Productivity & Organization Principles
Look at your desk; is it a mess? When was the last time you were able to meet your deadlines? Can you honestly say that you’re productive? If you have trouble answering these questions or to get organized, it’s time to revisit some basic productivity and organization principles.
Aside from your occupational skills, productivity is the number one skill you must develop to get things done at work. It has been proven as a key factor in not only how well you perform your job, but also your advancement and compensation.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of tips, gurus, and self-help books on the subject of productivity. I often wonder how much time we spend trying to find easier ways to be productive. In my opinion, it’s just another form of procrastination. I like to follow the 80/20 rule in everything I do. I believe you can reach 80% of your productivity targets by following the 3 tips below. There are probably a hundred more tips that can get you the remaining 20%. But as the title of this blog suggests, let’s get back to the basics – let’s focus on the Big Three.
1# Organize your incoming information.
As information (emails, tasks, notes, etc.) come across your virtual desk, immediately process and categorize. Create lists: tasks, projects, references, update your Calendars, etc. Once processed, you should not have to worry about where you put information. The messy desk syndrome should be gone! A clean desk (even a virtual one) leads to a clear and stress-free mind.
If you need to process a lot of emails, process them with a productivity app like IQTELL and connect all your emails to tasks, calendars events, files and other reference materials. Learning to be more organized and productive is not a sprint, it’s a marathon; Jerry Seinfeld has an awesome productivity hack that you can use to create your new habit.
2# Review, Review and then Review some more.
A word of caution, inconsistency in Tip #1 will set you back. Inconsistency with this Tip will break you. It may seem ancillary, but, in my opinion and experience, it’s what separates success from failure … So always review you lists.
You are trying to create a method that will gradually improve your productivity. It will require changing your current habits, and in order to make it work, you’ll have to trust your new system. Many people jump from one system to another because they simply don’t trust it. Most people don’t “trust” their work habits because they are constantly running around, putting out fires, and are always in a constant state of stress.
Now imagine feeling that you are always working on the right task, never feeling as if you are forgetting something. It changes the whole ball game, right? You still may be putting out fires, and working long hours. But, you do so knowing that you are being efficient and effective. You are simply doing what needs to be done.
This all comes from the review process. Your to-do list is just as long, but since you do your review (daily, weekly, and monthly); you are making a conscious decision as to where to focus your energy and effort. You are not wasting time on non-value add activities. You are not stressed about things you can do nothing about. You are not stressed about “balls dropping” or “things falling between the cracks”. Why? Because, every review (daily, week, monthly), you are evaluating what needs to be done, and deciding based on your objectives and goals what you will do. This may seem trivial but this exercise continuously instills the feeling of control in your day-to-day life.
3# Be Proactive!
Proactive vs. Reactive is all about control. When we are reactive, we give away control; someone or something is dictating what and when things need to be done. Of course, we all have to react to extenuating circumstances and/or new demands from our boss. But instead of making excuses as you read this, go back to the 80/20 rule. I’m willing to bet the 80% of what you need to get done at work, you can be proactive about.
If you see that you can do something, do it, don’t procrastinate. Most likely, you are thinking about it, wondering when someone will notice it. There’s a reason why your brain identifies it as “unfinished”…it’s waiting for you, it’s circling constantly in your brain. It may even keep you up at night making you far less productive the next day.
Think about it this way, by being proactive, you become your own boss in away. You are identifying tasks that need to be done and are taking control. As an added bonus, your employer will love it when you communicate your initiatives. Being proactive is always ranked in the top five character traits employers look for.
You can see that these three tips are not rocket science. As I mentioned at the start, these are the basics to get organized. But they’ll get you 80% of the way there! And remember…it’s a marathon; you must do it every day: Organize, Review, and be Proactive.
I’m Haim Pekel, IQTELL’s Marketing Director. I’d like to invite you to join us on our GTD app to be a part of our early beta user group. As a beta user on our Getting Things Done App you’ll be a part of a highly communicative community supported by a team of GTD experts who love what they do!…Contact us on our Google+ account if you’d like an app grand tour!