Being More Productive to Be Successful
Do you know what the difference between successful and unsuccessful people?
No, this was not a joke. Simply, successful people achieve more and better results in less time than unsuccessful people. Therefore, increasing productivity is the most important element in being successful and achieving goals.
First, let’s define what it means to be productive. According to the dictionary:
- having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance
- effective in bringing about
- yielding results, benefits, or profits
Notice a few keywords in the definition of “abundance,” “effective,” “results, benefits and profits.” Being more productive boils down to efficient creation in mass. Here are a couple of ways to be able to achieve higher productivity:
Write Down Goals
In creating annual goals, one of the most important elements is writing goals down. Writing goals down helps to bring even more clarity to the goals and helps stay on track and actually to see progress.
Plan of Action
Also, in creating annual goals, the next step is to create and write down a plan of actions. Take each goal, break them down into all the tasks and activities needed to be done to achieve them. Next, schedule these tasks over the year and they essentially become a plan as well as milestones to work toward and celebrate as they are completed. It has also been found for every minute spent planning will save 10 minutes in execution.
Review the plan every day. Work from the plan. This will keep goals on track. And, the act of writing out the plan and consulting it consistently will increase productivity by 25% or more the first time it is used.
Review the plan and set the priorities. Start with the highest value task. The largest element of value is the outcome of performing it, or the consequences of failing to complete it. Start with the task that produces the largest result, or the failing to do so causes the worst consequence.
Once the most valuable task is determined, focusing on it, and only that task is essential to completion. The ability to concentrate on a single task without distraction allows the work to be done faster compared to stopping and starting. Some tasks can actually be reduced by as much as 80% by simply concentrating and not doing anything else until complete.
Life outside of the office is important. However, there are tasks or other things that may not be able to fit into a normal day. The key is balance. Some days will require an earlier start, working through lunch or perhaps staying a little late. Advantages to working these additional hours include not commuting in rush hour traffic, feeling fresher early in the morning, quiet office, etc.
However, this also requires a balance, and longer days and weeks with time off. Start with weekends and put away the work. Next, when feeling a need for an extended break, schedule two or three day mini-vacations or extended weekends. Finally, move to a longer vacation, a week or more. Staying balanced, being highly productive at work and mixing in vacations actually improve productivity.
At Work, Work
When at the office, focus on work. Be social, but do not become caught up in a two hour conversation about the newest television show. Some people put on headphones to discourage co-workers from engaging in social conversations throughout the day. If in an office, close the door. Focusing on work while at the office can actually double productivity in some cases.
Let’s face it, when people are on deadline, they work faster. Take that mindset and apply to every task, regardless of the actual deadline. This is a combination of working faster on tasks to also moving between tasks faster.
We defined productivity as efficient creation in mass. The keyword being efficient. This includes working smarter, doing a quality job in a shortened amount of time utilizing templates, repetition, shortcuts, etc. But also, ensuring higher value tasks are completed first, bringing about larger results over lower value tasks.
Working on tasks that involve a strength, will be completed in a much shorter time period. Increasing task in areas of excellence, result in not only higher quantity but quality of work as well.
When possible, create a cluster of tasks that are the same or similar. For example, preparing all outstanding proposals, filling out expense reports, responding to emails, etc. With repetition, excellence can be achieved, and each subsequent task takes less time. It has been found that by clustering tasks, a particular task time can be reduced by about 80% of time.
If possible, either remove or consolidate steps into a single task. Less steps means less time. Also, there may be opportunity to remove a lower value task completely.
Putting it all Together
Goals are clear. A plan is followed. Priorities set. There is concentration and balance. Working at work. Working smarter and faster. Utilizing strengths. Clustering tasks. Removing steps. All of these items are essential, but so is developing a vision of being a productive person.
This allows for growth and ability to continue to gain productivity as a business and career grows and new challenges are faced. Following these steps on new business or job responsibilities, allows for even faster growth.
Finally, if there are areas or particular tasks that productivity is not increasing, consider delegating or determine what the obstacle is. This can be a lack of knowledge on the subject matter, requiring more training. Or boredom with the tasks, requiring a specific time of day when at a higher energy level, etc.
As a major difference of success and unsuccessful people, productivity is an essential part of growing professionally. Applying these steps every day increases productivity, results and ultimately happiness and higher self-esteem. Start being more productive today!