Productivity is about a lot of things. It is about knowing what you want to achieve, knowing how important it is, dedicating enough time in relation to its challenge and then learning from everything you do. It is not only about making a to-do list even if that is an important thing to do in itself. I personally believe productivity comes from Energy, Focus and Passion. You need the energy to want to produce kick-ass things, you need the focus to know what to do and what not to do and you need to inject passion into yourself and everyone else around you in order to believe, to inspire and be inspired and create a direction everyone want to follow and be part of.
From my time working as manager and team member in various companies I’ve discovered what has been good pointers for me to increase my own productivity. I decided to share them in this blog post. Enjoy:
1. Have a positive Mindset
First things first. Your mindset is everything. It is the glasses you choose to put on in the morning. If you choose to come into the office with the feeling you rather go back home again, you won’t feel productive, you won’t get adrenaline going. You need to kick start that thing in you by being positive. By being optimistic. I always think of the things that excite me in my work and I focus solely on those as I head into the office. Enter the office every morning with a feeling of: “I am going to rock this!” If you tell yourself you will, you will be half way there. Your mindset is everything. Remember that.
2. Be opportunity focused
Look for the opportunity in everything around you. Don’t look for problems. Your mood, your energy level and your dedication will get impacted by what you put focus on. Always see to that you look for the potential in everything. Don’t say “No”. Say “Yes”. Say it often. And if it doesn’t work out, you’re one experience richer and have one more tale to share with others.
3. Learn from role models
Look for things people do which impress you. Take a sitdown and ask of these peoples main advice. Which are their key success factors? Discuss those with them and then be open about your own goals and ambitions. Ask them what they would do if they were in your situation with your conditions. Then reflect upon how you can use their feedback on your own work in order to become better in reaching your targets.
4. Involve others around you in your task
Clarify your goals for everyone, including yourself. Put it front of you and tell yourself that it is achievable. Ask others around you what they think you need to do in order to reach your goal. Then ask yourself what you think you need to do to reach your goal. This will create greater alignment and focus for you putting the energy into the right things. Focus is an important part of productivity. It is not that things outside your focus are unimportant but actions having a direct relation to your targets should take up 80% of your time. If they don’t, you’re not focused.
5. Involve yourself in other peoples goals and tasks
Get to understand peoples ambitions and targets. Understand what drives them and take a sitdown to discuss: “How can we achieve success together and how can we scratch each others backs?” This will create synergy at your company and increase your self belief in knowing you have people backing you. A team which understands and cares about each others goals will go further. Be one of those teams.
6. Plan things
Don’t act randomly. Plan it thoroughly. Decide whenever you are to have your meetings, when to call your stakeholders, when to write contracts, when to feedback on side projects impacting your work etc. Put deadlines in your agenda which will act as milestones you plan your actions towards. Some people believe a rigid plan make you less flexible and therefore is a bad thing. I couldn’t disagree more. A thorough plan make you understand how other implications and possible side projects may impact your agenda and work. It doesn’t mean you won’t add them. It just means you’re enabled to add them while knowing pre-emptive which challenges might arise on the way and give you time to figure out possible ways around it. Always divide your actions into Must Do’s and Nice to Do’s so you directly know what you can lay aside when projects change and suddenly crave more time.
7. Manage meetings: Key to preserve your operational time
a) Dare say no to meetings: “Is this relevant for me?” If not, then don’t turn up. Don’t show people they can take your time for whatever. Always ask the question: “How does this benefit me in reaching my targets?” -And- “Will my manager or my managers manager thank me for doing this when it’s done?” If not, then don’t do it.
b) When in meetings, skip the bullshit. Make every 1 hour meeting into a 30 minute meeting – Tops. Skip the polite phrases in the beginning. Get to the point directly.
c) Every meeting should have an agenda. Think through which opinions you have on those bullet points before you come to the meeting.
d) Come in time to the meeting.
e) Always bring your computer. When others are late, get shit done. This is a perfect opportunity to finish those minor tasks which always take more time than one thinks.
f) When meeting starts, stop every other activity. Have full focus on what happens in the meeting. Take a note of every action and deadline relevant to you. When it is 15 minutes left of the meeting say that you have to go in 10 minutes and ask what the most important question left to discuss is and make everyone put focus on that.
8. Learn from network
Network and connections: Do you know people who can be beneficial for your targets? Why have connections if you don’t use them? Poke around, send a message or a text. Book a lunch and sit down to discuss what they do and be open about your own journey and what you want to achieve. Remember that honesty and humility is always a beneficial tool. Try to learn something new from those around you. Reflect how you can use that in your job. Dare to try it out. Plan it like everything else. Or it won’t happen.
9. Have a kick-ass attitude
Be polite, respectful and embrasive of everyone. You never know when someone around you may show up in the future again in another role impacting your present situation. Always treat people as you’d like to be treated yourself. Even when you are the big shot manager and there is a random guy at the office who needs your help. Be curious of others and ask more questions, don’t talk so much about yourself. Ask others of what interests them and what they do. Compliment and embrace their initiatives. People are what matters in this world. Making people want to help you out or caring for your well being can become a remarkable productivity increaser when you least know it. Sometimes only because doing good for others injects you with positive energy but sometimes because they will want to help you out.
10. Ask for feedback. And use it.
Ask for feedback often. Try to ask for constructive feedback. Ask the questions:
a) What do you think I could do better?
b) How would you go about doing it if you were me?
c) What would the main difference be if I did that?
… And never forget to say thank you for the feedback. Someone giving you feedback is dedicating their time into improving you as a professional. A very giving and caring thing to do. We all have areas of improvement. Don’t fear them. Search for them. Identify them. Learn how to improve them. Do it.
… And plan it. Like everything else.
11. Be a kick-ass person
Be personal, intimate and honest. This is a mindset thing once again. Don’t be shallow. Don’t care so much about your personal brand. Ironically those who do normally don’t get far anyway. Instead of worrying about what to do to look good or how people think of you, dedicate time into doing good things for yourself and others. It will be what grows your relationship, aura and self belief as a human being at the same time – and thus is what makes your brand.
Be true. Be real. And people will know. You’ll also see that many of these people will start caring about you and your progress. What you invest in relations will come back in results – by the double.
12. Don’t just work. Love. Live.
Don’t only work. Have a hobby or two. Work out. Tend to your energy level, Recharge your batteries and dedicate time into a passion of yours which is non-work related. Read books, gain perspectives, take breaks during work and reflect on what you’re doing, read the news, have opinions on matters instead of letting it pass you, argue your opinions with people around you but be respectful of their views, learn to debate, go to bed early when you’re tired and go through good things in your life. Give a fruit to a colleague who seem tired. Ask your colleagues of their day. Do it short. Laugh. Compliment people around you.
Follow these 12 pointers and you’ll notice that Energy, Focus and Passion will raise and have a great impact on your productivity.
My best wishes on a terrific 2017 for you!