As we wind up a productive year, one where we did more than ever before, we thought we’d share 10 of the best tactics we know to get more work done this week.
1. Provide a good work space.
Chefs create a mise en place, a French culinary phrase meaning “putting in place”. It refers to the cook organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., proteins, vegetables, sauces, spices) at the workstation to make dish preparation fast and easy. The same applies to your workstation at the office. Are your working files within arm’s reach? Can you shut off outside distractions? Is it easy to collaborate with others?
2. Begin. Do just a tiny bit.
Inertia is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity. At work, we’re expected to increase our velocity all the time – and sometimes it’s just hard to do that. So how do you beat inertia? Do something! Start with something small, THEN eat the frog.
3. Disable all pop-up notifications.
We’re a broken record about distractions. Turn off all the beeps, buzzes and flashes – they pull your attention away, tax your time and adversely affect your decision-making over time.
4. Stand up for your phone calls.
Want to spend less time on the phone? Stand up for each call. You’ll inherently shorten the chat so you can sit back down.
5. Don’t sit all day at your desk.
Getting some fresh air, stretching your legs and giving your eyes a break are all good reasons to move around a few times during the day.
6. Set a strict time limit on meetings.
Marathon meetings suck. We’ve written about having great meetings, and time limits are one of the key factors.
7. Measure your performance.
To make progress toward your goals, track your performance. Trying to increase sales? Track how many calls, meetings and emails you send to get deals. Hoping your customer service team earns your company a great reputation? Measure call volume, their time spent and the customer happiness after contact. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
8. Value your time.
Assign a price to your own time so you can delegate more effectively or streamline where you invest time poorly. With many paid services or convenient offerings (like Amazon Fresh or dry cleaners who pick up and delivery), you can add hours to your week.
9. Find a new perspective.
Author Todd Henry has written extensively about our growing need to “create on demand”. The truth is, that’s not easily done. Innovation comes from exposure to ideas outside of your primary domain. Apple was a personal computer company that ventured into music players, giving birth to the iPod. That led to the iPhone and iPad, transforming their entire business. Go to a Meetup for something tangential to what you normally do. Read a magazine from a different industry. Take an online course in an area that could help you innovate in your market.
10. Manage your energy, not just your time.
We mentioned eating a frog earlier, which refers to doing the most important thing on your task list early in the day (when your energy is high). You’ll have peaks and valleys of energy, which affect your performance and decision-making. Match your energy to your tasks – early in the day (big, important tasks), late morning (small, important tasks), after lunch (big, important tasks) and late in the day (cleanup and admin tasks).
10 Tactics to Get More Work Done This Week
Are you already doing all ten? If so, tip o’ the cap. If not, try one or more of these tactics tomorrow and see how much it helps (measure it!). Add good habits and trim bad ones. Each hour you save can be used for doing better work, and you’ll get the uptick of accumulating benefits.