It’s the end of the day, and instead of feeling accomplished, you feel defeated. Ever stop to wonder why? You look back at all the emails you read and replied to, all the calls you answered and made. Yet, even with all the tasks you completed, there’s still that nagging feeling you can’t shake—the feeling that you’ve been unproductive.
More often than not, this sentiment can be the result of starting your day in response mode: the feeling that your time's been hijacked by what other people think you should do. It’s annoying, right? Whether or not you’ve prioritized your day according to goals you’ve set before, success is determined by actions—by those you do, but more so by those you don’t do.
Get Realistic With Your Boundaries.
Sometimes saying “no” is the right way to go. In the same way you can’t effectively run while tying your shoes, completing multiple tasks at once demands that we choose which ones we say “yes” to first. Ultimately, long term consequences determine our priorities for us, but thinking in terms of when to say “no” can help you with time management throughout your day. Regain control of your day with the following five tips!
1) Come in early to avoid distraction. List your priorities before the day begins. It’s much easier to stay on track if you have a plan of action.
2) Designate times to check your email and voicemail. Notifications can rob you of your focus, especially if you’re waiting for a reply. Plan to review your messages at certain times in the day. Let others know the best times to reach you.
3) Take time to think. You’re doing it all day, sure, but using your brain under normal operating conditions is different from creative thinking and planning for the future. Make sure you spend time to focus on the bigger picture.
4) Limit yourself to an 8-hour work day. And by extension, schedule your time accordingly. Breaking up your day into manageable blocks of time encourages you to be more effective.
5) Leave room for breaks. Whether you’re taking 30-seconds to look away from your screen or fifteen minutes to engage in conversation with your team, breaks are critical in keeping us energized and sharp to the task at hand.
Business Insider's Nir Eyal explains, “For a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later on.”
The Bare Necessities: What You Might Have Overlooked.
Roy E. Disney, longtime senior executive for The Walt Disney Company, said, “It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” Clarifying these values helps to turbocharge your productivity in ways not often considered. Your values are the guiding principles you live by both at home and at work, and they affect your daily decision-making. Once you’ve clearly defined what you value most, communicate it with your team. This sets the benchmark for aligning your team’s productivity to the bigger picture.
Successful productivity begins after recognizing ways in which values drive efficiency (which is why number 3 is especially important). Don’t forget: People are your most valuable assets. It’s important that their values align with the company goals you’ve set, too. Otherwise, their trust in you diminishes and they won’t effectively take you where you’re wanting to go. Simply put, keep the hive in mind.
In closing, optimum productivity can not only be achieved by focusing on priorities, but by managing your time effectively. All in all, values are what drive people to success, so make sure the work performed by you and your team is productive and valuable, too.