Productivity. Wait - do not roll your eyes yet, we know it is a word that elicits about the same amount of excitement as "work." However, whether it is furthering your career, getting your household in order or organizing an event; productivity is the key to your task accomplishing success.
According to a survey conducted by Salary.com, 89% of Americans reportedly felt as though they wasted at least 30 minutes a day at work being unproductive. That is 30 minutes that is consciously being counted as lack of productivity, imagine the amount of time that is unproductive and you do not realize it? For example, your weekly staff meeting starts by catching up on the weekend and the meeting runs 15 minutes behind. Or, you are researching the best desserts to serve at a cocktail party and remember you needed to purchase shoes for the event. Not productive behavior, but how harmful could spending a few clicks oggling some Jimmy Choos be?
It's more harmful to your time management than you think. And if your solution is a few extra almond milk triple espresso lattes -- guilty as charged -- to make up for lost time, you won’t get any closer to reaching peak productivity levels today.
Staying on task and avoiding distraction is harder to accomplish than your actual work, especially in the digital age. Bring back that euphoric feeling of a job well done and done on time with your productivity checklist.
The Tougher the Task, the Longer it Takes
Call it a coping mechanism, it seems that when faced with a difficult or challenging task, we spend the longest amount of wasted time on it. Productive people give priority to their toughest task. According to bestselling author, Brian Tracy in Eat That Frog! you should put the tough task on the top of your list so you will end up, "freeing mental energy" that otherwise would be inefficiently spent worrying about the task all day.
Especially in a work setting, odds are, your tasks involve co-workers or clients that you will rely on and they will rely on you to complete the task. Time not well spent will be copious amounts of emails and phone calls asking questions while knee-deep in the task. Time well spent is getting ahead of the task and meeting as a group to build consensus, anticipate roles and responsibilities and create benchmarks. What is the value-proposition of the task and how are we getting there? You will know when a project’s finally met its objective once that pre-determined proposition is solved.
Perfection Kills Productivity
If you are a Shark Tank fan, you may have silently cheered as "Shark" Mark Cuban explains to entrepreneurs frequently a similar concept. Perfect time, perfect result, perfect looking or sounding -- it just might not get there. Successful people understand this, and don’t use their perfectionism substitute for why something did not work. You might never find the perfect time to host that charity event, don't prevent yourself from finding the time. The memo you have spent hours on could also be formatted in a different voice, redo the whole thing to make it perfect? Your version of perfect today could change tomorrow and be unnecessary to successfully reach your goal. Mediocrity is not the answer, however, great enough is.
They Reflect on Mistakes and Grow
In the best-selling book, Mindsets, author Carol Dweck discusses how we react to a new task once we have "failed." If a task you had completed in the past did not result in the success you had hoped for, what happens next? "When faced with a challenge, overcoming fear, or coming back from a 'failure,' successful people are focused on growth more than they fixate on the outcome of failure." Quite simply, move on and rock the next challenge in your path.
The 80/20 Rule
Get ready for a reality check -- one not provided by Bravo! 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results. If you are taking 16 hours to complete a task that should take half that time, eliminate the missing 8 hours that are ruining your productivity. How? There are things that don’t matter. Harsh, we know. They might matter in a different scenario, but for the task at hand, determine what really matters to the success of completing. Eliminate the rest. Break your next project down into steps and systematically remove tasks that just don't matter until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.