Productivity Tips for Leaders | BridgeBetween.com

Essential Productivity Tips for Leaders

Working your way toward sustained success.

You were not born productive or with a manual filled with productivity tips for leaders. If anything, most of us spent the better part of our youths being the opposite. Productivity is learned and if it’s a skill that you haven’t quite mastered yet, it’s not a hopeless ideal!

There are some essential things you can do to be more productive in your day to day and as a leader, modeling the kind of attitude and behavior that you’ll no doubt want to see in your team.

After all, the old saying: “Time is money” has a ring of truth to it, doesn’t it? Wasting time ultimately wastes money, along with other resources along the way, so eliminating as much waste as you can is essential.

Have clear goals

This can’t be overstated: if you don’t have a clear vision as to what the end goal is, you will not be able to find a productive path to get there. Once your vision is clear, you can establish the tasks that need to be taken to achieve said goal.

It might seem redundant to say that you need to prioritize your tasks, in addition to knowing your end goal, but it bears repeating. Team members and leaders alike can end up dithering and flailing around in a multi-tasking quagmire, and ultimately not being very productive, if they aren’t sure where to begin.

Don’t forget, too, that short term (weekly/daily) goal planning is just as important: it will help you with prioritizing the tasks at hand.

In line with clear goals is the ability to refuse tasks. You have to say no sometimes. If you are constantly taking on meetings, speaking engagements and in general tasks that aren’t related to the goals you’ve set out, your productivity will get bogged down from going in too many directions at once.
 

L.I.F.E. @ A GLANCE PLANNER: Organize your priorities and invest your time wisely.

 

Productivity isn’t about time in the chair

Most leaders who have understood the principles of effective team management have long gone past the point where they equate time in the chair with productivity, in evaluating their team members.

The same applies to you, as a leader. Being the first into the office and the last to leave does not make you productive and it doesn’t really serve to show your team members an effective method to achieve productivity.

A good way to maximize your time is to block off time where you can’t be reached. Notifiers can become the ultimate distraction. Turn the phone to ‘do not disturb’, block the time on your calendar for everyone else to see… disconnect. As a leader, you can’t get away with it everyday, but once in awhile, it’s a great way to get on top of a runaway list of tasks.

Know yourself

Are you more productive in the early morning? Late at night? Right around noon? Do you think better after a workout? Make sure you block off time in your schedule during those productive times, so that you can get the work done that requires a lot of intensive thinking.

Schedule the more routine tasks—like answering emails—for when you’re at a lower point on your productivity scale. A lot of people find that to be middle of the afternoon but to each their own!

TIP: Many high level executives avoid email first thing in the morning. You can get really bogged down in the details of things that you actually don’t even need to be involved in, losing out on what is a highly productive time for most people.

Don’t be afraid to take a break if you need it: slogging through tasks when you’re overtired and undernourished isn’t going to result in good work. This too is a good behavior to model for your team members: if you feel okay taking a break now and again, they will be too.

Choose the tools—and team—that work for you

Some people swear by their phone calendars or apps designed to remind you about everything. Others like to kick it old school and rely on pen and paper (hint: I’m more the latter!) Use what tools work for you, not what’s ‘in’ or ‘trending’!

Having the right team is a major factor in personal productivity as a leader. It’s not about having people who can run with the job without even talking to you: it’s about trust. If you know they can get something done, you will feel comfortable relinquishing the task to them, instead of micromanaging it and losing out on productivity. It’s a win-win too because a team member who feels nurtured but not hovered over will respond with outstanding effort.

Confront the task you hate the most first

Getting rid of the most daunting task first sets the tone for the rest of your day. You can envision it being smoother and more productive if you get rid of the one thing that’s been bugging you or dragging on for a while. A lot about being productive is about mindset. Free your mind from something that was getting between you and creativity and you will see your productivity levels skyrocket!

 

An essential element to productivity is knowing what’s happening today, tomorrow and in the not so distant future. It’s easier to prioritize if you know what’s coming down the pipeline, and a tool like the L.I.F.E. @ a Glance Planner will help you drive your tasks towards your end goal by “Living In Focus Everyday”.

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managing your energy photo Shannon Cassidy

Managing Your Energy

When you think of energy management, you might think of this standard definition: “Energy management is planning and operation of energy production and energy consumption units.”

But what about energy management in people?

A human’s capacity for energy is finite; a fact that many of us ignore. We work for long hours, telling ourselves that as long as we have caffeine or motivation, our energy will go on and on.

It won’t.

To achieve maximum productivity, you must manage your energy. That’s the message of Allison Green Schoop, associate strategy director at global design firm frog.

So how do you manage your energy? Look at it as sprints and recovery. We all know we are going to have big sprints — that’s what makes pursuing a project or business so exciting. The balance between sprints and recovery is key in being your most productive.

To Manage the Sprints:

Monitor your energy levels. We all have different internal rhythms: Some of us are night owls, while others’ brains shut down after 10 p.m. To find out what time of day your energy levels are at their peak, try setting your smartphone to beep every hour and note what you’re doing, how your energy is and what might have affected it, such as whether you just ate a huge, carb-heavy lunch. At the end of a week, assess your notes and look for patterns.

Don’t force it. Once you know your natural energy rhythms, try to honor them. If you experience a 3 p.m. slump every day, for example, trying to power through it will do more harm than good. You won’t be working efficiently, your results will be poor, and you’ll drain even more energy from your mind and body. Instead, during a slump time, try taking a quick walk or doing stretches in your office.

Adjust accordingly. You don’t have to be a slave to your energy levels, of course. Test different ways of energizing yourself, such as exercising, eating different foods, getting lots of water or sleeping more to find out what works best for you. One of my friends finally motivated herself to work out every morning when she realized that doing so eliminated the 3 p.m. slump that had plagued her for years.

To Make Room for Recovery:

Schedule it. No matter whether or not you think you need a break, schedule fun or relaxation activities in advance and stick to them.

Double the break you think you need. You might say, “Sure, I’ll take a break this evening— I’ll give myself a whole hour off!” Not good enough. Whatever the break you think you need, double it. You are most likely underestimating the toll that all of your hard work is taking on your body and mind — even if you’re having fun.

Enlist family and friends. If you schedule a weekend get-away with family or friends, you’ll have no excuse but to unplug. Family and friends can be great accountability buddies for taking the breaks you need.

Break down your biggest goals into achievable, measurable chunks and reward yourself often! For every day that you make a massive to-do list, add a “reward” item at the end that brings you joy.

Sources:

http://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/maximize-productivity-manage-energy.html

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/7-ways-to-manage-your-energy-for-optimum-productivity/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2011/05/30/5-tips-for-managing-your-energy-not-your-time/#27e509816c4a

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Three Simple Ways to Increase Productivity

As individuals, it is our responsibility to do a good job at work. Productivity is a big factor in who is selected for certain assignments as well as who gets promoted up the chain of command. This matters because most of us are looking for new challenges and indeed for more money and benefits. There are some ways to increase your personal productivity at work in a big way.

Prepare The Night Before

A big struggle for many is getting to work in a mood that is conducive to being productive. In a world where there is so much expected of us, getting enough sleep often gets pushed to the back burner. People like to believe that they can push off sleep and that it won’t have an impact on them. Those people are mistaken. Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to work success.

Schedule Yourself Appropriately

Most workers have the misguided notion that they can avoid planning out their days. They think that they can simply tackle tasks as they come along. This is a bad idea to have. Apcevent.com suggests to make “appointments” with your work. Block out time on your calendar daily to work on specific projects or assignments. Start with the end in mind. Once you know how long a task will take, work backwards from the end of your day to see where to best allocate time for that particular task. Set a time every week to stay on top of your documents’ organization, to clean out files and emails before your storage gets unmanageable.

The better categorized your day is, the more that you accomplish throughout the day.digital distraction interruption work productivity bridge between

Lower The Amount Of Interruptions

The number of interruptions that can face a worker are at an all time high. There are the co-workers popping in to say something, the e-mails flying in at a rapid pace, and the websites that are just begging you to take a look at a quick video or article. Minimizing these distractions is a key way to accomplish the things that you have set out for yourself.

Contact us to learn more about how to accomplish tasks you have set out for yourself through the day and increase your productivity at work. We’re curious…which type of interruption at your work is hardest to avoid?

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Five Tips to Take Your Productivity to the Next Level

In life, you want every advantage you can get. One of those advantages comes from your personal level of productivity. These five tips will help you discover a new, higher level of productivity based on your values.

energy soul man suit

  • Always add value. Deciding what to do each day can be difficult, doubly so when there are more things to do. Start each day by thinking about which of your tasks adds value to your life and goals. If there is something on the list that doesn’t, cross it off and forget it.
  • Save your energy. Too often do people put too many tasks on their lists. Save your energy by putting only 3 to 5 things on your list and concentrating on getting those done. Concentrating on fewer tasks actually gives you the energy to see them through to the end.
  • Do one more task for you. Who said life has to be all about work? After you get your few tasks done, add one more for yourself that aligns with your interests. If you’re doing it right, your interests will overlap your values and it won’t feel like work anyway.
  • Have a system. According to Natasha Vorompiova, a professional systematizer for corporates and individuals, creating a system for everything can make the difference between running in place and always moving forward. The reason why it works is because you can fall back on the system you’ve created when something inevitably comes up unexpectedly.
  • Embrace technology when needed. In today’s world technology is front, center, and often on the peripherals of everything we do. Why not make it easier on yourself by using technology which syncs your tasks from one platform to another? Startup entrepreneurs at Insanitek Research and Development highly recommend Zapier for it’s ability to cut across platforms to sync tasks no matter what you are doing.

Productivity should not be a word that saps your energy and creativity. It should be a word that makes you excited to get up in the morning to see what you can do. We can help you with that  contact us. We’re listening!

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5 Ways to Increase Productivity and Creativity

Do you ever wonder: what sets apart the people who are ultra-achievers and those who just make a living? Do they work harder? Put in longer hours? Are they just born with something that everyone else doesn’t have? As it turns out, there are a few tricks for kick-starting your creativity and being more productive at work. Try these techniques for a more successful career — and life.Old Way New Way Habits BB bright watermark

Plan Free Time

Ironically, the most productive creatives aren’t just workaholics. Yes, they put in their fair share of time at the office, but these people also give their minds and bodies free time. Time not spent trying to force productivity is the time when your mind is allowed to wander. During these times is when most creative people come up with their best ideas. Schedule some “you” time. Enjoy a long walk, or bike ride, or just sit somewhere you enjoy the view and let your mind meander where it wishes. You’ll definitely see the results back at work.

Create Environmental Triggers

A large factor that derails creative thought is the difficulty people often have switching tasks. Most workers go through the day half-engaged mentally in whatever they are doing, because they haven’t learned to establish clear boundaries between their tasks. For instance, have you ever arrived at work still thinking about a situation at home? Do you go home with work on your mind? Are you distracted during meetings with what’s sitting on your desk?

Learn to create environmental triggers to signal to your mind that it’s time to focus on a specific task. For example, only allow yourself to indulge in that morning bagel after you’re engaged in morning emails, or schedule snack time right before heading to the afternoon meeting.

Control Distractions

In an effort to be available and approachable, many workers don’t set “off limits” time for phone calls, answering emails, or allowing visitors into the office. The most productive and creative workers learn to schedule times for these interruptions, and also set “off limits” times when no one is allowed to distract them. This keeps you from losing those wonderful ideas that you always have right before a coworker comes in to ask about the daily reports — the ideas you are never able to recapture and implement.

Spend Time Reading and Watching Quality Programming

Another factor separating the highly productive, creative people and everyone else is the way they spend their free time. After a mentally exhausting day, it’s tempting to turn on a low-key sitcom and just relax. However, highly creative people make time for reading books and watching quality programming, such as documentaries. When it’s time to solve a problem or come up with a great idea, the people who have invested time in learning have more information stored with which to develop a smart solution.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Most people read magazines about topics they enjoy, talk only to people with which they share common interests, and thereby expose themselves to a limited amount of knowledge. People who are creatively productive take time to develop knowledge on a wide variety of topics. Pick up a book or magazine about a sport or hobby you know nothing about. Talk to someone who comes from an entirely different background than you. Expose yourself to as many subjects and viewpoints as possible, and you’ll see your productivity and creativity soar as a result.

Would you like to learn more about becoming a highly productive and brilliantly creative worker? Want to see more success in your future? Contact us to motivate and empower you and your staff.

Sources:

http://www.learnvest.com/2012/12/how-to-improve-your-creativity-and-productivity/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awake-the-wheel/201005/7-ways-enhance-focus-creativity-productivity-and-performance

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