It’s probably safe to say that everybody would like to get more results from less effort. Yes, we’re talking about productivity, the elusive blend of expertise and efficiency that allows you to check
off tasks on your to-do list and achieve your goals at an unbelievable pace. It’s an idealistic vision of a workday and one that very few can reach.
Rather than spending hours effortlessly working
toward our goals, we end up getting bogged down in busy work,
distracted by calls and meetings, and tossed on tangents trying to
solve other people’s problems.
Charles Duhigg, the author of the book Smarter Faster Better, defines productivity as “making certain choices in certain ways” which can change our focus from being merely busy to genuinely
You can go one step further and say that productivity is about making a choice to spend your time on more meaningful work and protecting that time.
To help you boost your productivity, you need to develop strategies and techniques that help you select, edit, and curate the actions that you’ll take all day long. This will help to make sure that
you aren’t just doing more work, but the right work to boost your
productivity and make progress toward achieving your goals.
Develop Self Awareness
Being able to discover the work that is most productive toward
your goals begins with giving yourself the right tools that will
measure your productivity. The most essential tool in your toolbox
is also the simplest. Whether it’s your time management app, your
to-do list, or a meeting with your team to catch up, you need to
get feedback so you can look at the work you’ve completed,
measure its impact, and suggest more efficient ways to move forward.
Feedback loops like this will measure your output and give you
the self-awareness to make the right choices toward more meaningful work. Unlike a hard and fast, one-size-fits-all goal that may
seem impossible to achieve, a good feedback loop will tell you
where you are and allows you to make small changes toward how
you work that will ultimately lead to significant improvements in
your time management skills and productivity.
Commit to a Realistic Schedule
To set yourself up for a more productive day and week at work,
you need to know your limitations. Despite your best efforts, you
can’t work non-stop. In fact, the more work that you try to do in a
day, the worse work that you do.
Instead of trying to work non-stop, you need to set guardrails for
quality by committing to a realistic work schedule. So, how many
hours should you work in a week to be efficient and productive?
The answer differs from person to person, but research has
shown that working more than 40 hours a week can increase productivity to a point.
The studies have shown that once you work more than 49 hours a
week, the quality of your work steadily diminishes. This means
that when you work 70-hours in a week, you aren’t producing anything better than the average worker putting in 40 to 50 hours a
No matter how many hours you work in a day, it all comes down
to your effort capacity, which is the number of hours you can
spend actively working toward your bigger goals.
The time spent
at your desk doesn’t matter if it’s working toward something more
meaningful. All it means is that you need to keep track of your
hours so that you can ensure the results match up to the effort
you’re putting into your work.
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