Emilia D’Anzica, Managing Partner of Growth Molecules, helps companies grow revenue with diagnostics and solutions for customer success.
Hundreds of books have been written, classes taught and coaching sessions offered to help people be more productive, but this remains a challenge that many business leaders face on a daily basis. In my leadership career and experience, I’ve found a few good spots that I think can help you drive hyper-productivity in your teams that need to function in a highly reactive environment.
When people have a workday full of tasks that require immediate attention or are primarily driven by others, it can lead to an overwhelming feeling that you will never catch up. Finding ways to gain more control over the workday and gaining the bandwidth to accomplish what matters most ultimately leads to happier, more successful teams.
Often the emergence of a lack of productivity can be found in daily habits. The good news is that we all have the power to make simple changes that lead to significant progress over time. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear discusses how we create new habits with small, incremental daily changes that lead to much more significant, positive changes over time. He says, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
When the workday is fully booked, there is a tendency to take on many tasks at once, thinking that we will achieve more. There is a common belief that multitasking is more efficient, but recently studies have shown that multitasking actually increases the time it takes to complete a task.
When we jump from one task to another, we become less efficient and more likely to make mistakes. This is especially true for more complex tasks that require a higher focus and brainpower. Think of the brainpower needed to wash dishes versus analyzing complex data in a spreadsheet. We can wash dishes and carry on a conversation quite well; however, entering data into a spreadsheet while on a call would make you less efficient at both tasks.
Here are a few tips for increased productivity:
1. Habit Inventory
To create new productivity habits, it can be helpful to first look at where you have habits that are causing lack of productivity. James Clear suggests tracking your daily habits to see where you’ve succeeded and where you can improve. I suggest keeping track of your habits as a way to motivate yourself to take small steps every day, setting yourself up for success instead of being hard on yourself for not getting it perfect every day.
Collaborating with others is a very powerful strategy to achieve a goal. According to the American Society of Training and Development, 95% of people are more likely to achieve a goal when held accountable by another person checking in. Reporting your progress to someone else is motivating and incredibly empowering to know that someone will be celebrating your success with you. As Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-hour work week“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
3. Reward System
A simple yet fun productivity hack is to build in rewards for completing tasks. A reward can be something like going for a walk, having a cup of coffee, or doing another task on your list that is easy and fun. We are often highly motivated by rewards; they can be very simple and don’t require a lot of planning or forethought. One of my favorite rewards is going for a run in nature.
4. Time Boxing
One of my favorite time management tools is the Pomodoro technique, a method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s a timeboxing method where you select a task to work on, focus on it continuously for 25 minutes, and then take a five-minute break. This can be repeated four times before taking a longer break. Knowing that you have a certain amount of time to complete a task creates a greater sense of urgency – you’ll want to set a timer. Try it and you will be amazed at how much you can do in a short amount of time.
Final thoughts to make the most of today
With intention, focus and responsibility, I believe that your goals can be achieved. When you put your time and energy into what matters most by taking targeted small steps, it can lead to exponential results and personal growth. Taking the time to make an honest assessment of what leads to a lack of productivity combined with a willingness to change will lead to significantly higher productivity and a more fulfilling work day. The sense of accomplishment will become addictive.
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.