Myth: I’ll never get to those off-putting tasks.
Turning Productivity 101 Upside Down
We’ve read about it over and over again. We’ve taken copious notes at workshops. We’ve made diagrams of our days and weeks til the cows come home and we’re still no more productive than when we started. Why? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret that hits me in the face again and again when working with clients. Ready? Increasing productivity has less to do with prioritizing the work you enjoy, and has much, much more to do with successfully managing the work you don’t.
Now, productivity can mean all kinds of things. When I’m talking about it here, I’m talking about mastering time management skills. In this day and age where layoffs are common, so many of us are asked to do more with less. If our time is not managed effectively, and our systems aren’t streamlined, we’re going to get buried. At this point in the article, we’d typically reach for our pen or grab our planners, ready to learn a new way to list our priorities. Sorry, not this time. Yes, prioritizing is critical to managing time effectively, but often the critical part that is missing in that process is planning where, when and how the “stuff” that we don’t like to do will get done. I can’t tell you how many people I know that put it off and put it off until they can barely get out from under the pile they’ve created (sound familiar?)
One of the best ways to leverage our time begins in the planning piece of our day; making sure that we schedule the things we don’t want to do before the ones we do. Don’t we usually do the opposite, pushing the undesirable tasks to the bottom of the list, figuring that since we’re already tired and cranky from the day, we may as well add a task that makes us miserable, right? Well, to increase your productivity, you have to turn it around. Schedule those tasks that you like least in the time of your day when you have the most focus and energy. Once you have them done, you’ll get a boost of even more energy because you know you’ve gotten them out of the way. And maybe we won’t hate the dreaded tasks quite as much once we do them when we’re energized and focused!
One writer suggests that if we focus 100% on the task (rather than trying to half do it while doing other things) we might actually discover some part of it that we don’t mind so much (see the article by Scott Young at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-find-motivation-for-the-things-you-hate-doing .
So when you’re searching for increased productivity, don’t look for it in rearranging the things you already like to do, rather, find it in strategically planning when to do the things you don’t.
Do you feel like you can never get to the bottom of the inbox?
Information on Free HR Webinars
Fisher & Phillips offers free webinars on Human Resources topics. The one coming up on August 24th is “Creating and Maintaining a Workplace Free from Sexual Harassment.” You can find more information on their site,
http://www.laborlawyers.com. They also have a Webinar Library of past webinars.