I’ve been reflecting on productivity this week, how do I get more stuff done? There’s so much I want to achieve and my ‘to do list’ seems to constantly grow. There’s an old saying I recall that says we make time for the stuff we want to, yet there’s so much I want to do!
So are there tips that can help us get stuff done? Here are the ones I’ve come up with …
1. Get up early – as a member of the #earlyrisersclub I get this. Scrolling through twitter and seeing the positive tweets from colleagues as I enjoy a morning coffee sets the tone for the day.
2. Exercise is said to help us be more productive too, apparently a morning jog is linked to a better mood and productivity, as is access to natural light, all good news for the #NHS1000miles club http://www.wecommunities.org/blogs/3443. Another tip is ensuring sleep is prioritised, I’m delighted when I get 6 hours but ideally I function better on 7! Definitely work in progress.
3. I know I’m most productive and focused in the morning, I need to use this time wisely, a tip I picked up on a recent leadership programme was the ‘pomodora technique’ https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique carving out bite sized 25 minutes at a time to totally focus on one task without interruptions. Often once I get into the mindset of focusing the work then flows. It can help to avoid procrastination too.
4. Having a clear desk and making a to do list are other elements. But take note apparently we can get addicted to the dopamine surge we get as we tick things off on our to do lists so we focus on the small less onerous tasks, rather than the bigger more complicated time intensive stuff!
5. Sometimes the negative stuff can get in the way and be overwhelming too, focusing on compartmentalising this by putting it in a virtual box for addressing at the right time can help, you’re not ignoring it, just managing it (rather than it becoming overwhelming).
6. I think we all need a bit of self belief in ourselves that we can get stuff done, so bring on that ‘WonderWoman’ pose and hold it for 2 minutes (men are welcome to adopt the pose too), it increases testosterone and decreases our cortisol levels. The power to transform our minds so we ‘fake it til we own it’ with this positioning is powerful, do watch Amy Cuddy’s fab TedTalk https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are for the science bit! We had great mischievous fun at a recent Roald Dahl conference practicing our WonderWoman poses!
and here are Sophie and Helen of the marvellous @roalddahlfund doing their WomanWoman poses on Monday morning!
All of these techniques are great, but the complexity of our working lives means that we work in an interconnected manner, depending on colleagues to work with us to progress agendas.
So what helps, are there tips that can help us work more collaboratively so we become more enabling?
I think we’d all agree that interpersonal relationships with authentic positive attitudes matter. Asking questions and really understanding the issues in hand can help in finding smart solutions leading to better results, this is definitely something I need to work on, pausing, questioning and pondering before diving in.
Of course so often when we’re working at a distance from colleagues we use emails as a significant communication tool. They can be incredibly convenient, allowing us to bank our thoughts to be picked up at the convenience of the receiver. It’s worth thinking about the language and tone of our emails, they can either engender people to help or they can put our heckles up, which can delay responses and cause unnecessary frustration. It’s helpful to consider how it will feel to be the receiver, asking ourselves if it will generate the right kind of response, impact, and result is a useful check prior to hitting send. Thinking about the timing of emails matters too, if it’s complex and needs action/attention I’d much rather receive it in the morning than last thing in a working day, which will result in me pondering or stewing on it that evening.
When we do get stuff done perhaps we need to acknowledge this more? Rewards, either personal or as a team matter, a coffee, a walk, all help to celebrate the achievement of a task before moving on to the next one!
What are the tips that help you get stuff done? I’d love to get some ideas!
Perhaps this is worth considering too…