In this real-time world we find ourselves in, it’s often hard to ensure you’ve enough time to discharge your professional responsibilities – let alone to enjoy enough family, personal, and leisure time. It’s not the answer to be in a permanent state of Nivens McTwisp (i.e. the white rabbit in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland). Indeed, clients will quickly tire of hearing “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date,” and won’t be as keen as Alice to follow you down the rabbit hole.
So, what do we do about it? Whilst most acknowledge a need to up their productivity and performance, many face great challenges when it comes to figuring out how to go about doing so. How can these people possibly inspire their team with improved performance productivity, when they themselves are a walking, talking Nivens McTwisp? The fact is, if you and your business don’t improve in this area, relationships – both professional and personal – will inevitably suffer. Before you know it, you’re deep down the rabbit hole with no clue how to escape!
To avoid such a scenario, below are four quick, actionable tips to help bolster productivity.
No matter your role, we all have core responsibilities, so be sure to allocate sufficient time to these activities. After all, upholding your responsibilities is rather important, no? Doing this will help drive forward your business, and once your responsibilities are discharged, you can then focus on becoming a source of enthusiasm for your team and its overall performance. Don’t make this your only task, though. Effectively as you can: ‘Do it, Delegate it or Dump it’.
Don’t let time control you, you control your time. If this means managing access and interruptions, simply go to your happy place, focus on your responsibilities, and execute. Remember: ‘Block Time’ can be your best time!
Management consultants will rightly tell you “busy is the new lazy.” Don’t be busy, be effective. The only way to do this is to allocate sufficient time to ordering the things you must do. Don’t just abdicate to the easy tasks, use your business acumen to assess, by order of importance, what should be completed first. Importantly, don’t be afraid of lists! They can bring order to chaos, if utilised properly. Some of the most profound figures this planet has ever seen were diligent list-makers, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Martha Stewart.
Ask yourself, “do we need another meeting to address this matter?” Often, you’ll find the answer is one big “NO!” Make an effort to minimise the so-called ‘meeting for the meeting’. Have any meetings or conversations structured with clear outcomes so as to help ensure decisions are efficiently reached. Prior to entering a meeting, be aware of the outcome(s) you’d like to see achieved. Of course, flexibility must be a part of any sound decision-making process. If you’re expectations are clear, though, it may very well save time reaching an outcome, particularly if you’re meeting with Nivens McTwisp!
Making a list like Thomas Jefferson is one thing, making it work for you is another. Like anything of value, this process can only be improved by review. Keep your lists, figure out what you’ve achieved, learn how long tasks actually take you, and address how they might be improved. Unrealistic timeframes not only set you up for failure, they also often prove to be a strong, unwanted source of personal dissatisfaction; potentially resulting in a loss of credibility through the eyes of your team and clients.
At the end of the day, it matters little about what your approach to time and productivity management is – so long as you have one! To call upon the wise words of Shirley Temple: “Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble.” So, steer clear of life’s rabbit holes and use these four suggestions to map out your future efforts in relation to personal productivity.