Productivity is a buzz word that all of us gravitate towards! We all want to be more productive, do more in the same time, achieve more and the like. The pursuit of productivity is a huge industry by itself! Tons of research has been done and is continually being done to make humans more productive.
At work, there is even more pressure to perform better and do it in the same or shorter amounts of time. The funny thing is everyone is aware of most if not all of these principles to help you be more productive. But not everyone is able to implement these principles on a disciplined basis.
Jim Rohn nailed it when he said “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day!”.
Here are the 5 P’s that are guaranteed to help you be more productive at work. Warning – You will see and experience results only when you can start implementing them in a disciplined and consistent manner.
- Power Up: As much as we would like to disregard or ignore our physical vitality, whether we like it or not, that is the starting point. Our physical vitality is the foundational element to better productivity! The right fuel along with the right care is going to allow these human vehicles to travel and go terrains they have never been before without any hitches! Power up your body with healthy food, quality sleep and appropriate exercise. Power up your mind with good content, activities and meditation.
- Plan: I am a planner by nature. I am constantly planning! (Even in my sleep, according to me family!! Planning is the ability to layout all the elements that matter and identifying what needs to get done and by when. Some common planning methods involve : planning your next day’s activities at work every evening. Others like to start the day by taking a few minutes to set a plan for the day. Some others like to just take it as it comes. Setting a plan does not necessarily mean things happen according to plan. But a plan allows you to know what matters to you and what you want to get done. Having a plan allows you to see when things are veering off track. Planning puts you in control as you make decisions to decide whether to take on something that suddenly gets thrown at you. Irrespective of when you do it, plan your day before you start it.
- Prioritize: Planning is not enough by itself. You get more done when you plan AND prioritize. Not all tasks are equally important. As much as we would like to believe so. If you had no other choice but to choose a task as the most important for the day, you would do it. Prioritize using the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle tells us to focus on the 20% of the activities that produce 80% of our results. I like to rephrase it to read “What is the one task that must get done so that if all the other tasks didn’t get done, you would still feel satisfied with your progress”. Identify 1-3 tasks to get done on a daily basis and note it down first thing every morning.
- Pomodoro Technique: Is a time management technique developed in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo. It involves working in chunks of 25 minutes with no distractions during the work interval. The work intervals are separated by 5 minute break intervals. Many a successful person swears by this technique. In the modern corporate world, let’s be honest. We really cannot find many chunks of 25 minute intervals where we can work uninterrupted. With the constant dings of our emails, the instant messages from our colleagues, the phone ringing off the hook from clients and vendors, the numerous meeting requests, it is next to impossible to find multiple 25 minute chunks of time. But I urge you to start with one 25 minute interval every day. Identify when you work best – morning or afternoon or evening or night, when you are most alert and produce your best work and block that time on your calendar. Even the most busiest person can manage to spare one chunk of 25 minutes if you carefully rearrange your calendar. Turn off all the distractions, get your computer on distraction free mode, turn off the ringer on all phones and if possible escape to a conference room and do your best and most important work for the day in the 25 minute interval. As you get better at managing your schedule, progress to 2 chunks of 25 min intervals. And the ideal situation would be to have 5 25 minute intervals. Teach this technique to your colleagues so they learn to respect your no-disturb sign during your pomodoro time. You can have a manual timer to help you track your time or an online pomodoro timer will work too! Sometimes, I like to work in 45 minute intervals and take 15 minute breaks. Sure fire way to boost your productivity!
- Polish: For anything to work better, we need to measure and track and see the data trends over a period of time. Once we see the patterns and see how well or not well it is working, then you can make the necessary tweaks to polish it! If you find yourself unable to really work uninterrupted during your 25 minute morning interval, identifying the pattern and tweaking it to a different time of day is the way to go.Polish in this context refers to improvising your process to get more done. It may mean eating different foods that don’t make you feel lethargic or it may involve having all your meetings in the afternoons and devoting your morning to doing your best and most important work.
The disciplined process of following all these techniques will lead to increased productivity, a mindset shift in the way you approach your work and will allow you to get more done at work!!