Three Productivity Hacks to Maximize Your Time
We’re on a productivity kick. Last week, we shared tips on how to take the dread out of meetings and making those minutes count. Today, however, we’re tapping into the broader topic of time-management itself, particularly how to tackle time to maximize performance and productivity. Many of us struggle with it simply because the busy-ness of life and work is endless while bandwidth is increasingly limited. While many have turned to help from speed reads like “The New One Minute Manager” or productivity chapters from MAP’s newest book, “The Disciplined Leader,” almost all the new clients we coach tell us time management is one of their biggest hurdles to leadership and organization success.
Want to be more efficient and better at managing time? Here are some productivity hacks to help:
Hack #1: Practice the Pareto Principle.
Commonly known as the 80/20 Rule, the Pareto Principle is a model that can be used for many leadership activities, including excellent time management. The idea is that you focus on the 20% of activities that will produce 80% of results—and everything beyond that vital 20% of activities is considered more trivial, in other words, likely to be a time waster or at least undermine your productivity in significant and costly ways. If what you’re doing is trivial, either stop doing it or delegate it to someone else. Along those lines, learn to say “no” to matters and requests that aren’t vital to your leadership role.
Hack #2: Clear up Clutter.
It can be hard to focus and be productive when your desktop—be it virtual or the one you may be sitting at right now—is a mess. According to statistics from the National Association of Professional Organizers, clutter leads to major time waste: on average, people spend one whole year of life simply looking for lost stuff. A whopping 91% of people say they’d be more effective at work if their office space was better organized and clutter-free. Most of us who struggle with clutter challenges do so because it requires the very thing we so desperately need more of: time. Attack clutter by setting aside just 10 minutes a day to organize or clean up messes that prevent your productivity. If you really don’t want to do it yourself, consider hiring a professional organizer who can help.
Hack #3: Schedule regular down time.
If you take a break at work—whether to eat lunch, stretch, call a friend, etc.—this won’t necessarily make you instantly productive. But over time, you will likely find your job satisfaction rate and energy level on the up and empowering you to focus and work harder and smarter.
Interestingly, something as simple as getting out for a brief walk can really boost creativity, according to a Stanford University study. Hit the sidewalk, treadmill or a nature path for 15 minutes, and it can increase your creativity levels by 60%. Having a team meeting this week? How about taking it outside if you can. Notice how that can change everything and everyone, from moods to imagination, openness, efficiency and more.
The key is, whatever you do to give yourself or your team members some down time, make sure it’s scheduled. Having it in black and white and on your calendar makes it real. You’ll be more likely to follow through…and you’ll thank yourself when you do.
What sorts of responsibilities have you said “no” to lately and how has that impacted your productivity level?