Four Ways To Double Your Productivity
Four Ways To Double Your Productivity
By Mark Wager
One of the most common phrases I hear within workplaces today is when people tell me that they are "expected to do more with less." I've always found this a bit strange. Think about it. If you do a lot of work then you should be rewarded and it seems many companies believe the best way to reward you is to give you more work. Surely a better reward would be receiving less work. However, that is not how modern businesses work, especially in today's tough economy. The workplace is getting busier and the advances in technology has turned the workplace in a 24/7 business yet despite all these changes one thing has remained the same and that is the hours that we have to complete the work. So. what is the secret of time management? What can we do to achieve more with a less time scenario that is required from all of us.
In my experience I firmly believe that there is a secret to time management which has transformed not only my own personal effectiveness but also changed my life. I firmly believe the secret of time management is not to manage time but instead to manage energy.
Your energy is more important than time because time is finite yet your energy is not.
No matter what you do there is a limit to the amount of time you have available to perform a task. Yet the energy you need in order to succeed is not limited. Imagine this scenario. You have just finished a long run. You are tired and sweaty and looking forward to relaxing at home. Yet, when you arrive back the house is on fire and your family is inside. No matter how tired you feel you will find the energy to get your family out. An extreme example and I'm sure nothing so dramatic will be required form you at work but the same principle applies. If the situation is significant enough to you then you will find the energy no matter how tired you feel.
In order to become more effective you need to stop focussing on time and start focusing on energy.
We have all experienced that sensation when we are highly motivated and fully energised and during this period we achieve amazing results. Some people call it being in the "zone" or in a sense of "flow" the feeling when you are fully immersed with your task to such a degree that there are no other thoughts and your focus is totally on the task. Your feeling of increased effectiveness is more than a feeling, it's been substantiated by research most notably by an American Author Steven Kotler who said "The average business person spends less than 5% of their day in flow. If you could increase that to 15%, overall the workplace productivity would double. " Just imagine what you could achieve if you could double your productivity.
The process of learning how to manage your energy in order to double your productivity is a long one but there are some practical steps you can take immediately which will make an impact to your workday.
All productivity starts with a good nights sleep.
One of the most common approaches to doing more work is to work longer hours and there will be times when the task is so urgent that there will be no choice but to work as late as it takes but as a common tactic this thinking is highly flawed. Sleep and plenty of it is vital for productivity. A scientific study by Williamson and Feyer concluded that if you went 17-19 hours without sleep then your brain acts the same way as it does when it's under the influence of alcohol. The longer the hours you work, the lower your productivity is and the more likely you are to make mistakes which in turn adds to your workload.
Once you leave a state of high productivity, it will take you on average twenty minutes to get back into that state. The key is to focus on a single task and to eliminate anything that can interrupt that task. Make sure people are aware that you are not to be disturbed or if you are then under what conditions you are to be disturbed. Your Brain at any single time processes around 110 bits of data per second and a conversation takes up around 50-60 bits of data which is why you can't have conversations with more than two people at once. Consider turning off your phone or at least turn off the internet. Don't worry, the Internet will still be there when you turn it back on along with your emails.
Do what's important and not what's comfortable.
A common mistake I see when I train people to become more productive is when people are unaware that they are busy focussing on what they are comfortable doing rather than what they need to do. It's a natural response to resort to what's comfortable but it's not the most productive response. Have a clear idea of what success looks like, what your end goal is and then when tasks are in front of you ask yourself what will get you closer to that goal. If what you are doing right now in this moment is not taking you closer to success then you are doing the wrong task.
Find the passion within your work.
Not everyone loves their job and if they do they don't love all aspects of it and there's always something we don't like. One of the keys of productivity is to find your passion within your work even if your job doesn't obviously offer you this passion then dig deep because somewhere it exists, even if your work is nothing more than a means to provide money for you to do something else then focus on how that something else can't exist without your work. Look at the consequences of your output and how your good work impacts other people. It's not always easy but the search for your passion is vital because the reward for doing so is a limitless amount of energy.
Everyone is always expected to do more with less but if you switch your focus to managing your energy rather than your time then you could potentially double your productivity and with double the productivity you can live twice the life, find your passion and refuel your energy again.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Posted: Monday 5 September 2016