Have you been feeling a bit unproductive on the job lately? Your work may not have changed all that much in recent months, but if you are finding that your productivity has taken a hit, then it is time to take stock of what you do and make some changes. Read on and we will look at ways you can use your time much more wisely.
1. Stay focused. With so many demands on your time, you just cannot respond to every request directly. Remove yourself from email lists, rethink your social media strategy and work with a planner to set goals and to meet them. You may be squandering precious minutes on tasks that have no redemptive value whatsoever. 2. Delegate tasks. Some matters you must handle yourself, but it is often the small things that kill productivity. Have someone else answer your calls, open your mail, order supplies, get online and do other menial tasks. Manage and make money! Hire a virtual assistant if you are a freelancer yourself. 3. Limit your meetings. Are you attending meetings every day? Why? Can those meetings be scaled back? If so, do that now. What meetings you do have should be short and get right to the point. Give attendees some meat to chew on, otherwise your meetings are a waste of your time. And their time too! 4. Beat a path. If a task works well, then model it for your other projects. There is a reason why Japanese automakers are so successful — they learned what works and have applied the same innovation across the entire product line. Do likewise and you won’t be reinventing the wheel time and again. 5. Reward employees. You pay your employees to do their work, but if you want to increase productivity from them — and reduce your workload — bonus those that go over and beyond what you require. Greasing palms with incentive money can help your people get more done. If money is short, paid time off is another option here. 6. Take breaks. Yes, you could eat your lunch at your desk. You could also avoid the coffee break. Chances are, however, that your body isn’t working as efficiently, therefore cut yourself some slack and the empowered you will work harder when well-nourished and rested. Your exercise regimen should be revisited too. 7. Live by a schedule. Perhaps you are so distracted because you do not schedule yourself. People that live by schedules get more done. They are also able to find more time to take time off to enjoy themselves. Yes, schedule your work tasks and your play time too. Golf, anyone? 8. Stuff the charts. Powerpoint charts. PDF files. Colorful apps. Forget the daily business updates and constant measurement of how you’re doing — that is a waste of time. Do weekly updates with the usual monthly, quarterly and annual reports, but leave the daily metrics out and you will get more done. Seriously. 9. Keep it simple, stupid. Make the complex easy. Employ the simple. Welcome the understandable. If your processes are complicated, they will affect your ability to get things done in the most efficient fashion. Embrace efficiency! Learn to harmonize what you do with the way that you live. 10. Get inspired. It is so easy to get stuck in the muck or pulled into the mundane. Always maintain a long-range focus, knowing that what you accomplish today will benefit your business long range. That’s a quicker-picker-upper that can motivate you to work more efficiently. And with passion too. 11. Stop analyzing. You have been taught to benchmark what you do, but that can have its drawbacks especially if do this constantly. Know what standard you want to meet, but leave the measuring up the occasional review, not the constant focus. 12. Get it done now. Unpleasant tasks come up frequently, but often get done when you are tired or not all. Most tasks should be handled immediately while the thought has crossed your mind and while your motivation to do it is there. Do it now and you will be able to focus on what you really want to do without unfinished business hanging over your head. Evaluate your business model too. If it needs to be changed, then make the update. If the passion is no longer there, then consider selling your business and finding something else that you want to do. When the joy is gone, the productivity goes with it.
Sameer Bhatia is the founder of ProProfs.com, a provider of comprehensive online tools for creating online training. www.proprofs.com/training/ . Through its online training software, ProProfs offers trainers and educators powerfully-simple way to create online training courses without requiring users to download or learn expensive training software.