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by | Nov 23, 2019 | Mural

Don’t Be Busy, Be Productive

Today’s world of deadlines and meetings can make it hard to get work done in an efficient manner. Our culture pushes the idea that a constant, busy schedule is the ideal way to work. However, business does not always reflect your productivity levels. Reframing your mindset to prioritize productivity over being busy will change the way you work. It isn’t always easy, but it is possible, and you will reap the benefits long term. Let’s take a look at what productivity is and how to maximize it for yourself.

What is Productivity? 

Productivity is work with substance. Being busy may seem meaningful on the surface, but the work you are producing will show no progress in your skills. The key difference between business and productivity is always the end result. Productive work may take more time, but it will certainly be of higher quality, which benefits everybody in the end. Here are tips you can follow that will help you be productive, not busy:
  1. Create a system
  2. Set goals to evaluate your progress
  3. Learn when to say no
  4. Utilize tools and resources
  5. Work smarter and harder
  6. Take breaks
  7. Maximize your environment

Create a System 

A key step to being productive is finding a manner of working that is efficient for you. You know yourself the best, so decide what works for you! Organizing your work can help you streamline your process and do what needs to be done. Another important reason to create an organizational system is to help you decide which work is important. If you have a system to organize all your assignments, this helps you prioritize and get the important work done first.

Set Goals to Evaluate Your Progress 

When you are constantly keeping yourself busy, it can be hard to track if you are achieving your goals or not. Instead of using your work to reach an end goal, try doing the opposite. Think about what your career goals are, both long and short-term. Then, evaluate your work against those goals. Is the work you are doing helping you achieve what you want? Using this as a benchmark will help you evaluate what work is truly important, leading you to be more productive.

Learn When to Say No 

One of the pitfalls of being busy, but not productive is that you don’t have enough time! Busy people are always rushing from one task to the other, and often overwork themselves. One of the most common ways people become overworked is by taking on too many assignments. You may think that saying yes to everything will highlight your skills as an employee, but the opposite can happen. If you are overworked, you will not be able to complete all your assignments on time in a quality manner. Learn to say no when asked to do extra assignments if you do not think you can handle the workload.

Utilize Tools and Resources 

Today’s world of advanced technology can be a valuable tool when it comes to maximizing productivity. An example of this is automation. Small, low-level tasks are not something you want taking up all of your time.  By automating these things, you can focus on bigger projects and not get bogged down in the details. Try automating these things to help increase your productivity:
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Bill Payments
  • Product Sales

Work Smarter and Harder 

It is always good to have a strong work ethic, however, in order to be more productive, you also have to find the smartest way to work. Efficiency is doing a task quickly, while effectiveness is finding an optimal way to complete a task. Productive people work more effectively, not necessarily efficiently. In order to make sure you are working smarter and harder, ask yourself these questions:
  1. What tasks am I working on? Are these necessary?
  2. Can I find a better way to do this?
Another way you can maximize your productivity is through delegation. Spreading out tasks across an entire team can ensure that you play to different people’s strengths.

Take Breaks 

Another myth about business is that you constantly have to be doing something to be productive. This actually ends up hindering your work in the long run. If you never take breaks, you can become burnt out and work less effectively. Using a concept called ‘time pockets’ is a great way to take breaks while still working productively. Set aside a specific amount of time you need to work for, and only focus on your work when you do so. This way, you give your mind an incentive to finish the work, so you can go take a break. You will find that you are more focused during the intervals where you are working.

Maximize Your Environment 

One of the most key tips to being productive is to make sure you are working in an optimal environment. Since COVID-19 forced many jobs to be remote positions, many people have found themselves working at home. This can make it more difficult to focus and be productive if you are just sitting on your couch. Having a set office space is ideal for maximizing your work environment. Sitting at a desk will make you feel like you are in an office and having your own room to do work in can provide privacy from the rest of the house.

What if I still struggle with productivity? 

As with everything, progress is not a linear model. It may take some time for you to adjust your work habits and begin seeing a difference in your productivity levels. It is also important to keep in mind that everyone is unique. What works for some people does not always work for others, and you will likely go through a trial-and-error process before finding what makes you as productive as you can be. Sources: Personal Excellence

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