Are You Too Busy To Be Productive?

February 4, 2016

headshotNote by Cesar: This is a guest post by Shikha Menwal. Shikha is a writer at ProofHub. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences. From lifestyle, to technology, and management, etc. she has written about myriad of industries in her writing career during the last three years.

Being productive at work is a pretty ambiguous term; everyone has a different opinion about it. Old school belief said that people who spend more hours at work are more productive. However, the perception has changed now. Hard work has been replaced completely by smart work.

And, with technological advancement changing the outlook of this world, being productive has become more so about getting the maximum output while utilizing minimum resources. So, in a way being productive has become more about being more efficient at whatever you do; and not how you do. But, the problems is managers these days are too busy to be productive.

If you can relate to this, then I’ve got some tips lined up for you.

Saying yes to everything is not going to lead you anywhere

Vilfredo Pareto formulated a principle, according to which 20% of the effort that we put in a task produces 80% of the results. This leaves us with the fact that the remaining 80% of the effort that we put produces only 20% of the results.

The point is that you should be smart enough to spot those activities that require 20% of your efforts; accept them and start saying no to remaining ones which will require more effort only to yield minimal or no results. Remember, successful people say no to almost everything. And, this fact is backed by one of the most successful business moguls of our time – Warren Buffett.

You cannot do everything on your own

One of the biggest reasons project managers are always running short of time is the fact that in their strife to achieve perfection, they tend to do everything on their own. Can you also relate to it?

If yes, then don’t forget that you’ve got a team for a reason. And, everyone on that team has an area of expertise. So, why waste time in sulking over stuff which you have no idea about? Let the experts handle it, so you can focus on more important tasks that really require your attention. Give up the habit of doing everything yourself!

Technology is your friend

Millions of dollars are spent on automation software industry for a reason; make use of it. Technology has brought forward the option of staying connected to your work wherever you are; giving rise to the culture of remote work.

Gone are the days when you had to be in the office premise for work. With the rise of project management software, cloud computing and mobile apps, keeping your work at your fingertips has become easier than ever. And, amidst all this development if you are still relying on the old school ways of managing projects and your work, then you have no one else but yourself to blame for the same.

Email is your biggest enemy

Studies show that on an average a professional spends about 23 percent of the day emailing. Not just that, a recent research from the University of California has also shown that when the professionals were cut from their email, they were less stressed. Now, relate it to what you do at your office on a daily basis.

I am sure you also walk on the same lines. And, this could be the major reason why your productivity graph is always moving down. Why stay reliant on emails and waste your precious time when you can get everything done with the help of modern day project management tools?

Human brain is not created to multitask

Scientific studies have proved that human brain is not made to multitask. According to one of the researches carried out by Stanford researcher Clifford Nass,”Frequent multitaskers use their brains less effectively.”

If you think that doing multiple tasks at the same time is going to get things done quickly, you must think again. Rather than trying to accomplish all in one go, it is always better to carry out tasks one by one and let the things go with the flow. After all, you would not want to compromise on the quality and redo the task, would you?

Do you remember the last time you took a vacation?

No, seriously when was the last time you took a break from your office and spent some quality time with your loved ones? If you can’t remember, then Kudos my friend you have been successfully diagnosed with ‘Workaholism’. Don’t worry. The disease is completely curable. All you have to do is take a break from work and indulge into something that makes you feel alive.

In fact, not just holidays but having frequent breaks while working is the best way to remain the most productive. And, this fact is backed up big time by science as well. For instance a recent study carried out at Cornell University, it was concluded that the employees who set reminders on their computers to take breaks at regular intervals were more productive than the ones who worked without taking a break. So, you can see how important it is to take a break!

Stop Working!

The hazards of working overtime are contagious and they continue to spread until they drench the last drop of productivity from the employee. The positive impact of reducing work hours to get more productivity was shown by the experiments conducted by Henry Ford way back in the 1926.

According to those studies, decreasing daily working hours for the employees from 10 to 8 and reducing their work week from 6 to 5 days led to a huge rise in their productivity levels. So, if you thought that working more hours is going to make you more productive, then it is high time you change your thinking!

We are all busy in our work lives, but making the choices that can help us to remain productive at whatever we do are in our own hands. And, I am sure after reading this post you will be able to better understand what I am trying to say here. So, this new year promise yourself to stay productive and not just busy at work!

If you have anything to add to it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Cheers!