The amount of books and blog posts available on the topic of productivity will show you just how difficult it is for anyone to actually achieve the goal of ultimate productivity.
It is even more challenging for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs since they are usually involved in many projects, have a lot of responsibilities, and are under extreme pressure to succeed. It is even more important for them to be productive. Productivity is important because it helps you get clear up front on the activities you do that create the greatest productivity and lead to the biggest results.
Have No-Meeting Day every week
We have compiled a list of our favorite productivity hacks that are both highly effective and easy to implement in no time. The benefits of being more productive are endless if you can develop effective productivity skills and learn to be more productive on your most crucial activities. Good productivity can help you set better goals, be more effective, increase focus and boost motivation.
We chose this hack as our first hack because it’s so simple, yet it can have a huge impact on productivity. Several companies have created the No-Meeting-Day-of-the-Week to abolish at least some of the unnecessary meetings.
It is designed so that people can have at least one day a week when they can just focus on building products. Why not book an entire day to handle important projects? Managers need uninterrupted blocks of time to deal with important tasks.
Imagine how much you can accomplish if you had one day free from meetings: you could work on a single project, learn a new skill, organize your inbox by answering all your important emails, unsubscribe from blogs you don’t read, etc. Attend only those meetings this week that are extremely important and you should attend.
Do fewer things & single-task
At first glance, this may seem counterproductive, but if you think about it, one of the biggest problems today is that we try to do too many things at once.
In a Harvard Business Review article called The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time, author Tony Schwartz explains why 25 to 50% of people feel burnt out at work. It is based on the fact that people juggle too many things at the same time, instead of focusing on a single task at hand.
If they would switch from multi to single-tasking, a lot more things would go into the “done” bucket everyday, and you’ll become so much more productive. According to Schwartz, people are unable to focus deeply on a single task because they are surrounded by too much noise: “urgent” emails, social media updates, phone calls, etc.
Remove the noise
We have on our hands one of the most powerful noise-making instruments today: social media. Many professionals now realize that spending too much time on social media can harm their productivity, but there is a widely held belief that social networks help us stay connected. A manager’s ability to connect with partners, peers, and the target audience is crucial.
Because we look at social media the wrong way, I think it ends up hurting our productivity. Social media platforms are not seen for what they are, and that is entertainment.
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“No” stands for being productive
Billionaire Warren Buffett once said: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” It’s so easy for working professionals today to fall into the trap of saying “yes” to most things, and fill their schedule with activities that don’t matter in the long run.
So if you find yourself in the situation described above, there’s only one way to approach it: ruthlessly say “no” to things that aren’t highly important. Think twice before you decide whether you should attend a conference you were invited to or not. Same goes for meetings, speaking engagements, internal presentations, new features for your products, and more.
Think about it this way: you saying “no” to unimportant projects means that you say “hell, YEAH!” to the things that really matter to you and your business. Remember Steve Job
Use your brain for processing, not storage
It doesn’t mean you have to remember everything you do, but the more you do, the more things need to be done. Organize your thoughts by implementing a system. Reduce your stress levels by all means.
Management can be a stressful job, and it’s easy to pass along that stress; it’s highly contagious. On the other hand, employees tend to be appreciative of, and work hard for, managers who adopt a calmer, low-stress approach. To the extent you can control how you handle stress, the better off you are. Again, it’s just common sense: If given a choice, what employee prefers to work in a high-stress environment?
It is easy to build employee loyalty by adopting a patient attitude rather than a harried, always on edge attitude.
In an environment where management tends to be chronically impatient (“I need it yesterday, or at the latest, in 10 minutes!”), employees naturally value managers who are able to maintain a more relaxed attitude. Why wouldn’t they? It’s just a more enjoyable setting to spend 40 hours or so a week in.
Maintain focus on results-orientation
It’s all about this at the end of the day, of course. Management is nothing if not results-driven. Without positive outcomes, even the most well-intentioned focus on low stress, patience, and consistency will not get you anywhere (except probably out of a job!). Studies show that many managers, even senior managers, are surprisingly weak at accountability. Focusing on your critical deliverables — your top-tier measurable goals and objectives — is always productive.