How can you start boosting your productivity today? In my opinion, accomplishing more each day doesn’t have to do with some life-changing process or technology. Instead, it’s about finding extra minutes and even hours throughout your work week. It’s about minimizing wasted time. Here’s how I do it, and how you can too.
We know that being a better listener is a good thing, and yet we don’t think about it as a productivity skill. Being a better listener helps build relationships and trust, which can speed up communication and progress. However, there is a more pragmatic and direct reason: When you listen effectively, you gain information you need the first time. You prevent additional conversations, rework and frustration.
How many times do you ask people something that they have probably already told you? How many times do you know you “heard” something but don’t remember, so you have to ask again (or learn it some other way so they don’t find out you didn’t listen to them)? Make no mistake, better listening is a productivity activity, and it is the best way to gain more time each day.
Raise the bar on your expectations
You already know that you could be more productive. You even know steps you should take to become so. The problem isn’t awareness; it’s action. Expect more from yourself, and you will be more apt to work on your productivity and test new techniques. When you have a healthy personal expectation, you will accomplish more.
Go ahead and act
Too often we wait. We ponder. We plot and we plan. Reflection, thought and planning are important to a point. If you want to be more productive, take more actions. Yes, some actions won’t turn out perfect. Yes, some might have been improved by waiting. However, energy and opportunity come with action. Take. More. Action. And you will see more results.
While action is required to make serious progress each day, you do need a plan. I recommend that you plan your day, every day. Every time management or productivity system I’ve ever read or studied, recommends you spend time planning your day, week, month and year.
Some people suggest planning in the evening, some suggest first thing in the morning, and an argument can be made for either. I don’t care when you think about your day, just think about it. Commit ideas to paper (or to an electronic tool, if you prefer). Look at your calendar. Identify the most important (not just urgent) things you need to accomplish. Use your plan as a guide all day as you act.