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Either You Run the Day or the Day Runs You! Cracking the Productivity Code

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Do you find yourself racing through your day, everyday? Are you spending all day completing tasks at work, and still feel like you haven’t accomplished anything? 

To boost your productivity, you don't need to massively change your work life or routine. Sometimes, it's the smallest things that can make the biggest impact. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you work, everyone is looking for ways to be more productive on the job. Not to mention the feeling of a productive workday is somewhat euphoric.

Follow these 5 simple solutions to be 5X more productive

1. Focus

Answering this question is the most important thing you will do in your lifetime. Period! Focus is drives everything in your life. Focus is not just about being productive; it is about living the best quality of life.

How many times in a day are you interrupted in the middle of a task? Many of these distractions are beyond your control; like office meetings in the middle of a busy day or unexpected customer calls that need immediate attention?! BUT Often these distractions are also caused by boredom, leading you to kill time on social media or aimlessly surfing the internet. Dealing with these distractions is necessary to make the most of your day. 

One of the very first practices to deal with the seemingly endless work hours is to identify these distractions. Write down everything you do on a regular basis with an estimate of how long the tasks take. This will give you a clear picture of what your typical day looks like. It’s important to set aside extra time for tasks that could be carried forward to the next day and also account for surprises that may come along the way.

Once you know what tasks you have at hand, it is important to understand the purpose they hold in your overall set of goals. Spend time assigning a level of importance to each task. This will help you prioritize and get more out of your day.

Starve your distractions, Feed your focus. 

2. Organise Yourself

Maintain an office diary, I can not stress enough on the importance of a handy dairy. You are only human, and often with super hectic schedules and back to back meetings it’s natural that you will forget things.

One of the best learnings of my career comes from my experience as a Hotelier. A luxury 5-Star hotel needs to function flawlessly and deliver immaculate service at every step. With several human touch points and 24/7 operations, this is a rather challenging task. To avoid any loop holes in services and responsibilities every outgoing shift in a hotel maintains a handover log for the incoming one. This log is a formal handover of day specials, pending tasks, upcoming challenges and any other important information. 

Till today I maintain a dairy and leave handovers for myself at the end of each day. Often I have tasks that get carried forward for multiple days in a row during a hectic week because they may not be a priority. However, thanks to my daily diary they are never missed or forgotten only to sneak up at the last moment. 

The best part of maintaining a daily dairy is to be able to identify in absolute detail all the small and large accomplishments you have achieved throughout the year at a glance. Drafting a great presentation for an annual performance review could not be made easier.

3. Time Management

To get more done from your day and your life it is important to learn effective Time Management.We often drag projects to take much longer than they should, just by getting too hung up on minor details. I’m guilty of this too because I’ve always been a stickler for details. However, what I’ve come to realize is that it is possible to push past the desire to constantly examine what you’ve done so far. I find it much more productive to move forward and get a larger chunk of work completed while keeping time to revise things there after. A great dish is made when we follow all the steps in the recipe in a timely order, even though it may not have the perfect spice mix in the first go, you can always come back to taste it and make improvements in the end. 

Grouping together tasks that will yield similar results is another effective way to manage time. Set clear goals and break your goals down into discreet steps. Completing the most important tasks first and dealing with non-essentials further down the order will improve your time management skills.

Lastly, utilize your weekends, just a little bit! Don’t waste a weekend by being lazy and doing nothing. Unless you have something better to do, I suggest taking out an hour or two to plan the week ahead or simply completing those tasks which have been carried forwarded in your dairy for several days. This trick can make a huge difference on how the rest of your week plays out.

4. Say No.

Don’t be Jim Carrey from Yes Man! You need to learn how to decline opportunities. You should only take up those commitments that you are certain you can make the time for and truly care about. I understand you want to come across as the helpful team player at your work place and feel the urge to say yes to everything that is asked of you. But when you realize you have more on your plate than you can deal with, you will be stressed, lack focus and as a result, perform poorly. Additionally, identify tasks that do not require your direct involvement and learn to delegate.  

5. Change Negative Habits & Build Better Ones

Identify those bad habits at work. Do you really need those one-hour lunch breaks everyday? Is it really that interesting to kill time on social media during work hours? 

Longer lunch breaks just two days a week are good enough to socialize at work. The other 3 or 4 days of the week, one should be able to cut those breaks into less than half. I understand that boredom can often set into an office environment, but I’ve realized that scheduling short breaks throughout the day helps me stay focused. It’s a great idea to leave your desk every time you feel distracted and take a quick break, go pick up a coffee or simply walk to the pantry for a glass of water. This will not only burn those extra calories but also build a pattern, helping you learn to stay completely focused when seated on your work desk.     

What do you do to stay productive at work? 


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