6 Reasons to Increase Your Productivity and 5 Steps to Make It Happen

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The formula for productivity is total output divided by total input. When you can reduce the what it takes to create value, you benefit tremendously. Here are 6 reasons to focus on increasing your productivity.

  1. The old metrics are gone. Being in the office. Face time. Showing up on time. Putting in the hours. They no longer impact the impression of great performance. The measure is more firmly linked to output. The more value you create, the more valuable you become. That means you need to understand what is valued by your organization and you must align your actions and quantify your output.
  2. Reduce your stress. Does looking at your ‘do-list’ make you feel a lump in your throat or a pain in your gut? Well, everything on your do-list does not have the same impact. Increasing productivity means eliminating those items that impede productivity. Each item should be assigned a score based on its ability to deliver value. The added benefit of a smaller do-list is the sense of calm that comes with it.
  3. Unlimited vacation time is coming. The term “unlimited vacation’ is really a misnomer. The pioneering companies that already have this benefit, including GE, Grant Thornton, Netflix and LinkedIn know that the term means unlimited vacation time as long as you get your job done. The more productive you are, the more time you off you can justify. It’s as simple as that.
  4. Do more of what you love. When you’re productive, you free up the time to do the things you love. And that leads to satisfaction and fulfillment. And that’s what it’s all about, right?
  5. Increase opportunities. When you’re wasting your time on low value tasks, you’re reducing the opportunities that can come your way. Abraham Lincoln famously said: “Things may come to those who wait… but only the things left behind by those who hustle.” If you want to increase the number of opportunities that come your way, you need to create space for them.
  6. Increase your joy. Do you think busy work or procrastinating adds to your happiness quotient? If you want to boost your confidence and amp up your happiness, productivity will help. The sense of accomplishment is linked to the output you create and acknowledge.

These reasons are powerful and will hopefully compel you to increase your productivity. So how do you do that? Author of the bestselling book Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen suggests you “Build your external brain. Your head is a bad office. If you keep the things you want to accomplish internal, they won’t happen. You need to get them externalized, get them out of your head.” In his book, he outlines the five steps for building your external brain and staying organized:

  1. Document everything: Your to-dos, recurring tasks, creative ideas, etc. Get them out of your head. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet or a smartphone app. Just find a tool that works for you that will help you get organized.
  2. Get specific about the things you have to do. Don’t just write down ‘mom’s birthday’. Document the actionable steps you need to take like: shop for a present, send a card, etc.
  3. Sort your actionable items by categories that make sense to you. If you only need a reminder at a later date, calendar a trigger to see it then.
  4. Consistently review your lists along with projects and bigger goals. Notice what has your attention. This is where the clarifying step pays off, because you should be able to pick something you can do immediately that you have both the time and the energy to do. If you see something that’s amorphous and could benefit from clarity and structure, at least determine the very next discrete action.
  5. Make it happen. Pick your action and implement. Because your commitments are captured, clarified, and organized, your choices about what you do will come from confidence, not hope.

By William Arruda (Forbes)

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