According to the Internet, today, Friday, June 20, is World Productivity Day. While it is a lesser known holiday around the globe, it still deserves to be celebrated. Unfortunately for most, productivity can be a struggle from time to time.
- Stop multitasking. Only 2% of people can multitask successfully. Where does that leave the remaining 98% of us? Nowhere good. We think we are accomplishing more, but in all actuality we are accomplishing less. Devote your full attention to the task at hand and the benefits will soon follow.
- Honor your to do list. This one is obvious, but do you actually abide by it? Personally, I write everything on my to do list, from regularly scheduled meetings to editing content for colleagues to my lunch break. Often people forget that the little, everyday projects add up. A holistic to do list encompassing all of your activities allows you to prioritize projects and manage your time wisely. Not to mention the satisfaction you get when you mark off a completed item!
- Set a meeting agenda. This is simple, yet often overlooked. Set a meeting agenda that allows you to guide the conversation, take action and make decisions in the moment. If there is anything we can learn (or laugh about) from the latest Google Hangout commercial, it’s that our society doesn’t do this enough.
- Skip meetings. An estimated $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings. Those numbers speak for themselves. If you do not need to attend a meeting, don’t. You are wasting time, and, unfortunately a lot of money.
- Wake up earlier. Not all of us are morning people, and that’s ok. Just by starting your day 15-30 minutes earlier you can be more successful. According to Laura Vanderkam, unlike their sleepy counterparts, successful people are up getting things done in the morning. Take advantage of the extra time to exercise, catch up on the news, chat with a friend and get your brain working.
- Capture creativity. There are countless resources at your disposal to capture creativity and, lucky for us, a lot of them are free. One of my favorites is Evernote, a tool that makes it easy to keep track of ideas, meeting notes and research. Evernote lets you capture images and bookmark websites, and synchs and saves those files so you can refer to them in the future. The notes are centrally stored, allowing you to access Evernote anytime, anywhere — on your phone, tablet, PC or web browser.
- Take a lunch break. Is your keyboard covered in crumbs? That’s not surprising. Only 20% of office workers report taking a lunch break away from their desks. Eating lunch away from your desk 2-3 times a week has a significant impact on your mental health and focus.
- Delegate. Most of us forget that a huge chunk of or job requires delegation. London business school professor John Hunt states that 30% of managers believe they can manage well, and, of those, only one in three are considered a good delegator by their subordinates. You can’t do it all. Trust your people, carefully chose the tasks you are going to delegate and give clear instructions. This will give you the opportunity to share knowledge and mentor young professionals, all while freeing up your schedule to honor your to do list.
- Plan ahead. I’m going back to #2, again. Reevaluate your to do list at the end of the day. Mark off what you’ve completed and reprioritize your tasks for the following day. This will help clear your mind and focus on what is ahead.
- Start moving! It’s no secret that exercise increases energy, sharpens focus, enhances moods, improves memory and boosts productivity. Whether you are going for a walk or training for a marathon, devoting time out of your day to exercise will help you do your job better.
How do you fight off your unproductive moments? I’d love to hear your suggestions!