These days getting more from the resources you have available is almost taken for granted. You have more and more tools to help you yet you still struggle to be as productive as you would like. Does it really need to be like that? Here are my top 8 tips for being more productive.
1. Discover when you are your best
Some of us are at our very best early in the morning. For others it might be late into the evening or even in the middle of the day. Knowing when you are at your best has huge benefits when it comes to scheduling what you do and when you do it.
2. Set goals
Determine at the start of each day what outcomes you will have achieved. Don’t worry if you don’t have every detail worked out as to how you will do it. By setting an intention or outcome you will figure out ways of achieving it.
3. Know what matters
Many people lack clarity on what their key deliverables are. We all know that about 20% of what we do accounts for about 80% of the results. What is the 20% that gives the most impact for you? If you don’t know, set out to find out.
4. Start with the biggest challenge
While it always tempting to start with easy stuff and start scoring things off the list, avoid doing this. Start with the most challenging task first. It might be a report, a project plan, a specification or an important customer call. Whatever it is do it first.
5. Manage interruptions
Open plan offices are all the rage. While they are great for team and group working, you sometimes need some quiet space. Make it clear to those around you if you need a slot of time without interruptions.
6. Delegate more
If you have a secretary or PA they can often take a lot of tasks off your hands. This might be for example routine letters or phone calls or operating a bring forward system for items that you have deferred. If you are leading a team, delegate things to others that can do it better than you.
7. Book out time slots in the diary
The more senior you get, the more likely you are to get your diary filled with meetings. With diaries also being open to others, it can mean there is no time to get things done. Make a point of booking out tasks that you have to do as appointments so that the time is not grabbed by someone else.
8. Be realistic
Remember you are a ‘human being’ and not a ‘human doing’. It is all too easy to set up lists of things to do that are totally unrealistic. We all have done it. We like to helpful. Get into the habit of setting challenging but realistic targets.
At the end of the day improving your productivity is an ongoing process. Start by taking some simple steps and watch as you start to achieve more and more with less and less effort.
From your own experience what else contributes to your productivity. Share your experience and wisdom by leaving a comment.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.