Efficiency is the buzz word these days. Get more done in less time, so we can...get more done in less time! Where she stops, nobody knows but one thing is certain: we are wasting more time than ever before even as our technology supposedly speeds things up.
So what gives?
First and foremost, doing things quickly does not equate to doing them efficiently. A badly done proposal that either loses you the client or forces a rewrite can take more time than doing it right the first time. But let's delve deeper. What's really sucking the oomph out of your productivity? The answer may just surprise you.
Without further ado, the number one productivity killer to any human on the planet is: distractions.
As much as we like to imagine we are excellent "multitaskers," the truth is, we aren't. Human beings function at the highest level when they bring concentrated mental focus to a task and see it to completion. Period.
Think back to a time when you really got a lot done at the office. I bet it was either before anyone came in, early in the morning, or after everyone left, late at night. Or perhaps you told your secretary to hold your calls while you knocked out a major deal with a client.
For me personally, I noticed this effect when I found myself doing creative work later and later in the evening, until finally I noticed myself staying up all night but getting massive amounts of work done.
Therefore the number one thing you can do to improve your productivity is to eliminate distractions of all kinds. That means, no checking email 400 times a day. Two or three times is sufficient. That means, no interruptions from well-meaning friends and family and even coworkers. That means, just you and your work, mono e mono.
Now I have a special gift for you. Here is far and away the most powerful way you can leverage the no-distractions tool to maximum benefit, and skyrocket your productivity. It's called "chunking."
Simply put, you carve out a 2-hour "chunk" of time in which you focus exclusively on your most important task. You do only this task during those 2 hours. Divide up your day into several chunks of focused activity, and you will wonder who the wizard kid is that did all your work for you. Uh, that was you, on-point and hyper efficient! And incidentally, your stress levels will drop dramatically too as you get things accomplished.
Please leave a comment about this article, visit the blog or forum, and check out our technology and managment training offerings. And let me know how you used the chunking technique!
"I liked the way he would make sure we understood the fundamentals of each section of course before he moved us on to next section."
H. Corpening, Santa Ana, CA.