At top concern of many leaders is how to increase work productivity.
The challenge is that there are only a certain number of hours in a day and a certain number of things that can be accomplished in a day.
And this isn’t always a seamless match.
There are the days when we misjudge how long one task will take. There are the days when we end up having to deal with one emergency after another, and our intended tasks end up pushed aside. There are the days when there are few interruptions, but we simply can’t focus.
These are often balanced out with days when we get everything checked off of our to-do list by noon and feel energized, with a huge sense of accomplishment.
But, of course, we focus on the days we aren’t quite at the top of our game.
The reality is that we won’t always be at the top of our game. But if we learn to adjust our routines and schedules around our natural rhythms, we end up being able to increase work productivity even on our less than stellar days.
If you’re looking to accomplish more, in less time, this simple 3 step process will help:
1. Figure out which tasks require more attention and energy.
Start paying attention to which tasks you enjoy and are easy to complete, and which you enjoy less.
In my case, writing longer texts and repetitive tasks are more demanding for me. They require a lot more of my focus and drain me. If I try to attempt these types of tasks when I’m tired, or when I have a shorter amount of time between other commitments, it always ends up taking me 10 times longer than if I wait to do them in moments when I’m well-rested and energized.
Conversely, tasks that involve creativity or connecting with others one-on-one or in small groups re-energize me. These are activities that I excel at even when I’m tired or uninspired.
One easy way to increase work productivity is to start by observing your own patterns. They may be very different from mine. Which tasks energize you no matter when you do them? Which ones tend to be most draining?
2. Track your daily productivity patterns.
The next step is to start paying attention to the times of day when you are able to concentrate at your best. Once again, everyone’s individual patterns will be different.
I’m someone who is wide awake and able to focus well from the moment I’m awake, but my attention often starts to dwindle mid-afternoon. In contrast, my husband, who works with me in my company, has a much slower start to his days and hits his peak in the afternoon.
What are your patterns? At what time of day do you are you most productive? And when does your work productivity typically start to decline?
3. Match task demands to your personal productivity patterns.
Once you’ve figured out which tasks require more attention and focus from you, and the times of day when you are able to concentrate best, the way to increase work productivity becomes clear. Simply schedule those attention-demanding, draining tasks at the time of day when you’re at your peak, attention and productivity-wise. Then save those tasks that energize you for times of day when you’re typically in your lower productivity cycles.
Start to pay attention to these rhythms and whether or not your work tasks are well-matched to your natural productivity rhythms. Once you’ve got a good grasp on this, are you’re able to start communicating these needs to others you work with, you’ll discover that you’re able to accomplish more in less time and with less effort.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that really what we’d all love to be able to do?
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