Is Productivity Overrated?
Some think it is and honestly, I think it depends on the person and the job. In some jobs, productivity is a measure of performance. In other places, it’s a status symbol of how quickly you can accomplish tasks.
My personal preference is to be productive. However, it’s not how much or the pace that matters, but the quality of the work that matters most. Getting quality things done makes anyone feel as if they’ve accomplished something even if they didn’t do anything major to better the world or impact society.
Regardless, different things come up every day, and your job is to solve those problems and cross them off of your virtual or physical ‘to-do’ list. We recently featured some great content on how to be more productive with your email testing and how to get stuff done in your day-to-day if you are working on engineering projects that you might find useful.
In my career both past and present, I pride myself in being efficient with my time and work. This is why I’m sharing my productivity tips – so that you can be efficient too!
7 Productivity Tips for Getting Stuff Done
- Develop a routine: Every morning I check my email, Slack and Twitter (for world news) which shapes my entire day. Is there a crisis in my inbox? A coup on Twitter that I should be sensitive about? This will all help me with #2.
- Scale Priorities: I prioritize my to-do list based on this question, “What will impact customers today?” I address these items first. Following that, I prioritize items that my boss will deem important or a priority. Lastly, I do the stuff that I actually enjoy doing on a daily basis. Seems backward, but ending my day on stuff I actually like doing makes me heart my job.
- Prune your to-do list: I never put any more than 7 items on my daily to-do list. Five is the optimal number for me, seven is a stretch goal. I put the items that I least want to do at the top so that I do them first and don’t have to keep looking at them. However, it’s super easy to procrastinate the crappy tasks.
- Block off time: I block off work-time on my calendar to do any task that takes longer than 15 minutes. I block off 30 minutes for that type of task to account for interruptions. In a meeting-driven week, this is especially important. To combat doing nothing but attending meetings, I add an additional “work-time” meeting to my calendar for 1-2 hours. This way I cross at least one or two things off the list and feel good about it.
- Take a lunch: I take a minimum of a 30-minute lunch (sometimes 90-minutes) and get out of the building if I can. It’s important to clear your head and walk away from your computer. Plus sometimes it’s where I draw my inspiration. If I can’t get out, I go socialize with others at their desks.
- Manage your email: Even though we’re an email company and we love email, I don’t respond to email every second I receive one. I check it a few times per day. I always read it all, reply to the important stuff and flag stuff as unread if I need to go back to it.
- Be realistic: It behooves you to commit to what’s realistic instead of a stretch goal every time. If something takes 2 days to complete, block out the appropriate amount of time for yourself.
Lastly, I have a reality check. Some days you can’t get everything done – end of story. Your to-do list will always be there. So, if you at least tackle #1 above, the rest of your list will wait until tomorrow.
What are your productivity tips? Let me know in the comments.