This is the second part of our series on productivity for virtual employees. Last time our focus was about how we can work with our physical body to fuel us to ‘be’ productive. You can find it here. This time I wanted to talk more about tasks and how we work with these to get more done in less time.
Productivity at work has a focus on two key areas; task and time management. Let’s step back though and look at our goal of being more productive. When it comes to productivity what is the big goal? Where exactly do we want to be more productive and why? With the best will in the world none of us, in today’s environment, can get it all done. Though it feels good to prune our emails, have a tidy desk and tick off a number of simple tasks from our “to do” list this isn’t what this subject is all about; is it? I suggest where we want to ‘be’ productive is where it makes the most difference to our own and our teams results. Here then are a few questions and suggestions to reflect on if being more productive is your goal. Disconnect from constant connection Just a few short years ago this was not the issue it has now become. With Skype open all day for most of us, facebook, twitter and linkedIn, the temptation, when we really need to focus, can be unbearable to; “just have a quick look”. Ditto email.
Here is a suggestion; have a daily black out period when you shut everything down. If you are an online addict start slow and disconnect for two hours and build it up. It might not be possible everyday so put it in your diary and commit to make it happen. This act alone will surprise you in how much you then achieve. Should I be doing this?
With distractions now minimised what next? Here is a big question; “is that the best use of my time?” The answers may surprise you. Busy work feels great to get off your plate and yet it isn’t the most ‘productive’ use of your time. A while ago a mentor encouraged me to fill out an activity inventory; think, time management only putting it into ‘activity blocks’ (if you would like a copy email me at Julia @ ZestFor (dot) com and put the word activity inventory in the title ). When I analysed my time I had a sharp intake of breath; though I felt quite smug about how much ‘work’ I could get through; pity it was in the wrong areas. What this type of exercise can do for you is highlight the gaps in your own productivity profile and where your true attention needs to be. The Power of three
Leading on from my activity assessment I then started to implement the power of three exercise. This is how it goes. I decided on the 3 most crucial business results that week. Yes I did have a huge list and I know I am human; that meant I had to focus down on what needed to happen that week. Then each day I would write down the three most important results for the day in question. As a trainer and coach who deliver training constantly it is easy to feel guilty about all the other ‘things’ that need to get done. This system helped me focus on what was key. For me it would be making sure my delegates got the results they wanted followed by the next two priorities. I know this might sound fat too simplistic. That is exactly what I initially thought. Then I started ‘doing’ it and was astounded by the shift it gave me. There you have it three easy to action strategies that work. Let me know your results,
Till next time,
P.S. If you want that activity inventory drop me an email or fill out my contact form