What is productivity?
- “Getting things done.”
- “Having stuff accomplished.”
- “Crossing things off on my list.”
- “Doing what is necessary for the day.”
Above all, the goal is getting things accomplished, however I feel just getting items accomplished is often more important than the how. It doesn’t have to be this way; if you focus on the how, the output you are looking for will follow.
Its That Time Of Year
The first thing many individuals do when the calendar indicates January 1st is to think of their goals or New Year resolutions. Excitement of what is possible invades the body and next one begins to think about what it will take to achieve their goals.
To be honest, I’ve seen that story in my own life where you start sprinting towards the end result, however it fads as the year moves ahead.
In fact, according to a University of Scranton research, only 8% achieve their goals , of those who set goals or New Years resolutions. Eight out of 100 people will reach their year end marker. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Will I be one of the 8% this year?”
Every individual knows they are getting things done by being productive, yet this is where productivity blindness sets in.
The mindset many have is: “I already know how to get things done, so I don’t need to relook at what I currently do, given I already know how to.”
This type of blindness stifles your ability to achieve and robs you of discovering what you are capable of.
The 8% don’t have this mindset, they continue to push themselves to raise their game.
As I write this, I’m reading Relentless by Tim Grover who shares a story about Michael Jordan. After winning an NBA Championship, Tim asks Michael, “5, 6 or 7am?”. This refers to what time Tim will see Michael in the gym to workout the next day.
MJ just won an NBA Championship and he gets right back to work! He already knows how to win and doesn’t have the blindness so many have.
There are four simple hacks you can implement, which will correct any productivity blindness you might have and help elevate your personal performance in 2021. Warning these hacks are simple yet hard to do consistently.
I know what you might be thinking, “I’m great at multitasking!”.
You might be great, however you are destroying your productivity. While it might not be visible, its having more of an impact than you can imagine.
According to researchers at the University of Florida Training and Organization Development, they discovered multitasking leads to:
- Decreased productivity
- Impaired cognitive ability
- Increased stress
- Diminished creativity
All of the above can occur, however what you are really doing when you are multitasking is engaging in “switch tasking”.
You are switching back and forth causing your brain to shift repeatedly and causing you to focus and refocus, increasing the amount of time it should take. Do the exercise below as described in the article,”The Multitasking Mirage” by Dr. Scott Blades.
Activity #1 Open the stopwatch on your device and open a word document. Start the timer and then type your first and last name. Beneath your name, type a number for each letter in your name (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) Stop the timer and record your time.
Activity #2 Rather than type your name first and then type the numbers second, try to do both at the same time. On the first line, type the first letter of your name. Then type 1 on the second line. Next type the second letter of your name on the first line, 2 beneath it, and so forth.
How many seconds did it take you in the first and second activity? The second activity took MUCH longer for myself, yet I did complete the task.
I trust you did these activities. What you were doing was “switching tasking”, you were forcing your brain to quickly work. The first activity is an example of single tasking.
Some researchers have suggested multitasking can reduce productivity by 40%.
Bottom Line: When you single task, it greatly decreases the length of time required on a task.
Eliminate Social Distractions
Social media is a playground for distractions and if you are not vigilant about protecting yourself from the playground during the work day, you are losing in your daily performance.
The DoorBell Life
Imagine you hear a knock at your door or the doorbell; you speed to the door to see who or what is at the door. It probably took you less than a minute to check. You go back to your desk and it rings again and you head to the door and this time it takes you more than a minute given its your neighbor. Next you head back to the desk and you enjoy a few minutes of silence and the doorbell rings again.
You jump up and quickly see who is at the door, but don’t see anyone. “Weird” you say silently and head back and just before you sit down it rings again. This time you sprint to see who is at the door; still nothing.
This is exactly what is occurring everyday, if you are not eliminating the “doorbells” of social media. The alerts, chimes and sounds pull you out of focus.
A study was done and found that every time you get distracted it takes an average of 25 minutes to get refocused.
The study also revealed distractions account for 2.5 hours of lost productivity every day! Meanwhile, this might not seem like much however compounded over a month this equates to 70 hours a month.
Ever say to someone, “I wish I got more done today?” Imagine what you can do with an extra 70 hours per month!
To eliminate social distractions is easy; turn off all notifications including your mail inbox and put your call phone out of site or in airplane mode. If you utilize your cell phone for work conversations during the day, schedule times on your calendar for phone calls or times to connect with individuals. Most importantly avoid answering “the doorbell” unless its an emergency or during your scheduled phone time.
JUMP INTO JAMS SESSIONS
Have you ever jammed out while listening to your favorite song? No, really? Come on, no one will be judging you if you answer yes. That is what I thought!
Do recall where you were? Perhaps in the car and you found yourself sit dancing to that song over your speakers. Maybe you turned it up louder to really get into the zone.
One a Saturday summer afternoon doing yard work with my headphones on, I heard one of my favorite songs and started to jam out. I’m sure my neighbors could see me and I’m sure they saw an old guy trying to dance like a twenty year old. I was in a complete zone and it felt great! I was completely locked into the song and focused on being myself.
When you enter a jam session during the work day, you enter a focused period of time where there are no interruptions, no calls, no emails or distractions. You enter a time of focus spanning a length of 90 minutes.
Yes, 90 minutes of pure focus on your most vital priorities for the day. Head down focus!
Do you think you could create your own jam focus sessions to elevate your productivity each work day?
To get the most out of your jam sessions, let’s ensure you understand focus.
I love this Steve Jobs quote on focus, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. Success is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Be willing to say no, so you can focus on the right things during each jam session. The last hack is especially hard for those who like control.
When you see or hear the word delegate, what comes to mind? For me in the past, when I saw this word it meant”lazy”. Perhaps it was the way I was raised or maybe it was because I didn’t want to associate myself with this word, so I avoided delegating.
Can you relate?
It has taken me many years for this mindset to change. Today, when I hear or see this word I think “effective”.
Delegation is giving up activities, which others excel at. There is always someone who excels at that task or activity. Releasing those activities to those who excel at that participate task or project, opens up space in your calendar for you to focus on your most vital priorities.
Four Points to Successful Delegation
- Delegate to the right person; someone you can trust, who shares the same values you do and who excels at that particular task you are giving them.
- Clearly define the goal and what success looks like. Set a deadline and check in points along the way. Focus on sharing the goal not the process.
- Ensure the individual has the proper tools they need to complete the job.
- TRUST the individual and let the individual do the job!
If you can untether yourself from being the one who does it all and transition yourself to a place of being effective, you will raise your level of personal growth and performance.
EASY TO DO = HARD TO DO!
The four hacks shared above will increase your productivity, yet these simple hacks are hard to do consistently. I’d recommended you start with one of the hacks and be intentional about executing the hack for a minimum of 30 days during the work week.
At the end of the 30 day period, write down what you learned about yourself.
You can increased your productivity by 40% or greater, while it requires an unwavering commitment. The question facing you is: “Will you?”
ps. Looking to kick start your personal journey in 2021? Check out the kindle version of: Introspection To Inspiration: Increase Your Productivity and Live Your Full Potential.