It’s time to mull over just how much time we invariably spend each day on uncharted occurrences and seemingly ‘urgent’ tasks and ‘important’ meetings – all at the loss of being productive by doing the work for which we actually are in office!
This happens because majority of us tend to ‘react’ rather than ‘respond’ to circumstances. This stems from lack of being an effective planner. This leaves you wide open to being drawn to uncalled-for outside influences, be it an email with ‘urgent’ mentioned in its subject line, an unnecessary impromptu meeting request, or a Skype message popping up on your laptop screen.
Take control! Ponder where you stand vis-à-vis your KPIs / KRAs which actually make up your end-goals from when you began your week to where you stand today. If you have a hard time ascertaining what you have been doing in coming closer to them then you’re probably being reactive at your workplace instead of working deliberately.
Set yourself a principle of efficiency: Decide the three most important tasks you wish to accomplish by the end of your work day, before you start work each day – tasks which have a genuine impact on your productivity and goals.
But first, how do you define productivity? If you’re one of those who feel striking off the maximum number of tasks from your checklist for the day makes you productive you may be wrong!
Productivity isn’t about volume; it is about identifying and doing the right things which contribute to your goals, the very purpose of why you actually are in office.
Now, the best way to adopt this axiom to make it a part of your life is by:
- Plan beforehand, and stick to it: If you do not do so, chances are the moment you enter office, and/or switch-on your laptop you would start becoming inundated with hundreds of things and get into a reactive mode. So, be deliberate and jot down the top three tasks you have decided would get your undivided attention and which you wish to accomplish by the end of the work day.
- Be flexible with the approach: You may find you’ve rolled up all three tasks by mid-day, or, you may yet find yourself stuck with task no. 1 as the day approaches closure. That’s okay, it happens. The thing to do is to be flexible with yourself as far as these three tasks are concerned. In case you find you’ve completed all three earlier than expected, come up with another task for the day and get into it. If some task remains unaccomplished, chart it for the next day. But if you keep off from accomplishing it for several days than it means you must either drop it or delegate it to someone else.
- React only if absolutely required: No matter how carefully we plan, we are bound to address certain matters out of the blue at times. In such cases do either of the following quickly: Address the task; schedule it for later in the day, or delegate it.
- Utilize your ‘peak performance time’: We all feel especially energetic, both physically and mentally during certain times of the day. Make sure you chart your three tasks based on this to achieve maximum efficiency.
- Utilize the ‘slack-in’ periods: It’s unadvisable to work on tasks which require your complete attention for very long periods at a stretch. For such ‘breather’ periods, delve into tasks which are not urgent (such as answering emails, responding to calls etc.) but which still need to be done anyway. This, in fact, makes you more productive and helps achieving the axiom of 3.
Give the axiom of 3 a shot, and let me know the results!