5 Enhanced Productivity Tools – Not What You Think

Here are 5 enhanced productivity tools that you and your team can employ to be on top of your productivity game.  Without these or other enhanced productivity tools,  your company and individual performance will bog down.

Enhanced Productivity Tools

enhanced productivity tools

1. Having A Game Plan

The basic principle of enhanced productivity tools is having a game plan. Workers accomplish this is by having effective time-management. If you do not have a game-plan for getting it done, you won’t be satisfied with the results. While procrastination and wasting time impede productivity, lack of effective time-management can be as destructive.

If you have a good game plan, you will increase your productivity. First, you need to know exactly what must achieve. Second, even if you do not have a specific deadline, you must also decide when it must be done. The third step is putting yourself to the task of doing it.

You want to accomplish your goals, whether they are short-term or long-term. You also want to be proud of and satisfied with the results. When you are not content to simply “go with the flow.”   And instead, if each workday you take your game-plan seriously every step of the way, you are nearly guaranteed of success, less stress, and satisfaction.  That’s the objective of enhanced productivity tools.

Enhanced Productivity Tools Start with Effective Game Plan:

Here are the 3 components of an effective game plan.

  • Identify What You Must Accomplish

First, you need to know exactly what needs to be done. For instance, if you have been assigned to prepare for a presentation as well as a meeting that will be held within the week. You have to be clear of the tasks at hand.

  • Decide When You Must Accomplish it (Timeline)

Secondly, even if you do not have a specific deadline, you must set a timeframe for the task to be completed. When you have organized your workload, you are less likely to procrastinate, and this will help you in prioritizing your tasks as well as managing your time.

  • Do It!

The third step is putting yourself to the task of doing it. There’s no use of all the planning and organizing if you do not take immediate action in completing the tasks.

2. What Should You Do First?

Another of enhanced productivity revolves around prioritizing.  If you think about back when you were in school, you may remember teachers telling you that the best way to approach homework and other projects was to do the hardest task first. They may have also advised you to tackle the homework subject you disliked the most first, before moving on. This same approach can greatly enhance your productivity today.

Always start with a difficult task. When you begin your day, regardless at work or if you have countless assignments to be submitted before exams, try and put this approach to action.

Instead of beginning with a task you enjoy, or one which comes easily to you, start with one you dislike, or one which you feel will be quite difficult. At the end of the day, you may be pleasantly surprised with how much you have accomplished. You will also feel that the day has gone much smoother.

The explanation for this is because usually at the start of your day, you have more energy as compared to the end of the day. When you devote this energy to the hardest or most disliked tasks, you will not feel as drained or frustrated in doing them.

Second, if you begin with the easier tasks at hand first, you will be looking at your difficult upcoming tasks with negativity. This will no doubt cause your motivation to decline, and you will dread the rest of your day.

This approach will increase your productivity. When you do not look at your workday as a long, uphill battle, you will get more accomplished. Getting the tasks you dislike out of the way first, early in the day, will generate better results with all of your tasks. Not only will you get more done, but you will also be much more satisfied with the outcome of each and every task.

3. Increasing Motivation
“Be miserable or motivate yourself. Whatever you need to do, it’s always your choice”

We all observe unmotivated workers.  Some use that as an excuse for not getting things done. In most cases, this is a polite way of saying that they are lazy. In the real world, where productivity and success are essential, motivation is a key element. If it does not come naturally to you, you need to examine ways to increase your own motivation and put it into action every day. The more motivated you are, the more things you are able to accomplish.

One of the most practical steps you can adopt to get your motivation up and running is to enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments. Applaud yourself for completing every single task, regardless big or small. Give  yourself the deserved credit as well as a figurative pat on the back.  That will no doubt increase your motivation.

When you do this, it will also help to increase your stamina. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by one main goal on the horizon, which can leave you tired and stressed, it can make you feel more energetic and better prepared for the next task.

It is easy for a person to lose his sense of motivation when he feels that he is not accomplishing anything. This can result in him not feeling very good about what he does, and even doing less. Fortunately, it is not difficult to reverse this pattern and be back on track. When you get into the habit of feeling glad about every task you complete, and have pride in each and every accomplishment, it will increase your motivation to do even more, and to do better each time.

Since motivation and energy are connected, you will also see that you have much more energy for all of the tasks in front of you. It doesn’t matter how large your ultimate goal is, or how much time and work you must expend to accomplish it.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how much more smoothly you progress with sufficient motivation. As both your motivation and your energy increase, you will achieve more and more. You will see how great productivity can be each day.

4. Setbacks Are Stepping Stones

Here’s another surprise among enhanced productivity tools.  You would not ordinarily consider this as one of the enhanced productivity tools.

Many people take setbacks negatively, and often times your perception towards setbacks is the biggest obstacle and hindrance of productivity. Sometimes you focus on how setbacks only bring you down.  That does not serve as a forward-moving stepping-stone.  You could end up not doing anything at all.

Setbacks occur in all areas of life. Regardless of what type of job you have, you probably experience them either occasionally or on a regular basis. Setbacks can occur from making mistakes.  Sometimes you don’t prepare for your assignment.   Occasionally you experience faultless unexpected problems. The way you experience and view a setback determines how you let it affect you and your productivity.

However a setback occurs, there is one outlook which can prevent it from becoming a roadblock, and actually increase your productivity. Whether the setback was due to an error on your part, or whether it was no one’s fault, refusing to see it as a failure is the first step in getting you back on track.

Resilience one of Enhanced Productivity Tools
      Resilience bolstered by enhanced productivity tools

Another way of viewing setbacks is by perceiving them as an opportunity for you to do better next time. If you have made a mistake on your part, own up to it, correct the mistake and move on. There’s no use of dwelling in the past as these can have repercussions.

You may beat yourself up about the mistake, or even obsess about it. These behaviors are never useful. Not only will you  fail to achieve things, you will also feel bad about yourself. At its worst, you feel incompetent. You won’t accomplish tasks this way.

Viewing each setback as a learning experience is the way to approach work. Beating yourself up too much won’t get you anywhere. You should always remind yourself that you are capable of doing better, and capable of doing more. What you need to do is to correct the mistake, move on and make this pattern second nature to you. By doing this, setbacks will not bring you down and hinder your productivity.

5. Taking Care of Yourself

If there’s one thing we usually neglect to do, is taking care of our own physical wellbeing. If you are like most people, you have probably experienced working all night to get something done. You may have gone without sleep, skipped meals, and other important factors in self-care, for the purpose of finishing a task or meeting a deadline. While it is sometimes necessary to do this, neglecting self-care on a regular or frequent basis will backfire. Your health may suffer while you are not accomplishing nearly as much as you had hoped.

Many of us disregard the fact that taking care of our health will also keep us productive. The person who goes without sleep on a regular basis, or relies on junk food instead of eating nutritious meals, will not be physically or mentally up to par. While you may believe that you are giving one hundred percent to your job, these unhealthy habits result in having less to give.

On the other hand, if you take care of yourself; getting sufficient sleep, keeping to a balanced diet, you will in turn contribute more to your work. When you are in top-notch condition, you will focus better, be more alert, and not become fatigued as easily. You will do better, and you will do more.

Enhanced Productivity Affects Lifestyle

It is time to examine your lifestyle. Are you constantly depending on coffee or artificial energy boosters to keep you going? How about snacking on junk food? Are you getting enough sleep or are you constantly burning the midnight oil in order to complete your tasks? Try and reflect on these questions and if you find yourself leading an unhealthy lifestyle, it is high time for you to improve on it and observe how this has effected your day to day productivity.

Although nearly everyone is occasionally in the position of skipping a meal or working late into the night, if these have become habits for you it is not likely that they are helping you to become more productive. In fact, they are probably slowing you down.

Even if you have a fast-paced job with many responsibilities and deadlines, neglecting proper self-care is counterproductive. When you begin developing the habit of getting enough sleep and a proper diet, you will be doing more than taking care of yourself. You will get more done, and be more satisfied with the results. Always remember that overworking can backfire!

How Time-Blocking Drives High Performance and Productivity

This article takes you through how time-blocking drives high performance and productivity.  Time-Blocking is one of the most effective time-management techniques used by peak performers such as Elon Musk, Cal Newport, and Bill Gates.  On the other hand, if time isn’t planned well enough, it tends to be wasted or spent ineffectively.Time-blocking requires switching tasks at set intervals to drive higher performance

Stay Motivated – Time-Blocking Drives High Performance and Productivity

What happens when we push our brain at work to keep thinking, focusing and creating hour after hour? It shuts down or goes on strike. Your brain says “I’m outa here, buddy.”  This is especially true when we keep requiring it to focus on the same task for hours at a time every workday.  Studying Neuroscience now reveals to us the benefits of changing tasks regularly.  Taking consistent breaks and time-blocking our time keeps our brain more engaged.  We are more motivated when we are working so that we actually get more done in less time.  That’s how time-blocking drives high performance and productivity.

Time-blocking drives high performance and productivity

Productive Powerhouse

So, let’s look closer at how time-blocking drives high performance and productivity.

This is not a new concept. But it’s one we don’t use often enough to maintain our enthusiasm and focus.  Nor do we recognize that time-blocking boosts our mental and emotional health. Blocking time is a tool where you schedule your work hours in a way that sets up a dedicated time to a particular task. And then, when that time is up, you switch to a new task.

But you may ask, how time-blocking drives high performance and productivity?

  • Keeps your brain from getting bored (aka, low motivation)
  • Mentally prepares you for the tasks ahead
  • Lowers stress because you see work getting done
  • You ensures no multitasking occurs
  • Improves self-confidence in your ability to succeed
Time-blocking for performance and productivity
Time-Blocking – Tips to Start Using it Today

So, how should you go about blocking your time? Usually, it’s recommended to work in 2-3 hour work chunks at a time, while allowing a short 5-10 minute break every 30-45 minutes.

  1. Decide how you will block your time. There are many ways to do this, including various apps and email calendars. Google Calendar is a great way to get started because it’s easy to use and readily available.
  2. Choose the date and time for your task. Remember to keep it to 2-3 hours, if possible
  3. Decide where you will complete the task.
  4. Include any details you need to remember before performing the task in the memo area. This will make it faster to get started when you get to that time block. No searching for the sticky note you wrote the directions on.
  5. Set reminders so you know when it’s time to switch tasks. You can get a reminder via email, pop-up or app notifications.
Time-Blocking – Take Charge of Your Workday

Using time blocks you keep your motivation high for all the reasons stated above.  Also because  you use several of your skill sets each day. It breaks up the monotony of doing the same task all day long for the entire workday.

Manage Your Energy for High Productivity in 4 Areas

Manage your energy for high productivity

To effectively manage your energy for high productivity, shift your emphasis to your own needs and investing more in yourself.  So you stay motivated and able to perform at a higher level for your employer. You need to recognize energy-depleting behaviors. Then take active steps to change them or delete them completely.

Energy is very important when you’re aiming for high productivity. Look to successful people and ask how they became that way.  Invariably, they will always say energy as one of their main drives to success. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main sources in you: your body, emotions, mind, and spirit.

1. Physical Energy for High Productivity

It is no news that improper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest affect your energy levels, emotion management and focus. Nonetheless, you may be guilty of ignoring ways to practice healthy behaviors, given all the other demands in your life.

You may be doing things such as skipping breakfast, failing to express appreciation to others, struggling to focus on one thing at a time, or spending too little time on activities that give them a sense of purpose. While it is not surprising that these behaviors are counterproductive, having them all listed in one place can become uncomfortable, sobering, and galvanizing. This may sound harsh, but is actually a necessary first step to restoring your body energy.

The next step is to identify rituals for building and renewing physical energy.

Example of Physical Energy Supporting Productivity

I read about a vice president at Wachovia who was significantly overweight.  He ate poorly, lacked a regular exercise routine, worked long hours, and typically slept no more than five or six hours a night.

But, then he began exercising with cardio and strength training. Another practice he also started was to go to bed at a regular time and sleeps longer. Finally the VP changed his meals from two big ones a day to small meals every three hours. The aim was to stabilize glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys.

And the result?

The positive result was this vice president lost 50 pounds and his energy levels soared.

Another Physical Energy Practice Supporting High Productivity

Another way to maintain energy is taking brief, regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday. We have “Ultradian rhythms” which refers to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies swing through high and low energy states. At the end of each cycle, the body displays a need of recovery like restlessness, yawning, hunger, and being unfocused. Usually this gets ignored and in turn burns down your energy reservoir faster.

If done properly, intermittent breaks can increase and sustain performance. It is possible to recover well in a short time if it involves a ritual that allows you to separate briefly from work and let your mind rest. You can talk to a colleague about something other than work, listen to music, or walk up and down stairs.

2. Emotional Energy for High Productivity

When you can take more control of your emotions, you can significantly improve the quality of your energy. To do this, you must become aware of how you feel at various points of time and its effect on your effectiveness.

People tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy, and won’t perform well when they feel the opposite. Unfortunately, people tend to slip into negative emotions and trigger their fight-or-flight mechanism.  Especially when they experience relentless demands and unexpected challenges. The signs may be irritability impatience, anxiety and insecurity. These are big culprits in draining your energy.

One ritual for erasing negative emotions is “buying time.” You can take deep abdominal breaths and exhale slowly for 10 seconds to relax and recover, and defuse your fight-or-flight response.

Expressing appreciation to others is a practice which is as beneficial to both the giver as well as the receiver. It can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, a call, or a conversation. The more detailed and specific the appreciation given, the higher the impact. To achieve higher success at doing this, like any other rituals, set aside some time to do it.

Emotional Energy Practices for High Productivity

Finally, you can change the stories you tell yourself about the events in your life. You may often observe the reverse.  People cast themselves in the victim role rather than being thankful of what they have.

This is powerful because you are more aware of the difference between the facts and the way you interpret them. This may seem obvious but you can actually discover that you have a choice about how to view something and recognize how powerfully your story influences your emotions.

To change a perception to a story you want to tell, view it through any of three alternatives, represented by lenses. With the reverse lens, ask yourself what the others involved will say and are they actually true. Use the long lens, look at how it impacts you in the future. Viewing through the wide lens, ask yourself how can you improve and learn from this.

3. Mental Energy for High Productivity

Multitasking, while sounding and looking cool, actually undermines productivity. This is because a temporary shift in attention from one task to another increases the amount of time to finish a task by as much as 25%.You are likelier to be more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity. This focus and break cycle is called “Ultradian Sprints.”

Energy for high productivity ultradian sprint

Once you can see how much you struggle to concentrate, you can combat this by creating rituals to reduce the interruptions that bother you. Start out with an exercise that makes you face the impact of your daily distractions.

Example of Mental Energy for High Productivity

A real-life example is from another vice president at Wachovia, who designed 2 rituals to increase focus. The first one is to leave his desk and go into a conference room whenever he has a task that requires concentration to stop distractions from phone calls.

The result is he finishes reports in a third of the time. The second is by not picking up any phone calls in meetings with the people who report to him. This is because it stretched the time of the meetings and cost his full attention. He now only answers the voice-mail messages in his downtime.

Here’s another method:  Instead of replying your emails as soon as they come in, set time to answer them at specific times of the day. This actually can allow you to clear your inbox faster if you fully focus on your emails for 45 minutes at a time.

Another way to mobilize mental energy is to focus systematically on activities that impact you the most in the long term. Identify the most important challenge for the next day and make it their very first priority when you arrive at work in the morning.

What is most important is energy for high productivity

4. Take Advantage of Your Belief System Energy for High Productivity

Your vitality or inner force is at its highest when your work and activities are consistent with what you value and have a sense of meaning and purpose. If the work you’re doing really matters to you, you will have more energy, focus, and perseverance.

However, the demands and pace of business don’t leave much space for these issues,  And many workers don’t even know that meaning and purpose are potential sources of energy. When you experience the value of the rituals you establish, you can start to see that being attentive to your own needs intensely influences their effectiveness and satisfaction at work.

Give yourself the opportunity to ask questions about what really mattered to you. You will find that these will be both illuminating and energizing. This can be highly important and thoughtful because it will really make you aware of what you want to be really remembered for.

To access the energy of the human spirit clarify priorities and establish rituals in three categories:

  1. Doing what you do best and enjoy most at work;
  2. Consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of your life, like work, family, health, service to others that you deem most important;
  3. And living your core values in your daily behaviors.
Wrap-Up Energy for High Productivity and Performance

Remember, managing your time is not nearly as critical as overseeing the ways you invest your energy for high productivity and personal renewal.

Further Reading for Energy for High Productivity:   The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.

How to Supercharge your Productivity with 5 More Tips

Productivity Follow-up

This article is a follow-up to the previous post on how to supercharge your productivity.  This identifies additional 5 tips on how to supercharge your productivity and lists how to be more effective in your work.  Many workers have high productivity as a major goal.  More things can get done if you are in a high-productivity environment. While this concept may seem simple, the definition cannot be taken literally. You actually must develop a stronger understanding of this concept wholly and use it to your advantage.

To put it simply, how to supercharge your productivity means that you are producing output quicker or completing tasks at higher speed than before. Theoretically, it made sense – the more products someone produces or services the person completes, the more positive results come in, making increased productivity a high priority for many workplace environments.

How to Supercharge Your Productivity – Avoid Energy Depleting Behaviors

However, studies say some things cause your productivity at work to plummet, such as unfavorable environment, distractions and plain old procrastination.

How to supercharge your productivityYou cannot always control your environment, but the good news is you can control what you get done. Plus, you can learn from others to be even more productive. There are probably more direct ways to help your productivity increase such as a conducive environment or closing the Facebook tab on your browser, But these are small hacks that actually only do so much. There are more meaningful ways to be your best. And you can learn these skills by taking some cues from the world’s most successful people.

6. Get To Work Before Everyone Else

The early bird catches the worm. Try starting work before everyone wakes. Like 4 am like Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of the digital financial platform Ellevest. The reason is “The most precious commodity in business is time. And I find I am most productive when I balance time that I spend with others with blocks of time during which I can think, write and —my favorite — build earnings models,” she writes.

She further elaborated that at this time, “My mind is clear, not yet caught up in the multiple internal conversations that we all conduct with ourselves once we gear up for our first meeting of the day. And there’s a peace that comes from knowing that my family is all in bed and safe upstairs while I work. It is at this time of day that I often have a rush of ideas (some of them are actually good).”

7. Protect Your Time

Instead on starting the day with important tasks, Keller Williams Realty founder Gary Keller blocks out the first few hours of his day to work on his most important task for the year—his “one thing.”

This is because this one thing, when tackled, will make everything easier to do or unnecessary. Keller has used this to write books and grow his company to the largest real estate franchise. Keller also believes that until he does this ‘one thing’, anything else is a can impair it. “The key is time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time,” he writes in “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results”.

8. Close Virtual Doors

How to supercharge your productivity

Open work environments creates many good possibilities but also can hinder productivity with unnecessary distractions and interruptions. Michael Pryor, former CEO of Trello, encourages workers to close virtual doors by turning off Slack and email, and by putting a Post-It note on their desk that says “heads down.”

Interruptions are weird. They leech time from important projects and take a while to recover from. “Every time you switch contexts, there’s this huge cost associated with that,” Pryor said in an interview with Time. “Our time is limited, essentially. Your trick is to be able to ration that resource for all the things you need to do, and that’s the hardest part of being productive.”

9. Separate Work from Personal Life

This may seem counterintuitive or even obvious to some, but it’s nonetheless as important as anything. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki makes being home in time for dinner with family a priority. She leaves the office on time and consolidates her work.  Consequently, she completes it more rapidly.  So when she is home, she can focus on her family without any distractions

“We try to have the rule to not check email between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., because if you are on your phone then it’s hard to disconnect,” Wojcicki said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Pulling the plug when the time comes can actually help you stay productive, creative and your pursuit to success a surety. “[Success] is not based on the number of hours that you’ve worked,” Wojcicki says. “If you are working 24/7, you’re not going to have any interesting ideas.”

10. Clear Out Your Inbox Everyday

“Email is unidirectional—anyone, at any time, can just go to your inbox without permission, invitation or consideration, Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of HighTower, writes on LinkedIn. “Empowering the world to demand a thin slice of your attention is more than unfair—it’s a recipe for constant distraction.”

He uses three rules to supercharge your productivity, simplify things and keep him focused:

  1. Delete and completely forget about it. “When in doubt, delete. If it’s that important, someone will follow up with you. Then respond to what you can and move the rest to recycling” he writes.
  2. Unsubscribe from newsletters. It takes more time than simply deleting, but actually saves hours every year.
  3. Don’t bother filing. Use a good search tool to scan your folders and find things you need instantly.

“If you do nothing else but these three things, your inbox will be a lot leaner,” he writes. “Whatever messages are left become a to-do list of the items that actually need your care and attention. Keep this list short, between two and five items, or what you can actually hope to achieve on any given day. Get those items done and you’ve just reached Inbox Zero.”

When you think about how to supercharge your productivity, it might seem unorthodox that some steps make you seem less productive. But again, it is more than simply cranking out more than you usually do. Being productive is not only being efficient. It also means you are effective in your work, where you take steps to completely turn problems into solutions that make extra work unnecessary.

5 Tips to Supercharge your Productivity

Supercharge your Productivity

To supercharge your productivity is a major goal for many employers since more can get done if you are in a high-productivity environment. While this concept may seem simple, to fully understand what it means to supercharge productivity, the definition cannot be taken literally. You actually must have a strong grasp of this concept and fully use it to your company’s advantage.

Supercharge your productivity

To put it in simple terms: supercharged productivity means that you are putting out products more quickly or completing tasks at higher speed than before. Theoretically, it made sense – the more products your firm produces or services your employees complete, the more positive profits are generated, making supercharged productivity a priority for many businesses.

There are some things, however, that studies say cause your work productivity to be lower, such as unfavorable environment, distractions and plain old procrastination.

You cannot always control your environment, but the good news is you can control what you, yourself get done. Plus, you can learn from others to be even more productive. There are probably more direct ways to help your productivity increase such as a conducive environment or closing the Facebook tab on your browser, But these are small hacks that actually only do so much. There are more meaningful ways to be your best. And you can learn these skills by taking some cues from the world’s most successful people.

1. Have Big Goals in Mind

First, you can set big goals and then act to fully accomplish them. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a master at this, making room each year for a new challenge, which he says allows him to “learn new things and grow outside my work at Facebook.” And it pays! He’s now fluent in Mandarin and is meeting new people all the time.

Looking at it backwards can help too, link Amazon’s Jeff Bezos does. He makes room for big goals by starting with the customer’s needs and working backward to build skills to get that work done faster. As Bezos said it, “We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer.”

2. Give Each Day A Theme

Try copying CEO Jack Dorsey for this. When splitting his time between Square and Twitter, he stays productive by giving each day a theme.  Mondays for management, Tuesdays for product, etc. As he explains, “There is interruption all the time, but I can quickly deal with an interruption and then know that it’s Tuesday, I have product meetings, and I need to focus on product stuff.”

Another tip you can use is the “no-meeting Wednesdays” Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz believes that this gives him and his team a good amount of time each week for “focused, heads-down work.”

3. Set Limits

Set limits to supercharge your productivity

You can only spend so much time focusing on something. After that, it’s time to move on to the next important thing. For example, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn sets only allocates 1 and a half hours to on single-purpose, non-operational meetings, with half the time for presentation and the other half for discussions.

To supercharge your productivity another thing you can limit is the length of your emails. The Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she responds to every single work email, but she saves time by keeping the responses short. “I would rather give a short, quick, incomplete answer than wait and do it better,” she says.

4. Deep Work Zone

Focus, focus, focus. This is perhaps most important secret to supercharge your productivity. Bill Gates would set time for Deep Work, where he would allocate time each week to do his most challenging work without any distractions — no stopping, not even for sleep. Cal Newport, author of the book “Deep Work” said, “Deep work is important … not because distraction is evil, but because it enabled Bill Gates to start a billion-dollar industry in less than a semester.”

Supercharge your productivity

5. Streamline Decisions

Jeff Bezos makes a lot of decisions every day. Since this can be time-consuming, he’s developed a four-step process for navigating his business more quickly. First, One-size-fits-all decisions are a no-no. “Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors,” he writes in his letter to shareholders. “Those decisions can use a light-weight process.  ”Second, make the decision when you are at 70% of your intended information. “If you wait for 90%…you’re probably being slow,” he writes.

Third: disagree and commit. “This phrase will save a lot of time,” he writes. “If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, ‘Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?’ By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.”

And fourth, address the real misalignments early and focus on them immediately. “Sometimes teams have different objectives and fundamentally different views,” he writes. “They are not aligned. No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment. Without escalation, the default dispute resolution mechanism for this scenario is exhaustion.”

Supercharge your productivity

Effectiveness and Efficiency to Maximize Productivity

How to Use Effectiveness and Efficiency to Maximize Productivity

Effectiveness and Efficiency aiming for maximum productivity

Both terms are adjectives used to describe how work is done. We will describe below how to incorporate effectiveness and efficiency to maximize productivity at work.

It is relatively easy to mistake one for the other, or use them interchangeably (a lot of people do!). However, these terms are anything but similar – in fact, they each carry completely different meanings.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is all about doing the right things; it is result oriented. Effectiveness is correctly applied when a worker or company’s objectives are in line with their main goals, and indirectly their purpose.

You find ways to improve outcomes when you are effective. For example, if your goal is to increase awareness and sales of a particular product to reach a particular target, you should engage in tasks or activities that will help move you closer to your goals (eg. marketing and ads, in this scenario) , and not waste time on irrelevant tasks that do not serve your goals. This makes you effective.

Efficiency

Efficiency, however, is more about doing things right; this aspect is task oriented. It is using better ways to get something done well in the shortest amount of time possible. Here you utilize the least amount of resources and/or costs. An example of efficiency would be using a computerized system. You would get things done accurately in a shorter span of time.  You would replace reliance on manual methods to do the same thing.  Because manual methods are susceptible to human error and requires more time.

Either one can exist without the other; one can be effective but not efficient, and vice versa. It is entirely possible for one to be effective in achieving their goals, while being inefficient in the way they do it. It is also entirely possible to be none of both at all.

Effectiveness and Efficiency to Maximize Productivity

In fact, there are four possibilities:

  1. Effective and Efficient
  2. Effective and Inefficient
  3. Ineffective and Efficient
  4. Ineffective and Inefficient

You should note however that true, optimal productivity is a combination of both efficiency and effectiveness (Number 1) – the Holy Grail for every individual worker or organization.

It is not possible for an organization or person to reach peak productivity levels, if they are lacking in either efficiency or effectiveness (Number 2, 3 and 4). If anything, they’re setting themselves up for either mediocrity or inevitable failure.

Effectiveness > Efficiency

Effectiveness

In terms of order of importance, prioritize effectiveness over efficiency in all your considerations about productivity.

This however does not mean that you should disregard the importance of efficiency altogether – again, as mentioned earlier, productivity is a balanced combination of both.

Effectiveness involves the big picture. Putting effectiveness first just means that you should first and foremost focus on doing the right things in order to improve your chances of getting a good outcome.

Once you get yourself on track and laid out the basics, you can then look into how you can improve the way you do things. The logic here is to concentrate on being efficient at the tasks which are significant and are effective in contributing to your goals. There’s no point in particularly efficient when the tasks you carry out do not contribute to your purpose and goals.

To sum things up : efficiency is a modifier for effectiveness, not a substitute.

Efficiency is meaningless on its own.

The problem with most people is that they tend to gravitate towards efficiency, rather than effectiveness. It is perfectly understandable – being efficient is a whole lot easier than being effective. Being efficient involves improvements on a smaller, more manageable scale; effectiveness however requires a whole lot of brainstorming about one’s goals, values and different approaches, on a larger scale. And that is intimidating.

Not only that, people who put efficiency before effectiveness have this tendency of looking for better and perfect ways of doing things, and head nowhere instead – which ironically, leads to ineffectiveness.

Increasing Effectiveness

Effectiveness vs efficiency to maximize productivity

So how does one increase their effectiveness?

Put some time aside to evaluate these few things:

Clarify the What– focusing on the results you want to achieve and defining the picture of success.

Clarify and pursue key strategies that will give you the highest possibility for success.

Now that you’ve established your plan of action, you can focus on how to increase your efficiency. This would mean concentrating on the How’s – implementation of your strategies in the most efficient way possible, and improving how you do things as you go along.

Moving Forward

In the coming articles, we will look into further detail on effectiveness and efficiency to maximize productivity. Also we will offer many other helpful tips that will elevate your productivity to optimum levels.

Boosting Productivity and Avoiding Multitasking

Boosting Productivity and Time Management

Ask any successful business or entrepreneur or supervisor out there, and I’m sure they will tell you boosting productivity to higher levels is a crucial aspect in ensuring revenue company growth and achieving individual success.

In fact, many individuals and corporations willingly invest large sums of money and effort for boosting productivity. Higher levels of productivity in employees (whether as part of an organization or alone) helps to bring them closer to their success targets within a shorter time period, and prevents needless wastage of time, money and effort.

Boosting productivity to improve revenue and company success

The dictionary defines productivity as “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services”. To explain it simply on a more individual level – it is just how much one worker can get done in a set period of time.

And when productivity is mentioned, time management is usually also brought up; they go hand in hand. Both are strongly correlated – higher levels of productivity is usually the result of better time management.

All That You Know About Time Management Is Wrong

Yup, you got that right.

Your understanding of time management is very likely…

Wrong!

All you know about employee productivity is wrong

Time management is in fact, a misnomer. Time cannot be managed or influenced; it is something that is pretty much out of our control. All of us, despite our social or financial background, are allocated 24 hours in a day, no more or less. Once gone, there’s no way we can get it back.

Our day-to-day responsibilities – be they family or work, take up a large portion of our time. Not only that, time is fleeting and so easily stolen without recognizing it. Unexpected things pop up all the time. Priorities change. Things can go terribly wrong. Individuals get sick, or tired reducing their productivity.

You can only do so much – you’re just a single worker in likely a team project, after all.

However, you can, control YOU. And your CHOICES. Time management is more correctly, all about self-discipline and task management. It’s the management of expectations as well as interruptions. It is the ability to manage your actions, habits and priorities based on the time you are given. It is understanding what matters most, making a choice to make room for that in your workday, and getting rid of the unnecessary, unimportant stuff that’s hogging up your valuable time.

Also, time management is not a one system fits all method. There is no perfect method. Different individuals have different styles – we’re all wired differently in terms of personality type, identity and individual life circumstances. Some may find that a to-do list works for them; others may find to-do lists hard to follow and demotivating. It’s all about finding your groove – different strokes for different folks.

Multitasking for Boosting Productivity?

Multitasking because you want to manage time better?

Bad idea.

Contrary to popular belief, faster and more is NOT always better. Multitasking is one way to destroy your productivity levels rather than boosting productivity.

avoiding multitasking to boost productivity

Sure… you seem to get more done this way.

However, you are probably more likely to make mistakes – which will result in your having to repeat assignments. Stick to focusing on one task at a time, and taking sufficient breaks whenever possible – you’ll stand to accomplish more this way. Now, we’ve mentioned that juggling multiple tasks at one time is counterproductive. However, striving to complete each task no matter how long it takes is also not a wise idea when it comes to time management – another common misconception regarding time management. Restrict your time spent on a task, and schedule accordingly.

As you can see, a lot of what we know regarding time management is, in fact, myths. Many of us have skewed perceptions or misinformation when it comes to time management. These myths, over time, through the workers around us or the media we consume, become deeply ingrained within our mindsets.  We eventually regard them as facts and hold on to them.  As a result, we prevent ourselves from truly and fully boosting productivity in any aspect of our work and careers.

Effective Brainstorming in the Workplace Drives New Ideas

Why is Effective Brainstorming in the Workplace Vital?

The pressure for companies to generate new ideas and improvements can be overwhelming and that calls for effective brainstorming in the workplace by business teams.

Continuous new product or service creation seems to be mandatory in the workplace these days. There’s a demand from your boss to find new ways to improve the work process, your customers want to see a different approach than anyone else has shown, or you’re a business owner and you recognize that without flagging yourself as someone who stands out from the rest, you’re going to sink among all the other “me too” product or service competitors.

Can you create a mental spark of new ideas as simply as you see a spark when you touch two wires together?

Effective brainstorming in the workplace

The answer is – you can.

The first thing you need to do is quit thinking of ideas as things that just happen. You’ve heard of brainstorming, right? That’s a situation where people decide to cognitively generate ideas. They make the decision that they will create ideas within a timeframe – not that they will sit around the office for days, weeks or months waiting on some mysterious Muse to appear and give them a sign.

How do we brainstorm effectively?

There are techniques for effective brainstorming in the workplace employed by successful work teams.

First, write down all known facts and assumptions about the subject at hand. Then for each fact or assumption, ask “what if…?” Take the opposing view in your question.

“What if something else could create the same result?”

“If we didn’t have a specific resource, then how would we create this?”

“Suppose everyone called in sick one day, then how would we minimize the damage?”

“What if I had only 10 minutes to do this – is there a template I could use over and over again to speed things up?”

Always challenge assumptions.

Strip things away

Often, we get caught up in finding new ideas to add to the existing processes we have in place. But it’s as valid to think about cutting away ideas as it is creating new ones. You might have two different products in mind to create, and two different websites to market them. However by focusing on cutting out ideas you may discover that there is a core group who require both products – and then build just one website aimed at that core group.

So, ideas that take away work are sometimes more beneficial than those that do.

Use different discovery tools

Many people swear by mind maps. Some prefer a word narrative document – and others prefer spreadsheets. Get away from your comfort level by using a different medium to input your ideas out into and cull ideas out of. The process will feel different and make your brain respond differently – and often more creatively.

4 Ways to Prioritize Time Management at Work

Time management is the ability to use your time productively, effectively, and efficiently to achieve the desired outcome. When you learn how to prioritize time management you become the key to achieve the best results out of your daily responsibilities. Time never changes. Everyone has 24 hours in a day; no one has more than that and no one has less than that. Why is it that so many people struggle to manage their time and achieve so little?  Conversely others manage to achieve so much in one single day. Those who achieve the most out of their days attain that because they simply learned how to prioritize time management! It is therefore important to learn ‘whyit’s essential to prioritize time management and most importantly how you prioritize time management.

Benefits of Time Management

Accomplish greater results at work in a short period with the help of good time management. You have more free time available to take on more opportunities to do other activities you may want to do for career growth or other activities. Prioritize time management to enhance focus, lower your stress, and deliver work on time.  When you prioritize time management you provide a better quality of work, capably handle more responsibility, procrastinate less and enjoy work life better.

.Prioritize time management and bolster productivity

How to Prioritize Time Management:
1.Identify your Time-Wasters

Time wasters are people, habits, or activities that distract you from achieving your desired goals within a specific time. These time-wasters could be too much socializing, poor planning, perfectionism, lack of skills, trying to do everything yourself.  They also include poor delegation, not valuing your own time, being indecisive, saying yes to everyone’s needs, interruptions and distractions.

Once supervisors identify time-wasters they must simply train workers to delete or at least defer them.  That is, workers should complete lower priorities only after they accomplish the most important and urgent tasks first. Habits are other time-wasters which result from personality flaws.  Hence. you must learn how to overcome bad habits.  That will help you to know how to prioritize time much better.

2. Follow Pareto’s Principle: the 80/20 Rule

Pareto’s 80-20 rule is an aphorism that asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. So this means you can identify and put your efforts (20% actions) where they will make the most difference (give you 80% results). This is certainly a very effective method to save time.  And you must invest your efforts only in things that foster greater results than the amount of time you spent  accomplishing that work.

3. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of the less pleasurable ones. It also entails carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones. This results in putting off impending tasks to a later   Not wise!

Ways to Overcome Procrastination:

Depending on the nature of what needs to be done, to overcome procrastination, these are options to consider:

  • either delete the task if it’s not that important
  • delegate
  • set a reward for yourself for motivating you to complete the task
  • remove distractions
  • set a deadline to get it done and practice discipline in completing it
  • break it down into smaller manageable tasks to avoid being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task.
4. Create your Productivity Time Log

Prioritizing time management is almost impossible without having effective ways to plan well and be organized. A productivity time log is simply a record for the day-to-day work activities you have to do until the time you’re finished work for the day. It’s actually best to have a professional journal and a personal journal. Use these two daily to achieve the best results. Include the date, time, and day before writing what the time log consists of. Always prioritize at least the first three most important tasks each day. When you don’t prioritize important tasks, they become unnecessarily urgent tasks.  They will end up stressing you as you try to rush to complete them.

To maximize the power of your productivity log, always plan it the night before. This way you also help your subconscious mind to prepare you to get it done soon the following day. Next, never forget to prioritize your tasks. After completing each task, cross it off. This is very motivating as it helps you to see your progress and have the energy to complete the rest. Carryover unfinished tasks and complete them before tackling new ones for a new day.

Tips for Making a to-do List:
  1.  Capture everything you need to do.
  2.  Prioritize the most important and urgent tasks first.
  3.  Determine how long each task or activity takes.
  4.  Cross-off the action when done.
Conclusion

“Time management is a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

5 Ways to Maximize Time on the Job

Do you try to maximize time while working?  “Even as we speak, time is running away from us. We must seize the day.” Horace Ode

how to maximize time on theob

Time is a priceless resource that we have access to from the very second we are born. From that moment, we continuously invest it into our careers, goals and our business relationships. Yet it is a wonder how we go about in ignorance of how essential time is to our career’s success.

What separates people on different levels of success is their use of time. It is in the details of how we spend every minute that we can determine our success or failure. For as long as we treat time like the precious resource it is, we will never regret the investments we would have made.

Here are 5 important tips and on how we can maximize time at work to enhance productivity and improve career opportunities:

1.Planning

Being organized before starting work each day is a good place to start. Draft a work-plan with reasonable time allocations for every assignment you have. In order to estimate the time you need to perform a task, you must test your skills and level of knowledge on the task at hand. For example, if you need to make a presentation for a product review meeting, you will need to prepare slides of data. Having the slides prepared and in chronological order will help you estimate the time you will need to make your pitch.

List each objective down and allocate time to accomplish it. It is also important to list objectives according to priority. Start with the most pressing agenda and work your way through your list.

It is important to prepare ourselves mentally before taking on each task. Waking up early is a good way to kick start your day because your mind is still fresh after a good night’s rest. Doing a bit of exercise or mental reflections will clear up your neuro pathways, making you more effective executing your plan.  This will help you maximize time.

2. Discipline

“We must suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Unknown.

There is no point in drafting a timetable if you will not stick to it. Train yourself to follow your plan. This is easier when you set realistic goals. Unrealistic work goals could leave you with a lot of incomplete tasks, which results in frustration. Remember that you are not in a competition with anyone else but yourself. Your goal is to be better than you were yesterday. Completing something that used to take you longer in a shorter space of time is progress- proof that you are winning in the battle against time.

Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today, for tomorrow will bring new challenges that will demand more of the little time you have. Procrastination is a perfect way to waste time because you can never regain the time lost.

Eliminate all distractions. Create an environment that is conducive for progress. Most people work better in quiet spaces, while others prefer background noise while they go about their business activities. Find and set up your ideal environment. There is no preset model of the best work environment as it differs from one person to the next. All you need is to create a space where you can exercise discipline and get things done.

3. Determination

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you will still do it.” Elon Musk.        

One thing that guarantees an employee’s success is their determination to accomplish their goals. Before indulging in something and investing time in it, be sure that it is what you want to do. Figure out how important it is to you. Develop a hunger to see the desired outcome and work towards that. Be certain that it is worth investing your time in. Once you establish that, you will harness your strength and use it on a specific target no matter what comes your way.

4. Take a break

“No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could relax for at least five minutes every hour, you would be more productive.” Joyce Brothers.

The last thing you want to do is to wear yourself out before completing a single task. Take slight breaks in between. Make sure you add them to the timetable so that you can account for your time. This allows you to clear your mind and re-energize before resuming the grind. It is advisable to leave your work space and enjoy your recess elsewhere. Once you have refreshed, you are more likely to make more progress and waste little or no time.

What is the best way to recuperate to maximize time?

Do an activity that is unrelated to the work you are doing. However, make sure this activity does not absorb too much of your time. It should be something that relaxes you and requires less mental muscle. Examples include taking a walk, writing up your goals, meditating or any activity that will get your mind off the pressure of work. You can use this time to eat as well, so you have the energy to take up your work with the gusto it deserves.

5. Account for your progress

It is important to self-motivate by rewarding yourself when you use your time well. Evaluate your progress. Are you maximizing your time at work? Evaluation will show you where and how to improve. Reward yourself for every task you accomplish on time. It motivates you to keep improving your time management.

If you want to maximize time and use it productively, you must be deliberate about tracking your use of this resource. Once you assess how much of the time you are productive on a weekly basis, it becomes easier to plan your week and see results in the tasks you accomplish. You can close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be by learning how to manage your time.