Improving Personal Productivity, Part 3

By November 28, 2011 Leadership, Productivity No Comments

productivityFollowing on from my previous posts on Improving Productivity, Part 1 and Part 2, some more tips:

  1. In every meeting you have, whether it’s with one person or many, always have an agenda, have objectives of why you are meeting and an end time. Nancy Kline in her book Time to Think has some excellent ideas on how to run good meetings based on thinking and listening which are a bit different to the usual advice!
  2. Really question every meeting you agree to attend. Remember past meetings you have been to, add in preparation time, travel time, time when the meeting doesn’t start punctually, time when the meeting overruns and then ask yourself was that the best way of spending what was supposed to be 2 hours and turns into half a day?  Could the meeting be run as a conference call? How else could it be held?
  3. Be selfish and plan in time, i.e. block out in your diary, to action and prepare for meetings so that you don’t feel like you have 2 jobs … one during the day to attend meetings and the second to start at 5.30pm to actually get some things done! Be proactive about your diary and take regular views of how you can be proactive rather than reacting to everyone else’s demands on you.  Get in there first.
  4. It is recommended to work on no more than 3 or 4 things at any one time. If it is more than this you lose your focus. This applies to men and women. There are gender differences here but this advice is good for both.
  5. There is much written about working on what is important and not just what is urgent.  Businesses and entrepreneurs who make a shift to concentrate on what is important become more successful. Rather than being busy on trivia, on problem solving, working on the easy things first, getting distracted, on being busy itself…take time to think about the purpose and vision for the future. This guides you to decide on the priorities and define the boundaries and what to say ‘yes’ to and ‘no’ to, when you are making decisions.  Consider the following questions:
    • What is time well spent for you?
    • What is purposeless activity and how can you reduce it?
    • What is purposeful activity and how can you increase it?
  6. Work out who can help you.  Save time struggling on your own. It is a sign of strength to ask for help and advice. Modelling is a Neuro Linguistic Programming term (NLP) whereby you identify who is good at the thing you are not skilled at and you go and ask them what is it that they do, to improve. What a compliment!  Who do you know who seems to pack in a lot, gets everything done and have time to smile?  Have a coffee with them for some advice.
  7. Could you delegate and develop someone at the same time? Improve your delegation skills if necessary. These are key to good time management. If you are not so hot at this – get some training!
  8. Is procrastination an issue for you? Do you keep putting something off, something that is important that needs some thought and can’t seem to find a couple of hours to get going? Follow Mark Forster’s tip on this and find 5 minutes.  Get yourself a notepad and a pen and time yourself to write and write furiously for 5 minutes.  Don’t stop writing for a full 5 minutes and when the time is up stop writing even in mid sentence.  You will notice 2 things (1) how much you can write in 5 minutes and actually get started with and (2) if you stop mid sentence it is easier to get started when you pick up the pen next time rather than staring into space!  The message here is find time for important things. If you can find several lots of 5 minutes even better.  Do remember working flat out can only be sustained for about 45 minutes!

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