5 Ways to Ensure You Are Productive Not ‘Busy’
In today’s hyper-connected business environment, it seems we are all busier than ever. Whether we are responding to emails outside of office hours or taking a call while on the way to a meeting, there is so much going on in our work lives that it’s easy to lose focus on getting the most important work done. So, here are 5 ways to ensure you are productive:
1. Focus on being effective
Busy people tend to have a good work ethic. That is why they are always busy. The problem is not that they don’t work hard, but that they don’t work smart. Productive people focus on being effective. They are constantly looking for better ways to achieve the same outcome.
Do you have a member of staff on your team that always seems rushed off their feet but fails to deliver on key objectives? This employee has proven they can work hard but they need to be reminded of the company’s priorities to ensure they work towards them always.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Busy people tend to get lost in the minor details whereas productive people tend to focus on the macro issues. Once you get from A to B in the most efficient way possible, it doesn’t really matter which route you took to get there or what else you did along the way. Focus on hitting each milestone along the way to achieving your business objectives and don’t sweat the small stuff.
It is easy to get caught up in the need for perfection but this will actually slow down your overall progress. Set clear objectives with clear targets. That will make it harder for your staff to get distracted with the mundane details.
We ensure staff focus daily by implementing the Tony Robbins, Three to Thrive technique. Instead of being stretched thin across a dauntingly long to-do list, we focus on the three things that will ensure each team member has a successful day.
3. Set your own direction
Busy people tend to be reactive and let others set their direction. Productive people tend to set their own direction and they are proactive in moving forward with each of their business objectives. Industry norms can try to set your direction of travel. However, if you want to move forward in a way that embraces new and innovative ways of doing things, it’s best to choose your own path to achieving each of your objectives.
To achieve this, cut out the noise. Don’t spend your day in your inbox reacting to other people’s to-dos. Instead, set guidelines on the organisation’s response time for emails and have employees reply 3 times a day instead of constant dipping in and out.
4. The power of why?
Busy people tend to say yes and don’t really challenge why others are asking them to do things. Productive people tend to ask “why”? They challenge others with questions like “Why are we doing this?” and “how does investing time in this particular activity help us to achieve the objectives of our business?”
Remember when you were a child and your favourite word was why? To be successful you need to be able to challenge social norms and ask why. For example, if you can get to the root of the ‘why’, you might discover that there are unnecessary steps and procedures that are slowing down a project, therefore allowing you to make it more efficient.
5. Don’t try to do everything yourself
Busy people tend to do everything themselves. Many small business owners dream of a business that runs without them. Unfortunately, many small business owners fall under the ‘busy’ category which makes them feel like they will never have a business that runs without them.
More productive people tend to use the tools and resources available to them in order to get things done in the most efficient manner. If a particular task has a high rate of recurrence or isn’t a particularly good use of your time, either hire someone cheaper to do it or outsource it.
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