Productivity is something that everyone struggles with from time to time. Being able to fit everything you need to do in one day can be a lot to handle; however, it’s not about the number of tasks you complete, it’s about understanding how and where you prioritize your time and energy. Jenni Field, a business communication strategist, shared her top tips and insights on how to be more productive with the work you do. “We all say we are too busy but being busy is a myth. Once you understand why you procrastinate and learn how to communicate your boundaries, you can work more effectively,” said Jenni.
Being productive and being busy are two different things. Jenni believes that being productive is all about how we prioritize our time and attention toward things. If we understand where most of our attention is focused, we can assess if we are focusing on the right and most important things. This can also help us understand the type of person we are and what we care about. In her session, Jenni breaks down a chart of how we can organize important/urgent tasks throughout our day. Use the chart below to help you organize and build a pattern that works best for you.
Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges when trying to be productive. If we deem the task unimportant or think it is too much, we will procrastinate and let the work pile up. Jenni stated that there are four reasons why we procrastinate.
1.Fear: “I’m afraid this is too big of a task to complete.”
2.Dependents: “I’m waiting for someone or something else before I can do my work.”
3. Perfection: “I need things to be 100% perfect before handing it in.”
4.Mood: “I’m not in the mood or I just don’t feel like it right now.”
All these factors lead to being unmotivated and ultimately not getting work done. Jenni spoke about the term “Eating the frog.” She explained that the practice is used to tackle heavy tasks first so that the big-ticket items or the ones that add real value get done first.
To be more productive, we must we be willing to communicate our boundaries. This means, we must be able to know our limits and understand how much we can take on throughout the day. Jenni explains that by creating and communicating certain boundaries for ourselves, we can build resilience. Taking personal accountability can also help us set boundaries when we notice things are getting hard or stressful. A good way to be productive is to use the Rule of Five method. The Rule of Five is when you create a list that has a mixture of five heavy and light tasks to balance your day and reduce stress. Trying to do more than five isn’t recommended and could lead to burnout if you pile more and more tasks into your day. It’s a false sense of efficiency.
Being productive is an ongoing skill. Paying attention to how we divide our time says a lot about our character. If we feel something is important to us, we will set aside the time to do it. Therefore, we if take the time to understand how and where we often divide our time and energy, we can use that to maximize our work effectively and to become better professionals.
Jenni Fields is a business communication strategist and founder of Redefining Communications. She is also a chartered practitioner, an international speaker, and an author. You can find Jenni
on Twitter https://twitter.com/mrsjennifield and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifield/
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