Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, how productivity is defined depends on the person doing the defining. The measuring stick is usually internal and while some think of productivity in quantity of time spent working, others look at the quality of their work to determine whether they’re being productive. That being said, there are ways you can make yourself more productive regardless of how you determine what productivity means to you:
1. One in, One out
Emails are the bane of many people’s existence. The basic digital communication that is often most vital also often becomes the easiest task to put off for many people. Letting your emails pile up can be the easiest time-suck AND cause you to miss important communications as you try and play catch-up. Set notifications and try to answer emails as they come in. Now you’re thinking, “if I had the time to answer every email as it came in I would.” If that doesn’t work for you (and it probably won’t work for 95% of entrepreneurs), at least acknowledge emails as they come in so that you can deal with them appropriately at a time that works for you. If you don’t have time to answer, at least flag the email and move it into a folder that you designate as urgent. Having a “one in, one out” policy allows you the freedom to get to your communications when you’re ready AND helps remove the clutter from your inbox.
2 . Start the Day with a “To-Do” List
You wouldn’t have gotten to where you are today without setting personal goals and working to achieve them. So why would you attack each day without that same mentality? For you to maximize your productivity, you need to know what each day, week, month and yearly accomplishment looks like. Getting to more long-term goals starts with having daily tasks that you must tackle to ensure that day, to you and your goals, is a successful one. Too often people rely on their calendars to ensure they’ve met their production needs for the day. Take 5-10 minutes at the beginning and end of every day to make or evaluate a To-Do list and see how you stack up against your expectations. You may just surprise yourself with how much more you get accomplished – and at what rate of quality as well!
3. “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are!”
While this quote has often been attributed to who people are on a more personal level, the same is true from a business perspective. Positive people will always bring the best out in you. Whether times are good or bad, having positive people around you will make any situation/office crisis better and more manageable. This rings true for who you hire or associate yourself with at the office. Being around goal-oriented and productive people will ensure that you are the same yourself – just as being around negative people who gossip, waste time will only offer opportunities for you to be involved in the same drama. Positive people can be very motivating to be around – keep your circle of associates tight and only positive and you’ll see better results in your productivity and attitude.
Increasing productivity is always going to be something people strive to accomplish. Heeding these 3 tips, while also ensuring you take time for yourself outside of office responsibilities, will give you the foundation needed to always have the quantity of time you spend working filled by quality work and people; regardless of how you define what it means to be productive.