3 Unexpected Ways to Make Your Work (And You!) More Productive
What does “productive” mean for you?
You’re probably thinking along the lines of the widely accepted term of being able to get lots of things done, being efficient and producing output. In fact, if you look up the definition of “productive” on Google, you’ll see the definition of “producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities”.
The trouble with this definition, it only scratches the surface. I used to think being productive was about churning out work, ticking through my loooong to-do list as quick as possible and going about my day as efficient (or quick) as possible.
However, productivity is so much more about that! It is also about working or operating in a way that makes things easier for you. It’s about being slick and efficient like a well-oiled machine. Let’s be honest, life is tough enough as it is sometimes, don’t make it harder for yourself by doing unnecessary things or taking twice as long to go about tasks. So here are three unexpected ways to make your work (and you) more productive!
One: Make decisions quickly and effectively
Did you know we reportedly make 35,000 decisions a day! It’s exhausting just thinking about that! It’s easy to get “decision overload” which leads to “decision fatigue” which refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. To boost productivity (and the quality of your decisions), implement ways to reduce or streamline decision making.
For example, perhaps you can create a ‘decision criteria’. This could mean setting a list of minimum standards or requirements that have to be passed to minimise the time and energy spent decision making of whether to proceed on something or not. This can be applied to the big to the small decision making.
I even had one client who said she doesn’t even consider watching a film with a rating less than 8 out of 10 on a review site to help minimise decision making of “what film shall we watch” with her partner on a Friday night.
It could also be a way that you standardise something. For example, Barrack Obama wore the same grey or blue suit when he served as the President of the USA to save time and thinking. As the Commander in Chief explained, the act of making a decision erodes your ability to make later decisions.
Two: Add Mindfulness into Your Life
When we think of mindfulness, it is easy to just associate it with meditation and sitting cross-legged peacefully. We can actaully add it into our busy day to day though in order to boost our productivity.
As Shad Helmsetter, the author of “The Power of Neuroplasticity” explains in his book, “Mindfulness is the process of being consciously aware of your own mental environment and activity in a purposeful way… it is paying attention to paying attention”.
So how does this boost productivity? Because when we are mindful of our thoughts and actions, we can enhance our focus and be more deliberate in what we are doing which will stop us wasting time, procrastinating or enhance our efficiency.
Three: Take the thinking out of regular tasks
Despite weighing just 5% of your body, your brain actually consumes 20% of your body’s energy. Basically, thinking use a lot of your energy and fuel! So, one way to boost productivity is to ‘take the thinking out of it’ when it comes to time spent on repetitive items and tasks you do regularly.
For example, I am a big fan of having a covers-all-basis checklist, whether that is for work-related tasks like creating an event or onboarding a new client, or even personal chores like packing for a holiday.
Perhaps you could even have a set of templates for regular emails or answers to common queries you receive at work? For example, one of my clients Natalie realised that about half of her email responses were not new responses – she had in some form answered similar questions before. By creating a set of ‘template responses’ she then only had to tweak and tailor them which saved her time and boosted her productivity!
What tip is going to work for you to make things easier for you and your work and boost productivity?