That commute home is where it hits you, or maybe it’s when you finally walk out of the office door for the evening….what did I get done today? You look at your To-Do List at the end of the day and find that it’s actually grown since the morning started out.
Some days, productivity escapes you.
Now, there could be some very good reasons for this. It may have been a day of putting out a lot of unexpected fires, or for some other reason, priorities shifted beyond your control.
What keeps you from getting as much done every day as you can? What if you set a goal that you would be more productive this week? Would you know what the barriers to your productivity are?
How do you become more productive?
Decide that you want to experiment with productivity to make this more of a daily priority. You can explore what gets in the way of a productive day. There are certain barriers to productivity that are important to understand:
Procrastination (see my article next week) – Ah yes, this is putting off those really big scary tasks and never seeming to find the time for them. Recommendation: Make a list of all of those things that you are procrastinating about then put a small plan together to address each of those NOW, today. What is the smallest you can do that will at least get you moving on this activity?
Perfectionism – it has to be done perfectly….OR ELSE! Challenge that perfectionist side of you to take a break! Instead of perfection, strive for progress every day and don’t evaluate what you did wrong or not good enough, but instead what moved forward, even if slowly.
Not having clear and realistic goals. Do you know exactly what you need to accomplish each day? Take some time to set goals for yourself both personally and professionally….even if it’s at the weekly level. Set goals every week before the work week begins then cascade these goals daily, even if in bite-sized pieces…make slow but steady progress.
Not prioritizing your work and focusing on the most important things. Your To-Do List maybe 3 pages (yes that happened to me once) but prioritization is what will determine your productivity. What are the most important things that need to get addressed? You can number rank them or do the ABC method. Whichever works best for you.
Not having the right tools, or not using them correctly. It’s important to have a task and project planner. I use the Franklin Covey method. Others use Outlook, for example. This is a place where you put your calendar, priorities for the day, and allows them to all roll up to weekly and monthly tasks.
Lack of understanding around peak performance times. There are times where you do better work than others. Are you a morning person? Afternoon? Evening? Plan to tackle your most difficult and challenging work (see Procrastination list) during your peak times. Really notice when you peak in energy throughout the day and manage your work effort by those peaks.
Holding on to things you really need to let go of. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Sometimes you may have to spend money to become more productive by hiring a virtual administrative assistant or having the dry cleaners deliver and pick up at your home. At work, look for others who could benefit from your delegation of assignments.
I go to bed so late and wake up tired. Your productive day begins the day before. You can plan tasks, clean up your office space and come to a new organized area every morning where you know exactly what you need to do to hit the ground running.
Eliminate interruptions…turn your phone and notifications off for a little while. All the interruptions can wait for you to focus on what you need to get done.
Do any of these barriers resonate with you? What can you work on this coming week to increase your daily productivity? Experiment with best techniques for you.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.
For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com