Why is it that some people manage to balance a veritable heaped smorgasbord of items on their workday to-do list – items that are both varied and plentiful – whilst others appear to topple and sway under the weight?
The answer lies in their productivity; the amount that they are able to achieve in their working day or week. I’m sure we all know a person like this, the personification of the old saying ‘if you have a job that needs doing, give it to the busiest person you know’.
These productive people appear to balance their extensive workload with enviable ease, moving from one task to the next fluidly whilst maintaining overall focus on the bigger picture. So what are the tips from highly productive people that enable them to function so effectively?
Here are the 5 Ds of productivity which will have you juggling professionally in no time:
Setting aside time each day for specific activities can aid productivity enormously. For example, 30 minutes on emails first thing, 60 minutes to write a presentation, trains the mind to think in terms of completing activities in shorter blocks of time; you no longer think ‘I have all day to complete this activity’ rather ‘I have 30 minutes to allocate to this particular task’. If you complete your task before your allotted time is up, move on, you will then be ahead with your next task. The other benefit to diarising in this way (even if it is only mental diarising) is that you are less likely to put things aside to deal with in the ever optimistic later.
Details are of course important; it is the detail that elevates something merely adequate to something that is extraordinary. Yet, to be highly productive you must not allow yourself to get bogged down in the details to the detriment of the larger picture, ensure there is balance. It is often useful to take stock of where you are, and the big and small tasks that need to be completed, prioritising as appropriate. Always be mindful that you are not hiding in the details for fear of striking out into a new, unknown task.
To be highly productive, it is essential that you learn to delegate: it is simply not possible to do everything yourself. Delegating specific tasks enables highly productive people to juggle a number of balls at once, they realise that others have specific skills that they may not possess personally, and utilise these as appropriate to support the overall strategic effort.
It is more likely than not that the projects you will be working on will be highly complex, highly productive people take the time to define exactly what it is that is required and the steps that need to be taken to achieve their goals.
You can only really be classed as highly productive if your projects are brought to fruition; that means a commitment to getting things done on time and properly. When you’re managing a number of projects, it can be easy to let something slip, especially if parts have been delegated to others. Ensuring you allocate time to putting the final pieces of the jigsaw in place is essential.
Diarise, define, details, delegate and diligence, the 5 Ds for the five working days; which ones will you be utilising to be more productive today?