Work is a huge part of our identity, but for many of us work has ceased to well… work for us. Ask yourself:
- Are you stressed at the end of most days, frustrated that you haven’t achieved what you set out to do?
- Do you feel like a shift worker? Working early morning shifts, evening shifts and weekend shifts, as well as the 8.30am – 6.00pm day in your employment contract. And despite these long hours, do you still feel anxious about your job performance and security?
- Is there any time left over for you to re-energise and enjoy life after your work, family and all other commitments?
Digitisation has added another layer of distraction on top of our real priorities. We are bogged down with messages, emails, chats, newsfeeds and multiple sources of information.
We work in open plan offices and get constant interruptions. We switch-tasks all day, yet rarely switch off. Lengthy internal meetings sap our energy and fill up our calendars. We struggle to get important work done.
No wonder sluggish productivity is at the top of most Board Room agendas. It is no coincidence that wellbeing and mental ill health are up there too.
Here are 5 productivity hacks to get more done:
1. Focus your time and attention
Get crystal clear on your priorities. Fuzzy focus makes us confuse being efficient with being effective. Don’t waste precious time on unimportant tasks. What can you cut back on, speed up, delegate or simply STOP?
2. Schedule flow working into your diary
Block out a time and place to do your deep, flow working and remember to schedule tasks, not just meetings. Eliminate interruptions, switch off your email and START. Research shows that if we could spend two hours a day working in this flow state we would be five times more productive.
3. Manage your mail; don’t let it manage you
Call, don’t email if you need to build a trusted relationship. Email information and confirmations only and don't have discussions on email; that is not what it is intended for. Tell people that you are leaving an email trail and if they want you to act on something they should message you directly – or better still, talk to you.
4. Avoid procrastination
Design a routine and stick to it. Don’t wait until you are in the mood to start a task – this leads to procrastination. Just start it and your mood will catch up.
Most tasks just need to get done. Know when good enough will do. Your perfectionism can make you procrastinate, for fear of delivering a less than perfect result. When are you told to do a perfect job? Do your colleagues do perfect work? Exactly!
5. Learn to say no, with tact and grace
There are only 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. If you are trying to fit in too much, then sooner or later you will crack. Your work will become sub-standard. You won’t get promoted or more interesting work because you look like you can’t cope with your existing load. Re-negotiate!
Want to know more?
Zena will be speaking at the following upcoming events and conferences at ICAEW:
Written by: Zena Everett
Career Transformation & Confidence Expert
Zena is an experienced Executive Coach and Author of Mind Flip and Crazy Busy. She is an expert at successfully coaching clients to identify the next step in their career and enabling them to confidently make a transition that matches their values.