Being able to effectively manage others begins with managing yourself and your own time. At times, we’re all guilty of procrastinating and devoting too much attention to lower priority tasks. Assessing your personal productivity can yield surprising findings that prompt seismic shifts in your day-to-day work routine. Empowering yourself as a manager to get optimum results is a great method of leading by example and will ultimately have positive effects on your team. Here are five tips to get you on the track to prime productivity.
Organizing your workload doesn’t just mean randomly listing the things you have to do. Working smart means following the 80/20 Rule which reveals that 80% of your reward results from 20% of your effort. You should prioritize your tasks according to which items will yield the greatest reward. Develop a system that works for you, coordinating by colors, using pictures, or creating a numbered hierarchy beginning with top priorities.
2. Break Goals Up Into Smaller Parts
Sometimes it feels like you’re fighting a war to achieve your long term goals, but there are also battles to be won. Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step toward meeting goals. When you have established this, divide your goals into increments with corresponding times. “If I don’t break things down and set target deadline dates, I can fool myself into believing I’m on top of a project,” says manager Brian Forusz. Brian prefers using a daily To Do list that he continually updates. “When I cut things into manageable bites, I can see my daily progress and when I need to accelerate to make it to the finish line.”
3. Keep an Eye on Your Time
Scheduling and time management is a full time job in itself. Determine what time of day you are at your sharpest. Are you a morning person that thrives after your coffee or do you make more progress at the end of the day when things have quieted down? Keep an eye on time drains and note which times of day you are more likely to be interrupted. If you are working on a task that requires maximum concentration, schedule longer periods that will allow you to immerse yourself in your work.
Maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life gives you a good perspective on when you may be stretching yourself too far. There’s nothing wrong with saying “Let me check my schedule and get back to you,” if you feel like a request may be infringing on your time. The idea is to pour most of your time and effort into your priorities and to schedule accordingly. If you are a people pleaser by nature, it may be harder for you to decline invitations and to say “no,” but constantly being a “yes” person can cut into your productivity.
Incentives and rewards can do wonders to help motivate you to accomplish your goals. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself when you’ve reached a goal. Including a friend or spouse in the activity is a great way to share your sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s tickets to a show you’ve been wanting to see or a weekend getaway you’ve been fantasizing about, treating yourself is a good way to punctuate your journey toward a goal.