We all know people who seem to always be on top of their career, personal life, hobbies and health. I have one colleague that comes to mind. She and her husband are successful in their businesses, they have a side hustle that is successful, they’re both extremely healthy -- eating right and exercising, and they’re parents of two very active kids. It’s like they’re robots that can do it all. How do they do it? I wish I knew! But during my career, I have come up with a few ways to help me increase productivity and efficiency in the office. I’m sharing a few tips that may help you with your productivity so that you’ll have some time to focus on other things.
1. Make a List
I keep an ongoing list of all the projects and things I need to accomplish. If they don’t get completed, they stay on the list so I keep looking at it until it gets done. I start with the bigger items that need to get done and then break it down into the smallest tasks possible. It’s important to see everything on the list so you do not miss a piece or underestimate what will be involved in a certain part. If you need to delegate items, then do so, but I keep it on my list so I can check back to make sure it gets done.
Then each day, make a list of 3 big things you need to accomplish. Finish these before you move on to anything else for the day. This will help you move the needle on the projects that are important and are the highest priority. Sometimes I find it best to make this list at the end of the day in preparation for the next. It helps me feel less overwhelmed and in control of my priorities for the day.
2. Accept Constructive Criticism
Understand that we are not an expert in everything we do, so it’s important to seek advice and listen to others who have knowledge in our field. It’s our job to listen and then figure out how to apply it to our situation. People are always going to have something to say about what we’re doing, but don’t let the negative comments bring you down. The key is to listen and decide what advice will work best for you.
3. Be Humble and Kind
I love the Tim McGraw song that reflects this sentiment. It’s important to stay positive and not brag about your accomplishments or the kind acts you may do for others. It’s often said that the giving can be more rewarding than receiving. I believe that’s true. Doing something for others will help keep your morale up and a positive attitude. Be helpful, listen and act kindly in the work environment. Remember, overnight success is not the norm! As a society we often discredit the amount of hard work, practice, and sleepless nights these actors, athletes and artists spent alone with their craft, with no one around. Hard work is the key to success.
4. Take Time to Reflect
At the end of a project, always take the time to review the details that went into it. This is when you have time to evaluate the steps you took and figure out what worked and what did not. You can hash out all the little things and make a list of what to do better next time. As an Event Producer, I produce events annually, so when I start planning for the next year, it helps me to have the notes from my post event reflection in order to make sure that we do not make the same mistakes or have the same issues the following year. Keep in mind, it’s not necessarily about making a mistake. Often times situations present themselves that you hadn’t planned for. Now that you know, plan accordingly the following year.
5. Take a Break
Stepping away from a project and clearing your mind is important for a good balance of life. This could mean anything from standing up, stretching and stepping away from the computer to a much needed beach vacation. It’s important to take the time to get your mind off clear and refreshed before taking on anything else. I call it the “exfoliate and re-apply” method. You will come back with your batteries recharged and ready to take on the project at hand. And remember, according to research, taking vacation time can make you more productive, reduce stress and improve your health. Time away from the office can also spark creativity.
What I’ve come to realize is that productive people are not the ones always doing the most but rather doing what needs to be done the most efficiently. You should be focusing on the task at hand and not the other ten things you also have to get done. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, we hope this article will help you be more efficient.
Well, that’s all I have for now.
Thanks to Emily McWilliams for their assistance with this article.