Category Archives: Time Management

7 Tips for Improving Productivity

Productivity is an interesting word.  It describes, in broad terms, the pace at which you generate output. As an worker, business owner, even a student, productivity is important.

Having an system that allows you to create your output more effectively more means that you can free up time.  Time you can spend on play, hobbies or even just more output.

Here are 7 productivity tips to help you achieve more:

  1. Focus on what is important.  Activity isn’t progress unless it is activity towards your vision.  It is your goals that allow you to identify and select your priorities.  Select tasks that move you towards those goals.
  2. Stop Multi-tasking.  Select your top priority task and work on it until it is complete or until you reach a point where you cannot continue because of external dependencies.  Then work on the next priority.  A person with 10 priorities has no priorities so avoid having a task list that is too long.
  3. Avoid Distractions.  Learn to focus on just one thing at a time.  Distractions divide your effort and it often takes some time to re-engage with your original task.  For example, Avoid checking email as soon as it hits you inbox. Just finish the task at hand and check email at a scheduled time
  4. Break Projects Into Several Tasks.  Projects are often very large and take a long time to complete.  By splitting large projects into a series of tasks, you remove the perception that the task is unmanageable.  You also see individual tasks for their value to the overall project, those which matter and those which can be discarded.  You can then also then apply tip 1 and focus on what really matters.
  5. Batch Similar Tasks Together.  Routine is a significant waste of effort, particularly if you have to repeat something which requires time and effort to prepare.  Prepare once and then repeat the process for all tasks of a similar type.
  6. Do Something Positive.  Sometimes, it is difficult to get started on a big task of you find yourself blocked by a limitation of self belief or motivation.  Just take some positive action.  Anything that moves you forward is good and the very act of doing something can often free up the motivation and creativity you need to progress.
  7. Sharpen the Saw.  Dr Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’  has ‘Sharpen the Saw’ as habit 7.  It is the habit of self renewal.  Take time for yourself to recharge your batteries, reenergize your motivation for your vision and then get back to the tasks at hand.

By committing to applying these few tips in your daily activity, you will develop behaviours that lead to increased productivity.  As with most things in life, it is the simple things that are often the most profound and most effective.

Dare to Aspire

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Golden Rules of Time Management


No one actually manages time; they only manage how they use their time. More successful people use their time on the things that matter most and on tasks that move them closer to their goals. Consider the following time management tips to see if you can be more effective in how you use your time.

Set Objectives:

Short, medium and long term goals will help you focus on what you want to achieve. When facing a decision about what to do with your time, consider which option takes you closer to any of your goals and focus your effort there.

Delegate:

Depending on your role, you may have the possibility to delegate tasks to other people. You can leverage the extra capacity of other people by giving them tasks that they are better suited than you to achieve.

Learn to Say ‘NO’:

Everyone is busy! Sometimes people try to delegate their workload to YOU! When this occurs, it is important to know how to say ‘No’ assertively without guilt.

– Just politely say ‘No’
– Don’t over justify why you are unable because it sounds like you are being defensive
– If it is your direct manager, outline your current tasks and ask for priority or a change in deadlines
– Consider offering suggestions as to who may be able to help
– Consider offering a future time when you may be able to help

If saying ‘No’ remains difficult, consider reading my blog on assertiveness.

Avoid Procrastination:

This is the art of putting things off until tomorrow. This is a major stumbling block to effectiveness. The main reasons for procrastination are:

– Believing that if you wait, the problem or task will go away
– Avoiding a task that is unpleasant
– Putting off something because you are overwhelmed
– Fear of Failure
– Boredom

Manage Distractions:

– Are you regularly interrupted by unnecessary questions?
– Are you drawn into conversations that are not really productive?
– Are you always receiving telephone calls?
– Do you instantly open a new email?

If you said yes to anything on this list, distractions are reducing productivity. Remove some of these distractions by:

– Turning off the audio alert for your email
– Redirecting your telephone to voice mail
– Announcing that you are working toward a deadline and don’t want to be disturbed
– Have a selective ‘closed door’ policy

Ask for help:

People are socially programmed to help those that ask for help. You may be reluctant to ask for help, however, suffering in silence will probably make things worse.

Your colleagues may be able to help you time manage more effectively. Alternatively, your line manager may discover that you are actually overloaded and be happy that you have identified a problem that would have increased over time.

Dare to Aspire

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Filed under Improvement, Performance, Time Management