Don’t Just Manage Your Time, Improve Your Productivity

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Sections of this topic

    Each of us has 24 hours every day. No matter how well we manage it, it still adds up to 24 hours.

    So, instead of managing time, we need to manage our activities – what we do in those 24 hours. In this post, I’ll focus on how to be more productive in the workplace.

    Here is what effective managers do to improve their productivity.

    1. Be laser focused.
    Is your day filled with urgent requests – this must get done now? But are these requests important? Will they help you achieve the goals of your boss, your team, your department? Having clear priorities will help you know what to say yes to and what to say no to.

    2. Analyze your “to-do” list.
    Every day ask these three questions. (1) What would happen if I don’t do this at all? If the answer is nothing, stop doing it! (2) Will this activity move me closer to achieving my critical priorities? If the answer is no, don’t do it! (3) Can this be delegated? If yes, assign it!

    3. Set boundaries.
    Pick your most creative time of day and then ring a fence around it. This means setting a block of time when you’re unavailable or not responding immediately to email. What’s the worst thing that can happen? What’s the best thing?

    4. Streamline meetings.
    Starting today cut all meeting times by 25 percent. It can be done! Every meeting, even 10 minute ones, should have an agenda with times, tasks, people and actions. Use the agenda as a tool to control discussion and decision making.

    5. Do a quick review.
    After putting out the fire, go one step further and analyze the crisis. Ask yourself and your team: Is there a pattern here; why did it occur; what can we have done to avoid it? Then take actions prevent it from happening again.

    Management Success Tip:

    Review your past week and your past month. How much of your time was involved in the urgent? Where are you being challenged? Now split your challenges into:

    • The enemy out there (an unexpected crisis, others not meeting deadlines).
    • The enemy within (poor planning, procrastination, lack of assertiveness).

    What causes you the most grief? How are you going to deal with it?

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?