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6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

You just sat at your desk for 3 hours and you realized all you accomplished was starting the email you had to write, checked the weather and beat your best level on Flappy Bird. It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes it is hard to get focused and buckle down.

We say that we want to get more done, and then we just don’t have the time or energy, and we don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you move in the right direction.

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1. Spend more time working.

Hold the phone! You mean, I need to do more than my regular 40 hours each week?  Nope, that is not what I’m saying at

get more done

    all.  I’m saying schedule your work.  My productivity increases when I started setting specific times for specific tasks, instead of trying to multi-task.

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    There is an amazing tool called the Pomodoro Timer.  It allows you to set the timer for up to 25 minutes, which helps you to stay focused on one task. After 25 minutes, take a quick break and set the timer (or your cell phone timer like me) for 25 minutes again and work on the next project.

    2. Delegate and/or eliminate your work.

    There are probably things that you need to do and there are things you can delegate or outsource.  I read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” and it broke down a couple things that really put it in perspective for me. I had to write out ALL of my tasks that I think needed to be done. Then I had to separate them into the things that were Urgent & Important, the ones that were Urgent & Not Important, the ones that were Important & Not Urgent and then the ones that were Not Important & Not Urgent.

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    For the Not Important & Not Urgent, I was supposed to just let those tasks go.  For the Important & Not Urgent, I could delegate them out. I would suggest creating a process/system around it so when you have someone do it for you, they have the full instructions.  For the others, you can schedule times to get them done. Obviously, do the urgent and important tasks as fast as possible and then create a process or system for the next task, which could be something you delegate out down the road.

    3. Exercise your brain.

    When you do brain exercises, it helps you to be more productive, think faster, and it allows you to be more creative too!  Plus it makes you feel good knowing that you are increasing your brain power, right? Right!

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    4.  Use technology to your advantage.

    Using technology can be a curse and a godsend all at the same time.  Something I have found helpful for me is turning off my internet or using one of the apps that blocks certain websites at certain times to help me get more done.  Also, I use my Google Calendar to plan all of my meetings or completion dates, which helps me to stay up on what needs to be done by when so that I’m not dropping balls.

    5.  Set goals and break them up in to milestones.

    This is important for me because I tend to be a bigger picture person.  I love looking at it as a whole, but then I get overwhelmed, and I don’t get things done like I should.  To solve this problem, I write down the main idea, and then break it up into smaller steps (or milestones) that will help me get to the final goal. When I break it down, I’m not as overwhelmed and I get more done faster.

    6.  Take time for yourself.

    This is kind of like scheduling time for work, but scheduling time for yourself.  When I go 2, 3 or 4 hours without taking a break, I don’t get more done. I start to slack off and my mind starts wandering and then my smart phone comes out, and I’m back to playing Flappy Bird and being unproductive.  But, if I know that after 1 or 2 hours of work, I have 15–20 minutes of “me” time, it helps remind me that I will be able to check my Facebook or do some “me” stuff for a little bit.

    What are some tips or tricks that have worked for you to be more productive and get more done?

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    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

    58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

    Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

    Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

    1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

    The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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    Encourage Your Employees

    When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

    Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

    Offer Rewards

    Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

    The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

    Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

    Give Autonomy

    Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

    Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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    Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

    2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

    I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

    Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

    For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

    We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

    Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

    A To Do Scheduling System

    Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

    The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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    I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

    With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

    Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

    3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

    The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

    “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

    An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

    What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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    Ask If They like What They’re Doing

    If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

    There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    The Bottom Line

    Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

    Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

    For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

    Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

    More Resources About Team Management

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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