People also believe that increasing efficiency would be exhausting. They assume that in order to achieve their goals, they would have to work constantly and at full potential. In fact, the opposite is true. The more productive you are, the more quickly you can complete your tasks. That means you’ll have more time to do the things that are important to you. As a result, you will be happier and more refreshed, allowing you to be more productive.
In his book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Cut Your Hours, Robert C. Pozen explains how we can get into this productive loop. It’s just about keeping things easy. It’s all about cultivating a Zen sense of busyness, putting in minimum effort for full performance.
When you’re drowning in work, planning ahead, whether for next year, next month, or even next week, can be a daunting challenge. Looking further down the road, on the other hand, would pay off handsomely in the long run. Start planning your work to help you think more long-term. To begin prioritizing, break down tasks into goals, priorities, and deadlines. It’s a smart idea to split tasks into groups based on how long they take to complete.
The time it takes to achieve your goals varies between three and twenty-four months. Finally, milestones are something that takes three months or less to complete, such as writing progress reports or completing a portion of a major project. Both objectives and goals are essential. After all, if you don’t concentrate on these foundational activities, you’ll never achieve your wider career objectives.
However, it’s also important to prioritize goals, priorities, and deadlines that both you and your boss agree on. You can start by focusing on the goals that both you and your boss want to achieve; after that, you can move on to the tasks that only concern you.
Once you’ve separated your duties, it’s time to decide on your top priorities, or the projects that will take up the bulk of your time. To make sure you’re doing things correctly, keep track of your work days and how you spend your time.
You can find that you spend a lot of time on tasks that have nothing to do with your goals or objectives. Maybe you’re attending too many internal meetings and not prioritizing the most important ones.
Your success is determined by how you distribute your time, which brings us to another issue: procrastination. Have you ever been faced with a mountain of work and no idea where to begin? Situations like this can be paralyzing, so knowing how to handle them is important.
Breaking down your tasks into smaller goals for which you can set mini-deadlines is one strategy. After all, if you’re like other people, you won’t start working until the pressure builds.
Setting smaller deadlines that divide tasks into more manageable chunks is a safer solution than waiting until the last minute to churn out a messy piece of caffeine-fueled work. You’ll be able to complete your work step by step, well ahead of schedule.
When using this method, make sure the deadlines are spaced out evenly to avoid making them pile up at the end. For example, suppose you have four weeks to write a 6,000-word paper. Your deadlines could be to write 2,000 words per week for the first three weeks, then proofread and change in the final week.
From there, you will keep yourself accountable by sharing your deadlines with your supervisor, which adds a layer of pressure and accountability. For example, you might tell your boss that you’re working on a competitor study and that you’ve divided the project into four chapters. You could then tell you’ll start on Monday and have the report in her inbox by Friday. You might also create a calendar event to which your boss is invited so that she is reminded of the deadline.
Since you don’t want to disappoint your boss, taking this method ensures that you keep your commitments. Know, however, that rewarding yourself after reaching a deadline is important. So reward yourself with a nice meal or a good book and let yourself know how well you’ve done.
You’ve probably spent so much time on small, basic tasks that you never got around to finishing the tasks that really mattered at some point. That is why, while working, it is important to get the smaller parts out of the way first.
After all, wasting time and patience on a minor, low-priority assignment is a waste of both time and patience. So, rather than devoting a lot of time to work that isn’t critical, do the basic stuff quickly to free up time for the more important tasks.
The OHIO theory, also known as “Just Handle it Once,” is a good solution here. Let’s say you get an invitation to a conference via email. You skim through the email and then put it aside. Three days later, you recall receiving the message but not the sender’s name. As a result, you waste a significant amount of time scrolling through your inbox. After that, you’ll have to read it all over again, wasting even more time!
If you used the OHIO theory, on the other hand, you’d check if the date was available and the subject was intriguing before making a decision. Another way to progress with your job is to resist the urge to be flawless when it comes to low-priority activities. Keep in mind that not everything has to be perfect. Since your employer will see and judge your top-level job, you can save this privilege for it.
Nobody will be happy if you waste a lot of time responding to irrelevant emails, so treat them as such: get through them quickly and move on to the important things.
Check out my related post: How can you avoid the productivity slide?