Time is a god. It makes the man who makes good use of it; it mars the one who does nothing with it. No one can beat time; we only work around it. The question is: how do we work around the time effectively? How do we ensure we do more in less time? How do we boost our productivity level?
We should work hard, you say?
If you work hard, the chances are that you will create a truckload of tasks for yourself and start working on the tasks restlessly from am to pm—you will even accept more tasks from your boss though you haven’t finished any already on your task list.
You’re the first to resume work and the last to close every day, but your productivity assessment shows otherwise. Why?
It’s because you “globe-trot” on your “universe” of tasks every day, leaving all tasks touched but not completed before time runs out and fatigue sets in. Very many times you try to multitask. You get a task executed up to 75%, leave it for another one, from that to another, and so on. In the end, you work on a multitude of tasks that you leave uncompleted. You work yourself to the bone. All with no completed tasks to show for it. Then you become frustrated!
What happens now? Your boss starts complaining that you are not productive! Your response?
I am working hard now. I am the first to resume every day and the last to close for work. I never complain about any tasks…I enthusiastically accept to do every task brought to my desk…blah blah blah.
Yes, you’re working hard. But you’re not working “smart”. And you’re not productive!
Hard work that doesn’t translate to high productivity is that one hard work?
The best way to work around the time effectively and ensure you achieve a high level of productivity is to work smart. When you work smart, you clear up your tasks every day without breaking a sweat; you become more productive; get more time for your family and leisure, and find perpetual delight in your chosen career.
How do I work smart? Did you ask?
Sit back as I share with you eight basic steps to follow to enhance your productivity—without working yourself out.
Resume work on time
Resuming work on time gives you the chance to recuperate from whatever stress you must have passed through on your way to work. Besides, you will have enough time to plan and schedule your tasks. A smart worker works with a plan.
Create a realistic (daily) tasks list with time allocation
Creating just anyhow tasks list doesn’t make you a smart worker; you have to create a realistic tasks list and allocate time to each of the tasks. Your tasks list is not realistic if it’s filled up with too many tasks humanly impossible to execute in a day. If your tasks list is too burdensome, it makes you lose focus. You start jumping from one task to another restlessly. In the end, you may not successfully complete any of the tasks. Likewise, arrange the tasks in order of importance. You may not be able to finish all the tasks, but you will have the chance to finish the most important ones if you arrange them (the tasks) in order or priority.
Avoid unnecessary multitasking
You don’t’ have to multitask unless it’s highly required to do so. Multitasking, if poorly handled, does not guarantee productivity. In fact, studies have shown that “participants who multitask the most are distracted by unimportant information that is stored in their short-term memory.” (2009: Clifford Nass, PhD et al; as quoted on here).
Learn to say “No, I’m busy.”
Remember, you are not a horse; so don’t work like one. When you have enough tasks already on your desk you haven’t completed, why take more? Don’t accept more tasks on your list except you have a genuine reason to do so. If you have too many tasks flying to your desks from different directions, competing for your attention at the same time, the chances are that you will lose focus, become overwhelmed and disorganized. A smart worker says no to unnecessary tasks; especially when he/she has not completed the most important tasks on his/her list.
Avoid (Internet) distraction
Distraction impedes productivity. When you’re not working as a Social Media Manager, why are you scrolling up and down your Facebook Timeline or Instagram Page intermittently while at work? If you give undivided attention to your tasks, you will complete them on time and then have enough time for leisure. If you’re mixing your tasks with leisure, you’re not a smart worker.
Work with your team; delegate tasks
You don’t have to be the one doing everything; else you needlessly stress yourself out. Work with your team; delegate tasks. A smart worker knows his/her team members very well and delegates tasks based on individuals’ capacities.
Use technology tools
Various technology tools have been developed to facilitate productivity in virtually every kind of work you can think of. So, all you need do is to know these tools and learn how to use them.
Give yourself a break
You are human, not a machine (even machines get rest!). So, create break times within your schedules; time to chew something, take a walk, stretch the muscles, etc. Besides, your schedule should be flexible enough to accommodate some unavoidable interruptions—you can’t do without them.