“Starve your distraction, and feed your focus” ~Neil Patel
Nothing puts the look of dread on an employee’s face faster than talk of a productivity and efficiency effort at the office. However, both of these are necessary for organizations to flourish and continue to become a more Destiny-Driven team. A goal toward greater efficiency is also a terrific way to encourage employees to challenge themselves and one another to growth and development both individually and as a team. Here are some helpful suggestions you may find useful and/or adaptable for your company.
- Set clear goals and priorities: Setting clear goals and priorities is the first part of any endeavor focused on productivity. It might sound obvious, but doing something as simple as making a to-do list and ordering tasks based on their importance and urgency can help boost productivity. Whether you do it “old school” and write it down everyday, keep it in your Notes app on your phone, or use a Kanban Board tool like Trello or Jira, this action will help you stay focused on the most important tasks and avoid getting distracted. It is also a great way to prevent feeling overwhelmed and fights against action paralysis.
- Use time-management techniques: There are time-management techniques you can use to increase your productivity and efficiency. Popular techniques include the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in 25-minute intervals with short breaks in between, and the Eisenhower Matrix, where you prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency.
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a tool that helps individuals prioritize tasks and make better decisions about how to allocate their time and energy. The matrix was named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was known for using this approach to manage his time effectively and prioritize tasks.
The “matrix” consists of four quadrants, each representing a different type of task or activity:
- Urgent and Important: These tasks are critical and require immediate attention. They are often deadline-driven and can have significant consequences if not completed on time. Examples might include emergency situations, urgent work-related tasks, or health-related issues.
- Important but Not Urgent: These tasks are important but do not require immediate attention. They may be related to long-term goals, personal development, or relationship-building. Examples might include planning for the future or investing in personal development.
- Urgent but Not Important: These tasks are urgent but do not have a significant impact on your long-term goals and priorities. They may be distractions or interruptions that prevent you from focusing on more important tasks. Examples might include responding to emails or phone calls that are not critical, attending to minor administrative tasks, or dealing with other people’s urgent requests. Essentially these are often tasks that are important to other people like client’s or team members but aren’t a part of the long-term vision or mission.
- Not Urgent and Not Important: These tasks are neither urgent nor important. They may include activities that are time-wasting or unproductive, such as browsing on social media or watching television.
To use the Eisenhower Matrix, you would list all your tasks or activities and then place them into one of four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. The goal is to prioritize tasks in quadrants 1 and 2, while minimizing or eliminating tasks in quadrants 3 and 4. This helps ensure that you are focusing your time and energy on activities that align with your goals and priorities, rather than simply reacting to urgent or unimportant tasks.
- Reduce distractions: Identify the things that distract you and try to minimize them. For example, turn off notifications on your phone, close unnecessary tabs on the computer, and find a quiet space to work if possible. This will help you stay focused on your work and avoid wasting time.
- Take breaks: Taking breaks may seem counterproductive but it actually can boost your ability to focus and push through to the other side even on a tight deadline. It is essential for maintaining productivity and avoiding burnout. Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge your energy and clear your mind. You can take a short walk, do stretching exercises, or simply take deep breaths.
- Automate and delegate tasks: Look for ways to automate and delegate tasks that are repetitive or time-consuming. This can help you save time and focus on more important tasks. For example, you can use professional project management tools like Trello or Jira to automate certain tasks, or delegate tasks to team members or assistants.
Remember, increasing productivity and efficiency is a process that takes time and effort. By implementing these tips and staying consistent, you can gradually improve your productivity and achieve your goals more efficiently.