-do lists. This will keep your focussed and on track.
The old saying everything has its place is said for a reason. Being organized and able to put your hand on what you need to complete the tasks ahead will save you time, energy and frustration. You should be able to have easy access to every resource you may need to complete your work and you should be confident that you know where to find them. Develop a written daily plan of action that takes account of what you want to achieve and as you complete the tasks ‘tick’ off the tasks.
You’ll find this very therapeutic and is a powerful reinforcer and motivator. This will act as a positive reinforcer and motivate you to continue and achieve subsequent tasks. Having a written daily plan of action ranks as one of the most powerful time management and productivity tools person can implement. Many of us begin a project but for some reason don’t complete it in a timeous fashion. All they are doing here is storing up stress and unnecessary pressures for later. Make it a point to start and completely finish one task at a time. Develop underpinning effective processes and systems that will support your goals. Think about how effective current processes and systems are and consider if they can be made more effective. Take the time to stop and think
Prioritise Your Tasks
Prioritise each task and be realistic with your time, energy and ability. Create a list of action steps that will allow you to complete the task, don’t make it a cumbersome process or an additional pressure for yourself. Look at each task in segments, consider what each of the steps would be in an order to ensure the task are completed in the most efficient way with the least waste of time and effort. Notes and to-do lists in your line of sight are t effective visual motivating aids that will provide ongoing encouragement to achieve the task you have set. You may choose to use some sort of daily planner, IT calendar, smartphones or even audio recordings to reinforce the set goals. This will be determined by the user and what feels best for them. Don’t make the mistake of creating a further job for yourself. Remember this is to ease the process for you not hinder it. Having a clear plan will allow you to be assured that you can focus your time and energy on what has to be done and not on unrealistic expectations of having to remember everything.
Don’t get distracted. Be strict with yourself, you can only do so much and if you allow yourself to be distracted with tasks that can wait until the prioritising tasks are completed. Don’t allow your inbox drive your workload, only check your emails a set number of times each day (generally this should not exceed 5 times per day). This only creates interruption and further pressure and takes your full attention away from the task at hand. Clean out one drawer at your office. Throw away binders from workshops you attended five years ago
Look after yourself
Eat, drink and take breaks to heal your mind and body. What is important is to step away from your desk. Best still go for a walk, get some fresh air. You’ll find if you have a stretch you’ll release natural endorphins that will benefit you. Make sure that you water intake is regular. This is one of the most important habits that will dramatically improve your productivity. Stay hydrated. For fear of this being viewed a a contradiction in terms remember to relax, even for a short period of time, you will feel the benefits. Remember to see the funny side don’t allow yourself to be submerged in the pressures of work or life. Sometimes the choice is laugh or cry and sometimes the only positive thing you can do is laugh and reflect on the learning.