Productivity is related to return on investments. When you invest a certain amount of money or time and effort on something, how much positive results do you get at the end? There are days when I am bogged down by meetings after meetings, some good and some pretty useless, and that really sucked up precious time that Icould have used to do REAL work. There are days when I come in to work knowing clearly what I need to accomplish, and executed them well within my deadlines with little disruptions. That is the FLOW that we shall all aspire to.
Here are three tips on how we all can be more productive at work:
1) Have a sense of urgency when you work. When your bosses give you work, attempt to finish it well before the deadline. Parkinson’s law states that work will expand to fit the amount of time you give it. So give all tasks a shorter duration than the deadline given. This will really help to finish the tasks productively and quickly. I used to take several days to do a particular task. Due to tight deadlines recently, I had to finish such tasks in about 30% of the usual duration that I usually took. Guess what? I managed to finish them in that shorter duration. Sure, it was more of a rush compared to before, but it proved that tasks often need less duration than what we originally thought they need.
2) According to Pareto’s principle, 20% of the tasks we do contribute to 80% of the results. So search for that 20% list of important tasks, and spend 80% of your time on them. They are worth it. Shortlist 3 areas of work that are highly critical. Ensure you spend time on these 3 critical areas EVERYDAY. Delegate other tasks that are not so critical.
3) Come earlier to work, and leave later. I am not a masochist nor workaholic that loves spending more time in the office just for the sake of doing so. However, by coming a bit earlier and staying a bit later, you can get more work done. So, you can achieve more in a single day. Start with say coming in 15 minutes earlier each day, and then staying 15 minutes later than what you usually do. You will realize that you can get energized with that extra achievements daily. Do not expand work time too much, else Parkinson’s law will creep in, where you will take a more leisurely pace with your usual work, giving the same daily output despite increased work time.
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