Everyone knows that striving to excel at work and ensure your personal time doesn’t go to waste is a difficult task, though almost everyone seems to be doing it on a daily basis.
However, there are times when we feel exhausted and irritated from never-ending workloads and it gets WORSE when something unexpected comes along and jeopardises your carefully laid out plans. Here are some of the reasons why and how you should be productive.
What does it mean to be productive?
But did you know that a person’s success is likely to be determined by consistency? By being consistent and regularly spending time doing something, one will eventually become an expert at it. This is why it is important to know to how to be consistently good at what we do every day, whether it is in marketing, studying, doing housework or even making business decisions. The only way to achieve that is to be productive.
Productivity is used to measure one’s capability to generate output, to leading a team, organization and company’s capacity to produce goods or services to bring in profits and value. From an individual perspective, it reflects your ability to transform their input into output which in other words, their value to create impact.
To ensure your value increases and help you progress up the chain of command, here are some of the tips that may help:
1. Always set goals/ KPIs for yourself
As cliché as it may sound, setting short term, middle and long term goals make it easier for you to be reminded of the desired accomplishment and outcomes from the particular efforts you make.
Writing it down on a board or typing it into your phone or tablet will ensure the mere existence of the goals and KPIs will be a constant reminder that you need to achieve it within a timeline.
The best way to do this is to working through your daily checklist and then jot down the targeted task for the next day. This way, we are more likely to be aware of our responsibilities on a daily basis and do consider preparing it on a weekly and monthly basis whenever possible.
2. Learn to prioritise
There will always be tons to do and new requests will often all come at once from your superiors, colleagues, clients and suppliers, so it is important for you to recognise the importance of each of these tasks or requests before you drive yourself crazy.
Now this requires some time for a person to be able to recognise the priority level of each task as is subjective to specific circumstances, such as project, timeline and stakeholders involved. Superior and senior colleagues can only do so much to guide you in sorting out the importance of each task given as they have their own workload to figure out as well.
Over time, it is vital for you observe the type of timeline for projects under certain categories and work out timelines required for each of these categories. E.g., you need two weeks to prepare a sales proposal to an overseas client and it takes three days for you to prepare monthly sales claims from the human resource and admin department.
You need to communicate these details with your team and superiors so that everyone can keep track and be transparent with their own respective timelines. By managing your timeline and effort needed to perform each task, you can arrange your schedule more effectively.
3. Take a short break in between tasks
Working in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to refresh your mind and body is a key factor for achieving consistency in your work. Think of it as being similar to working out at the gym, if you continue to stretch your muscles for too long without a short break, they will eventually snap.
During the intervals, you perform simple stretching exercises or some breathing exercises to increase the intake of oxygen into the body and brain. This allows your productivity to be kept at optimised levels and over the long term, this will help you to achieve consistency in being good at what you do.
4. Learn to delegate
Do not be afraid to ask for help. With or without subordinates, everyone is allowed to ask for assistance especially in thing they are not good at. This is largely encouraged to nurture a team with good collaborative culture in an organisation and company.
A result that gradually progresses and grows from a team’s combined efforts is always more promising than the efforts of an individual. Instead of taking ages to finish endless tasks that leave you feeling overloaded, you can instead focus on a single task without losing track of other tasks or even worse, failing to complete them.
5. Utilise charts, calendars, and technology
There are so many online web tools and mobile app platforms like Google Mail, Google Calendar, Evernote, Trello and many others that are easily available for download. Smartphones and tablets are getting even more sophisticated as developers are constantly finding new ways to optimise and improve the way people are living their daily lives.
Taking notes via a voice recording and transcribing it into words, for instance, is highly applauded by many office executives as they no longer have to manually write it all down. At the same time, preparing a simple presentation through tablets is now even more easily accessible than ever before.
If you believe in old-school practices, prepare a white board in your office to list down the daily tasks or appointments so you and your colleagues or superior are aware of your progress. And also, always carry a small notebook and pen to avoid situations where you need to take down important notes and your smartphone is out of commission.
6. Be adaptable and accept that you can’t control everything
As stated, accident or events out of expectation may occur from time to time and bring a certain impact to your on-going tasks. Instead of being frustrated or disappointed with it, you should probably look into alternatives ways to resolve the issue or carry on with other tasks with similar priorities.
For example, let’s say you are working on getting information from the internet to support the sales proposal you are doing for an overseas client. However your internet connection is dead and you have no online access till the internet is back on, so rather than complaining about the incompetence of local internet providers; you can probably go on preparing for next week’s meeting with regional officers.
7. Adequate sleep
As mundane as this piece of advice may sound, insomnia is actually a very serious issue in Malaysia and the age group of people getting diagnosed with insomnia is growing younger. All of this can be traced back to higher stress levels in society around us, and many still do not realise that their exposure to other substantial health risks is higher because of sleep disorders.
The Washington Post recently reported that Harvard’s research has shown for the average worker, insomnia results in the loss of 11.3 days of productivity each year, or the equivalent of $2,280. As a nation, that represents a total loss of $63.2 billion.
“A study last year showed that people who monitored their smartphones for business reasons after 9 p.m. were more tired and less engaged the next day at work. Others studies have unearthed a link between insomniac bosses and abusive behaviour. And many have examined the correlation between lack of sleep and medical conditions like dementia and diabetes,” the report stated.
So based on this report, it has been proven that to have better focus at work and lead a healthier life, adequate sleep is a must.
What do you think? Are there any other ways we can enhance our productivity and still enjoy a healthy work-life balance in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments!