The modern office worker is obsessed with productivity. There’s an infinite supply of advice from thought leaders, productivity specialists, and time management experts on getting the most out of the 24-hour day. The productivity software market in Canada was $2.9 billion in 2018. As this year rages on, we share some tips to help you stay organized, especially on your busiest days.
Focus on Systems, not Goals
Start by breaking down your time and task management system to its essence. Improve your productivity by doing more with less. Open up more time by focusing on tasks that really matter and getting rid of trivial activities. Once you set the right goals, shift your focus to the process because it’s the only thing you can control.
The only way to change your results is by changing your systems. Result-level solutions are temporary. For permanent improvements, you need system-level solutions. Fix the inputs, and the outputs fall into place. Furthermore, drawing satisfaction from the process rather than the product means you don’t have to wait for the results to be happy.
Stop Piling on Tasks
Working exclusively on essential tasks improves your efficiency. Come up with two or three clear goals at the beginning of the week, and make them your top priority. Every morning that week, prioritize tasks that help you get closer to these goals. If a task doesn’t support your main goals, label it as a non-essential task. Take on non-essential tasks only after you completed your two or three main goals.
If you have difficulty prioritizing, consider cutting out one day from the workweek. Counterintuitive as this move might seem, it can boost your productivity as it forces you to prioritize better and eliminate all distractions that may eat into your well-earned free day.
Set Aside Time to Think
Be honest about how much time you need to maintain your energy, balance and creativity. Depending on your job, this might mean staying committed to the time you set aside for creative headspace to reflect on issues and spawn ideas.
Schedule 30 minutes to an hour every day to think proactively about your priorities rather than someone else’s. You can create extra time to think by making your meetings as short as possible. Make sure each meeting has only a single agenda, and close the meeting immediately after the discussion.