What if I told you there was a way to significantly increase your productivity and what you achieved in a day – a method that was based on working smarter, not harder – would you be interested? Would you like to see even more output for the effort you’re putting in? The sense of achievement at the end of the week when you look back and realise what you have achieved will be amazing.
You can – by using one very simple technique. Don’t be deceived by its simplicity though – this technique is used by the world’s most successful business people on a daily basis and in fact, for many businesses it is an integral part of their culture – how they do things.
Here it is….
Set a deadline.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams
It sounds blindingly obvious right? But how often do you set mini-deadlines for yourself throughout the day? – Or, do you just find one task morphing into another, mixing with a few more and becoming a big unproductive mess of several things being ‘on the go’ at once?
Try this, next time you have a task to complete – set yourself a deadline – no matter what the task is. For example, if you have an article to write, give yourself an hour to complete it. You’ll be amazed at how powerful your focus becomes once you know you have a set time to complete something. This one simple trick alone has the power to significantly improve your productivity and will do wonders for your efficiency and clarity of mind.
Then, when you’ve set your deadline, focus on your task 100%, close your email programs and take the phone off the hook while you commit wholeheartedly to meeting your deadline.
Limited time doesn’t mean limited capacity
Also, don’t think that just because you’ve limited the amount of time you’ve given yourself to finish the task you’ll be restricted in any other way (for example, diminished creativity). In fact, many artists and creative people believe they work better with a deadline looming, than when they have unlimited time up their sleeves.
A team exercise
Try this… next time you’ve got an operational challenge, put it to half of your team as a problem to solve and give them 15 to 25 minutes to come up with as many creative solutions as possible.
And for then for the rest of the team, just ask them to come back to you with ideas when they’re ready – suggest that they think about solutions as they’re working throughout the day and at the end of say, two weeks, compare the two problems’ responses.
You’ll most likely get far more creative solutions in the first instance when they had a deadline, than when they were able to get back to you at their leisure.
Giving yourself deadlines forces you to quit procrastinating, ditch your excuses and just jump right in and DO IT! What could be more productive than that?
It is much easier to be focussed when you have someone to hold you accountable. So share your deadline with someone who will keep you on task. You could share what you intend to have done today with your team at a start up meeting – this way you are accountable to the entire team.
Consider having a lock down policy at your work place. Have a sign – “In Lock Down” to be displayed when a team member is working to a deadline and needs to stay focussed and work uninterrupted. Ensure the team are on board with this concept and understand when it should be used.
Developing productive behaviours and learning about tools to get the best return on the time invested each day is the focus of our PRODUCTIVITY by DESIGN workshops.