One of my most read & shared posts ever is 11 Differences between Busy People and Productive People. Productivity is clearly a theme which resonates with you, my favorite reader.
Robert Pozen and Kevin Downey write about 3 keys to productivity over at Harvard Business Review. They share a summary of their work on personal productivity with over 20,000 professionals: What Makes Some People More Productive Than Others
Here’s what Robert & Kevin learnt about Productive People
If you want to become more productive, you should develop an array of specific habits.
Focus on what’s Important
First, plan your work based on your top priorities, and then act with a definite objective.
- Revise your daily schedule the night before to emphasize your priorities. Next to each appointment on your calendar, jot down your objectives for it.
- Send out a detailed agenda to all participants in advance of any meeting.
- When embarking on large projects, sketch out preliminary conclusions as soon as possible.
- Before reading any length material, identify your specific purpose for it.
- Before writing anything of length, compose an outline with a logical order to help you stay on track.
Develop the Ability to Focus
Second, develop effective techniques for managing the overload of information and tasks.
- Make daily processes, like getting dressed or eating breakfast, into routines so you don’t spend time thinking about them.
- Leave time in your daily schedule to deal with emergencies and unplanned events.
- Check the screens on your devices once per hour, instead of every few minutes.
- Skip over the majority of your messages by looking at the subject and sender.
- Break large projects into pieces and reward yourself for completing each piece.
- Delegate to others, if feasible, tasks that do not further your top priorities.
Engage with the People, not just the Tasks
Third, understand the needs of your colleagues for short meetings, responsive communications, and clear directions.
- Limit the time for any meeting to 90 minutes at most, but preferably less. End every meeting by delineating the next steps and responsibility for those steps.
- Respond right away to messages from people who are important to you.
- To capture an audience’s attention, speak from a few notes, rather than reading a prepared text.
- Establish clear objectives and success metrics for any team efforts.
- To improve your team’s performance, institute procedures to prevent future mistakes, instead of playing the blame game.
How’s your Productivity?
How do you rate yourself on these 3 areas? What is your Achilles Heel when it comes to productivity?