There is an age-old adage that being productive means looking for a way to make more hours in a day.
However, we want to debunk this claim. As a manager, you don’t want to start obsessing over schedules and the lack of time.
It’s a poor approach that can transfer negatively to your employees. Take a look below for some of the best productivity practices that also eliminate the stress of not having enough hours in the day. Make the best use of the time you already have.
7 Best Productivity Tips Every Manager Should Know
1# Prioritize Smarter
We all want to work smarter, not harder. More often than not, that entails knowing your priorities and then arranging the schedules according to them.
To recognize your priorities, think about your overarching goals. What is it that you wish to achieve? How can you get to it?
Let’s say that you need to have a certain number of social media followers by the end of the month. You break down the tasks for this goal, and order them according to their importance. Every other task needs to fall into the background.
Without breaking down your goals, you can’t know for certain what will move you towards that goal, and what will lead you away.
2# Do a Time Assessment
What you want to do is make an office-wide time assessment (for yourself and your team). This can help you identify:
- Time wasted on unnecessary breaks or social media;
- Which hours are your most productive;
- How your work hours are spent realistically.
The way to go about this is to get software that tracks time and forms reports. Then, you start logging everything you do throughout the day, no matter how small and mundane it may seem. There are plenty of ways to track time, so use the one that works best for you.
After a week, look at the report. What can you learn from the data?
Which tasks were prioritized? Which ones took longer than expected?
Make those weekly reports your learning material for productivity improvement.
3# Recognize & Eliminate Half-Work
Half-work can be considered any kind of work you do with half a mind. While typing a report, you get an email you “must” reply to, immediately. Then an employee contacts you about a small issue they would like your opinion on now.
Or, you have a phone call with your friend as you grocery shop – effectively spending more time roaming aimlessly through the aisles.
The more things you do, the less you are engaged in that one primary task.
Identify the most common pitfalls that suck away your work time. Then commit to ignoring them: phone-checking, emailing, calls, social media, etc. Block off a specific time frame for one task only. Everything else should be white noise.
4# Cure Perfectionism With a “Fail Faster” Attitude
We often mistake being unproductive with being lazy. When in fact, a lot of people will be so enveloped in doing a task perfectly, they’ll be too afraid to start it.
So if you notice this phenomenon, start applying the “fail faster” method. Learn (and later teach), that it is often best to start a task and work on it, despite the mistakes.
A meeting report can be riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes. But only if it’s written will you be able to correct it and bring it to perfection.
Instill the idea that small mistakes are good. They let us reach perfection much faster than sitting and planning all day.
5# Find your “zone” and organize around it
Have you ever noticed that some people work extremely well until lunchtime, and then get low on energy, while others spring to life two hours before closing?
This happens because we all have an internal clock that works differently for everyone. Some are peak performers in the morning, while others work best in the evening. However, we’re not advising you to completely admonish the traditional work hours.
Instead, track your schedule daily. And when the day is done, figure out which tasks were easier for you, and which ones took significantly more time. Pay attention to the time of day. Switch up your schedule until you find that “zone”.
This will help you learn exactly how your internal clock works. And as a result, you’ll be able to schedule better and be more productive.
You can put the most important tasks during peak hours, and leave the smaller ones for when you feel out of momentum.
6# Try the “18-Minute” Technique
This technique was popularized by Peter Bregman, and it goes as follows:
- Plan for the Day – 5 minutes
- Refocus – 1 minute per hour
- Review – 5 minutes
The idea is to spend 18 minutes a day actively working on your productivity.
In the first step, you will set aside five minutes to plan out your day – but plan it by defining what should happen to make the day successful. Which tasks need to be done to make you feel productive at the end of the day? Then write them into your schedule.
In the second step, during your eight hours of work, you’ll devote a minute of every hour to refocusing. That means reassessing how you’ve spent the last hour, and if it was productive at all. Then, use that information to decide on the next hour. Micromanaging your time in this way will ensure you stay on the right track, even if you slip up.
In the third step, you review the entire day. Analyzing your work you get to see where the mistakes happen. In turn, you know how to improve upon them.
This method instills a powerful habit. A ritual of constant work on your productivity which can work better than any new skill or app.
7# Get Used to Leaving Buffer Time
Speaking of good habits, make it a rule of thumb to leave some empty space between your tasks.
The benefit is simple – if you start a new task without clearing your mind of the old one, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. Think of it as a “mental palate cleansing”.
Give yourself some time to breathe after a task. Engage in a conversation, clean up your desk, walk to the kitchen and wash your cup, or make some coffee. Allow your brain to process what it has just finished, so it can seamlessly adapt to a new task.
When it comes to productivity in a managerial position, a lot of it comes down to organization, as we’ve seen. It’s about analyzing daily habits, our own body’s rhythm, and noticing little faults in our workflow that can be repurposed for productivity boosts.
What stands out as important is knowing how to prioritize, tracking your time, analyzing your schedule and improving upon it. It’s about managing time better, rather than making more of it.
You May Like To Read:
- How to Set Up Your Home Office For Perfect Productivity
- 10 Ideas for Raising Productivity Level Among Employees
- 13 Best Productivity Tools That You Must Definitely Use
Author Bio: Nikola Radojcin is a productivity researcher who focuses on exploring new time management techniques. He works at Clockify where he makes sure his co-workers utilize time in the best way possible.