Based on my observation working with hundreds of companies around the country, everyone seems to be struggling mightily to get everything done. How can people be productive with the workload that they have and the time that they have available? Many people seem to be overwhelmed and struggling to get it all done personally and professionally. Do you often feel that way? Here are some specific tips and techniques that will help you be more productive every day.
- They have goals in writing– Yes, I know you have heard this before. It is critical to have written goals because how can you be productive if you don’t know what you’re being productive about? If you’re being productive, what is it that you’re trying to produce? You certainly can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is. If you have goals written down for the year you can then take those goals and spread them across a quarter, a month, a week and a day. This helps you have tremendous focus on what it is you’re being productive about.
- They prioritize and “calendarize”- As a professional speaker I often tell audiences that they need to prioritize and “calendarize”. Yes I know one of these is not a word but I use it to make a point. In order to be massively productive you need to decide on your priorities, and they need to be on your calendar. We all know that if they do not go into your calendar and are not likely to happen because we forget about them. When you put them on your calendar automatically become a priority.
- They have agendas for meetings– If you’re going to meet with someone one way to be remarkably more productive is to have a written agenda that you create and send to the other person in advance. This helps in your preparation and also make sure that your meetings stay on track. When I was a Vice President in corporate America and asked that all the people that reported to me bring an agenda for the meetings so that we could be focused on what is were trying to cover. I notice that when I meet with people and give them an agenda, they follow the agenda closely and check items off as we cover them. I also believe that having an agenda shows that you’re credible and prepared.
- They plan their day the night before– If it is Sunday night and you’re going to work on Monday you should plan the week before it happens. That way when the sun comes up you have a track to run on. I highly recommend following this technique throughout the week planning before you leave work for the next day. This way when you arrive at work, there is no delay in getting started. You start knowing exactly what it is you need to achieve, and it is a great feeling.
- They control interruptions– We live in an ADD world and it seems as if we are getting interrupted every few minutes. That makes it very hard to focus and concentrate. Highly productive people make every effort to control interruptions that happen in person, by phone by instant message and by email. If someone comes to their office unannounced and ask them if they have a minute, they ask them to come back at a later time so they can finish. They constantly stay focused all day long on controlling interruptions to the greatest extent that they can.
- They negotiate on time– When someone asks them to provide something as soon as possible they talk about the definition that term, and negotiate a different time frame to buy more time. Just because someone asks for something does not necessarily mean we have to provide it right away.
So, every morning it’s a new day and it’s up to you to manage it so you can be highly productive.