How To Multiply Your Productivity At Work
It gets harder by the day to keep up with all the distractions we encounter at work. Sometimes before we start the day, its already ended.
To be honest, being productive still feels like a Herculean task to me. However, it’s mostly because I still attach too much seriousness to its meaning.
On the brighter side, being productive is rather simpler in practicable terms than it psychologically seems. It simply means doing what you are really supposed to do, and doing it more efficiently.
Yes, that’s it and nothing extra.
I’m not here to tell you about the productivity apps though. Besides, having them may not be nearly as useful if you lack the fundamental clarity on the reasons behind downloading them.
Here are some of the tips that have improved my work productivity level over the last six years of my professional career.
1. Identify Your Most Important Job
Remember, the most important thing is to keep the most important thing.
Staying productive at work means that you have to consistently perform your key job duty because it will constitute the large chunk of your career success.
From Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, I learned to ask myself this important question.
Why am I on the company’s payroll?
This question helps most particularly if you’re still having difficulty ascertaining what your most important job is.
I noticed that whenever I took my time to identify my most important task, it just showed me how less important other tasks were.
Completing a task that really matters also means that it would have an immediate positive impact on your team’s performance metrics and this, in turn, saves every team member a lot of effort and useful time.
You might be well on your way to becoming an exceptional team member or leader if you practice this step consistently.
2. Ask The One Thing Question
This question helps you execute your already identified most important job in the most efficient way possible.
From the New York Times best-selling book, The One Thing, I learned to ask myself this timeless question;
What’s the one thing you can do this week such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?
The questions below can help you understand this concept better.
- If you are a Salesperson: What can you do to make prospecting potential customers easier and more effective?
- If you are a Customer Service Manager: What simple service can you adopt to ensure extraordinary and unbelievable customer experience — the kind of experience that will turn your client into a brand ambassador for your company?
- If you’re a Strategy Expert or a Business Owner: What groundbreaking innovative idea or strategies can you implement or adopt that can push your company forward?
The One thing question has helped me over the years with creative thinking. It also makes me look smarter because it aids in executing the job that matters with lesser time and effort.
3. Apply The Pareto’s Principle
Pareto’s 80/20 principle explains the fact that 20% of the work you do will account for largely 80% of the results you get.
This principle still remains very powerful because it can be applied to almost any area of life.
What this means is that if you have 10 tasks to complete in a day, 2 of those tasks will most likely turn out to be 5 or 10 times worth the other 8 tasks on the list. Therefore, you can always re-arrange your other tasks into the top 20% and the bottom 80%
This technique is as easy as it gets — before you do any work, ensure to start from the top 20% tasks. It’s best not to do any work in the bottom 80% when you still have unfinished tasks in the top 20%.
These tasks are always harder to accomplish and this is why most unproductive people tend to do the easier bottom 80% tasks. You can start off by breaking the task into smaller pieces of simpler jobs.
Starting off is the hardest part but once you can start the task, completing it is always almost certain.
This technique has helped me achieve greater things in the scheme of things. It also helps with time management.
4. Create a “Not-To-Do List”
A Not to-do list is the direct opposite of a to-do list. It contains things you’re not supposed to be doing while you’re busy getting your work done. They are the repeated activities that consistently reduce your productivity at work.
Depending on your personality, level of self-discipline and working conditions, they could include activities like;
- excessive use of social media
- engaging in unproductive arguments
- attending to time-consuming emails
- unnecessary chit-chat with colleagues
- staying up late and catching less sleep
- attending to personal business during work time
- bringing the wrong attitude and energy to your work.
Write down whatever you remember that hinders you from doing your job efficiently. After compiling this list, paste it somewhere very obvious to see.
I would recommend taking a picture of your compiled “not-to-do list” and saving it as your PC or phone lock screen wallpaper.
When you identify and acknowledge your real enemies on the job, it becomes easier to avoid them whenever they resurface.
5. Fight The Resistance
Here comes the trickiest one.
Resistance is that force that prevents us from executing our tasks. It’s the resisting force between our intentions and our actions. It is our internal self-sabotage and it degrades our productivity levels beyond recognition.
Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art, describes resistance as a universal force that acts against human creativity.
Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.
It comes in different ways such as procrastination, self-doubt, laziness, perfectionism, or even distractions.
The big difference here is that resistance can neither be seen nor detected easily. Therefore, it is very easy to omit them from our Not-to-do lists.
The recommended method to overcome resistance is by putting up a very professional attitude towards our work through consistency. Other ways to battle it include;
- being fully aware that it exists,
- trying not to identify with the negativity it brings,
- showing up every day and putting in the work without giving excuses, and
- having a positive mindset at all times.
Resistance is very real and it’s a war we must all fight. Thus, identifying them quickly enough means that we can add them to our Not-to-do lists and device means to fight to avoid them.
Being productive really begins from the mind, and just like every good thing that’s worth doing, it involves some sort of planning before execution.
The two things to remember if you want to multiply your work productivity in any given area are;
- finding better ways to execute your prioritized tasks, and
- keeping limiting factors out of the way.
I encourage you to upgrade your work efficiency using these tips. They may seem a bit tricky or difficult in the beginning, but with consistent practice, you’ll be able to do more productive work effortlessly.