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10 Things Productive Teams Don’t Do

10 Things Productive Teams Don’t Do

Productive teams are the proverbial golden goose for a work environment. Everyone wants to produce a team that is effective, healthy, and always working at a productive maximum. However, finding this place of productive ‘flow’ can be exceptionally hard to pin down, particularly when you’re dealing with a big team, with conflicting personalities, goals, and roles within the team. It’s no easy task finding that balance between happiness and efficiency.

So, if you want to know what those lucky productive teams do in order to be at their productive, happy best, then check out our guide to what productive teams avoid doing, and see if you can be the change you want to be in your own workplace.

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1. They Don’t Rush Blindly In

One of the best and most important assets of a productive and useful team is that each and every member takes time to think clearly about what they’re doing before rushing blindly into a new situation or task. A solid, productive team has a cool head and a calm manner in approaching new situations. They react, think, and then take proactive actions, all while planning ahead and considering what the best course of action might be. If you’re looking to make your team more productive, then encourage them to stop, think, and then act, rather than rushing in blind.

2. They Don’t Argue Over Responsibilities

One of the biggest productivity drains involved in teamwork is the delegation of responsibilities and the division of labour among an entire team. Yes, everyone has their duties, but a productive team has every single member picking up any slack and handling their own portion of duties without complaining, whining, or negotiating. A productive team works only when every member of that team knows their responsibilities and duties and does them. It’s as simple as that.

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3. They Don’t Inhibit Each Other’s Growth

Is there anything less productive and more destructive than colleagues who hold one another back? Not much. A team needs to be a cohesive unit, but more than that, it needs to be a supportive home for members, in order to help facilitate their own personal growth and development. Being a constrictive force within your own team is not only a patently cruel and selfish thing to do, it’s also a big hurdle to cross over for your whole team. Sitting down with every team member and ensuring that their own personal and professional goals and development are being met, is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page and creating a supportive, buoying environment for everyone on the team.

4. They Don’t Gossip

Let’s face it, gossiping is one of the biggest problems happening daily in the global workplace, It’s destructive, it’s petty, and it’s very unproductive, leading to an unfocused and divided team. A focused, productive team has their bonds and their discussion points, but they never let it derail a day or a meeting, and keep things focused. In fact, they try and save a lot of their socialising for after work, when they get a chance to unwind and relax, away from the stresses of work.

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5. They Don’t Become Obsessed With Email

Email is one of those double-edged swords of the modern workplace. Yes, it’s useful and a wonderful tool and device, but it can also be extremely addictive and time-consuming, checking your email every five minutes rather than knuckling down and getting into that special sweet spot of ‘flow’ that often describes working to your productive peak. Productive teams try and make email something that they check on a semi-regular, and regimented, basis. No aimless flickering around deleting spam here. They clear and sort their emails quickly for later reading, and deal with urgent messages quickly when it’s needed. Cut down on unnecessary email time and your team will soon be humming with productivity.

6. They Don’t Have Too Many Meetings

Meetings can really slow down a team’s productivity, and while it can be nice to catch up and work every single minutiae of every aspect of your work together,having way too many meetings can really slow down on actually getting work done. It’s not that meetings themselves are full of useless chatter or such, it’s more that blocking out a good hour or so per meeting, can really make your day a stop-start affair. You get into the flow of some work, only to find yourself having to go to a string of meetings about unrelated projects or queries that make it that much harder to get back into the swing of things. Productive teams have their meetings, but only when necessary and no more than one or two a day.

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7. They Don’t Neglect Their Needs

The concept of working these days hasn’t moved on much since the 80s- we’re all in a struggle to work harder, faster, and more productively than ever before. However, for a team, working hard all the time can actually stop them from being at their productive peak. Truly productive teams are more aware of their flaws and foibles and take time out of their day in order to take a break and properly rejuvenate. A productive team uses all of their lunch break, takes walks around parks, and does stuff completely unrelated to work in their lunch hour. Taking a break isn’t a weakness for a productive team – it’s a strength.

8. They Don’t Hide Their Concerns

A productive team don’t hide things from one another, particularly when it comes to the important stuff such as when to address an issue, or raising concerns about a potential problem or concern at work. Hiding things helps no one, and if you work in an office that is all about working through specific chains of operations and processes, hiding problems or queries is incredibly detrimental towards the effective and productive working of the team. Keep things open and honest with your work colleagues and teams and you’ll be able to resolve issues quicker and be more productive and happier as a result.

9. They Don’t Take Work Home With Them

One of the most productive things that a team can do is to leave their work behind them in the office and keep the realms of work and home as separate as possible. A productive team socializes after work but they make sure to focus on their other – and many would say vastly more important – aspects of their lives, such as home and love and family and leisure. If you’re fixated on work all the time, it means you are unable to gain perspective and enjoy a full and well-rounded life, which in turns negatively impacts upon your workplace and productivity. Don’t think you’re earning brownie points by working overtime instead of going home and sleeping – chances are you’ll be performing worse over time as a result.

10 They Don’t Fail To Work Hard and Be Kind

The most important thing a team can do in order to be truly successful and productive is to work hard and be kind. It sounds sort of simplistic, but it really does work wonders on even the most unproductive teams. Working hard is key to being part of a successful and productive team, but being kind is equally vital. Being kind helps a team function, allowing team members to rely on one another for reciprocity and for altogether strong team functioning. The old maxim of ‘work hard and be kind’ is more apt than you know, and if you want to transform your team into a productive powerhouse, this lesson is the most important ideal to implement.

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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