Be Productive

Be Productive – Finish 2017 with a Bang!

With two months left in 2017, it’s time to be productive, really focus and decide what you can still achieve by year end.

What are the key things you planned to do this year? Which ones have you not started? What is the most important thing to prioritise in the next 6 weeks?

Be Productive

With a little planning this can be your most productive time this year. Finish the year on a high and then move into 2018 feeling really positive and productive.

Identify Most Important Goal

Firstly evaluate any existing goals. Are they still important, still relevant? Which is the best one to focus on this year? Then ask yourself these questions:

  1. What will it look or feel like to achieve the goal?
  2. What work do I have to do?
  3. Do I need help or input from anyone else?

Make A Plan

Plan what you need to do by breaking your goal into smaller sub-goals. Brainstorm each sub-goal to list out the actual tasks required. This can be done simply with pen and paper or using post-it notes, flipcharts, etc.

Start looking at the tasks to see what can be done when. Are some tasks inter-related? Can you identify milestones or achievements along the way so you can tell you are still on track?

Map your tasks into each week in November and December using a planner like Microsoft Outlook. Alternatively use our beproductive.ie Q4 Planner template here.

Don’t over plan

Be realistic about how much time you have to work on your goal. You are probably already busy so where and when can you create “extra” time?

Build in some slippage because life will inevitably take over and throw some unexpected things at you.

Be practical. We can’t treat December like a normal month because of all the Christmas activities. So aim to finish your plan mid-December.

Measure & Track Progress

What will change when you achieve your goal? What will be new? Will you start doing something you haven’t done before? Identify some measurable targets and track these.

Capture the date you complete things to compare your Target Time with the Actual Time. If you miss a Target date does it have a knock-on effect on the remaining Targets? Readjust your plan as required.

Acknowledge What You Achieve

By prioritising and planning out your goal you have a higher chance of achieving it by end 2017. Celebrate if you do! And if all the work is not done I bet you still completed more than if you had no plan at all.

And because of your plan you know exactly what tasks are left so you are more likely to complete the work early in 2018.

Find What Works For You

Like all our productivity tips at beproductive.ie we recommend that you: 1) tweak our suggested approach to find what works best for you and 2) stretch yourself a little so you can achieve new things.

Have a productive end to 2017 and be sure to let us know how you get on.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Be Productive

How to Be Productive in Q4 and Achieve Your Goals

With 3 months left in 2017 this is a great time to be productive. Decide what you can achieve in the time left. Is there a goal from the start of the year that you haven’t been able to start yet? Or maybe a new goal has emerged as the year progressed. You might have work goals or a personal goal or both.

How Productive Can You Be

Well it’s time to get focused, create a simple plan and make Quarter 4 your most productive period this year. How great would it feel to achieve something important and finish the year on a high? How well would that set you up for a productive 2018.

3 months is a good length of time to plan. Not too long to get demotivated but not too short to feel too much pressure.

Your Most Important Goal

First identify which goal you will work on. If it’s a goal you set at the start of the year evaluate if it is still important to you. Is it still relevant? Is it possible to achieve by end 2017?  If so then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will it look like or feel like to achieve this goal?
  2. What do I have to do to complete the goal?
  3. Can I break the goal down into sub-goals?
  4. Do I need help or input from anyone else?

Make A Plan

To help you plan what needs to be done break down the goal into smaller sub-goals. Brainstorm each sub-goal to list out the tangible tasks or actions required. You can do this on your own with a pen and paper or with a colleague using post-it notes or flipcharts, etc.

Once you have all your tasks, decide what can be done when. Are some tasks inter-related? Do some tasks depend on the completion of others? Can you identify milestones or achievements along the way so you can tell that you are on track?

Now using a 3 month calendar view map in when you aim to do your tasks. You can use Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Excel or simply create a planner yourself on a chart or board. You can also check out our beproductive.ie Q4 Planner template here.

Measure Progress

You already thought about what achievement of your goal will look like or feel like. This g=helps you decide some measurable targets. What will change? What will be new? Will you start doing something you haven’t done before? Or maybe your goal involves not doing something you currently do!

Don’t over plan

When you are mapping out the work, be realistic about how much time you have. You are probably already busy so where and when can you create “extra” time?

Build in some slippage because life will inevitably throw some unexpected things at you. And if you miss some target dates you may become demotivated. It can work well to overestimate the task times initially to build momentum. Then as you see how things are going, revise the later task times to stretch yourself more.

Also be practical. The last month of Q4 is December and we can’t treat this like a normal month because of all the Christmas activities. So aim to finish your plan mid-December.

Leave a 5 day cushion at the end of your timeline with no tasks planned so you can complete anything that didn’t get done. Then if unexpected things crop up you will still have a chance of completing your overall goal on time.

Track Your Progress

By completing your plan you have actually completed your first milestone. Now you need to work through your tasks tracking your progress as you go. The easiest way is to capture the date you complete things so you can compare the Target Time with the Actual Time. If you miss a Target date does this have a knock-on effect on the remaining Targets? Readjust your plan as required.

With any goals and plans, whether personal or business ones, it can be really useful to tell someone else what you are doing. This can make you more committed to the work which can help on a day when your motivation might be low.

Celebrate What You Achieve

If you complete your tasks and ultimately your overall goal then celebrate! But if you haven’t finished by the end of Q4 don’t despair. Just think of the work you have done so far. This is likely to be a lot more than if you had no Q4 plan. And from your plan you know exactly the tasks that are left so you are more likely to complete out the work.

And you can also celebrate your skills in Project Management. If you have used the approach described here you have used classic Project Management and Project Planning technique. These techniques can be applied to any project large or small, business or personal.

Find What Works For You

Like all our productivity tips at beproductive.ie we recommend that you: 1) tweak our suggested approach to find what works best for your work and 2) stretch yourself a little so you can achieve new things.

Have a productive Q4 and be sure to let us know how you get on. And Contact Us if you want to talk about Productivity training.

Success-Photo-by-Benjamin-Davies-on-Unsplash

Be Productive on your daily commute

Be Productive on Your Daily Commute

Daily Commute can Be Wasted Time

It’s September and our traffic has reverted to “normal”. For most of us this means longer journey times and busier trains and buses. Our daily commute can really drain our energy and the time feels like wasted time. But is doesn’t have to be. With a little planning in advance and clever use of your smartphone or tablet, your commuting time can become a productive part of your day.

The key is to find things to do that will fit into your commuting routine and then get yourself organised.

14 Tips To Be Productive on your daily commute

Here is our list of ideas on how you can be productive on your daily commute. What can you build into your daily commute?

  1. Get your social media updates out of the way
  2. Listen to Podcasts that you have previously saved
  3. Listen to an audio book
  4. Read the supplements from the weekend newspapers
  5. Read articles you have saved using Apps like Pocket or Google Keep
  6. Learn a language using an App like Duolingo
  7. Listen to relaxing music
  8. Read an actual book
  9. Create your To Do list using a notebook or Apps like Evernote or Onenote
  10. Clear Your Inbox of anything trivial or extraneous
  11. Block out noise with music or an App like White Noise
  12. Brainstorm ideas for a project or plan
  13. Capture ideas using a dictation App like Speechnotes or iTalk recorder
  14. Do nothing and let your mind declutter

 Plan Ahead

The trick is to get organised in advance. Be proactive: get the right Apps on your phone, download your podcasts, save article content on your phone, pack the newspaper supplements into your bag and always carry a small notebook and pen. Ask colleagues and friends too for any ideas that work for them.

Remember that different activities may suit your mood on different days depending on the circumstances. Can you get good Wi-Fi? Do you have to stand? Do you have enough energy to focus on work?

Like all our productivity tips at beproductive.ie we recommend that you: 1) find what works best for you and 2) push yourself to try new things.

Best of luck – let us know how you get on. Contact us here to talk to us about Productivity training Contact us

Manage Your Distractions

Be Productive – Manage Your Distractions

beproductive.ie consultant Moira Dunne features again as Expert Adviser on the Microsoft blog. This month she gives advice on how to Be Productive – Manage Your Distractions. Click here to read the full article:

https://blogs.business.microsoft.com/en-ie/2017/08/23/managing-your-distractions/

ManagE your Distractions

As a business owner you value every minute of every day and you know how to get things done. You can respond quickly to customer requests and solve new problems as they arise.

Today’s technology really helps us achieve this. Who could have imagined the flexibility we would possess in a small device that can fit in our pockets. So our working lives have changed but have we changed how we work to reflect this? How can we manage distractions?

Attention Management

We used to talk about time management but nowadays the discussion has switched to attention management. We are dealing with new circumstances that require new techniques and behaviours. This sounds daunting but with a few simple changes we can control what we work on, minimise distractions and make sure we are productive.

1. Take Control

The first step is to decide that you want to change. Are you prepared to do things differently? Will you be tough on yourself?

The key to taking control of your distractions is to know what they are. To gather some real data keep a Timelog for a few days or a week. This may sound like a laborious task but you will be amazed what you discover about where your time is spent.

2. Manage YOUR Distractions

Your data will probably show you that technology is not the only distraction, people are too. This can include clients, staff, colleagues and external callers.

Human Distractions

Let’s take people first.

They can distract us: 1) because of the noise they make, 2) because they sometimes offer a fun alternative to our current work or 3) because they ask us to do something we hadn’t planned.

Here are some tips to manage these distractions:

  • When you work in an open plan office, find a quiet place to focus on important work, a meeting room or an empty office
  • If you have your own office and operate an open-door policy for your team, occasionally ask not to be interrupted. If this doesn’t suit your company culture, spend some time working at home.
  • On occasion when you are asked to do new unplanned work, don’t always say yes. Negotiate based on your priorities and their priorities

Find the correct balance between saying yes and saying no. Use your judgement, always reassessing what is best for your business. But in the pursuit of high productivity, be careful not to damage your working relationships.

Digital Distractions

Technology can push information into our lives whether we want it or not. The list of things that demand our attention is long: social media alerts, Emails, phone calls, text messages. We know this but we feel we can’t stop it.

Today’s “always on” digital culture means we can end up working in a very reactive mode, allowing others dictate our work. We can turn these alerts off but it is often easier to leave them on. We are also inquisitive by nature and we have a fear of missing out if we are not in touch.

The trick is to be strategic. Don’t give all mobile alerts the same priority. Should a “like” on Twitter distract you as much as an Email from an important client?

When you need to really focus on a task switch off your phone or hide it out of sight so you won’t be tempted to check. You can’t always do this but there may be key times in your week when you can.

The term “digital detoxification” has been coined to describe this because it is not easy. So strike a balance – be switched on when you need to be and recognise the times when you don’t.

We have lots of great tips in other posts on how to manage your Email efficiently, click here to read more.

3. Manage Your Attention

Sometimes we feel unproductive even when we have created uninterrupted time to focus on important work. Our productivity is affected by our ability to concentrate. To maintain concentration and energy levels you need to be mindful of: 1) what you eat, 2) whether you take breaks and 3) how much you rest or sleep.

When we run our own business we often compromise these factors. But if you are aware of their impact on productivity it can motivate you to make small adjustments. Even a 15 minute walk at lunch time can help maintain focus for the afternoon. Choosing a reasonably healthy snack can help power through a tough meeting.

It is also important to recognise when you are losing focus so you can quickly get back on track. These pointers can help you develop this habit:

  1. Decide what you want to work on and for how long
  2. Use frequent checkpoints to see if you are still working to plan
  3. If not make a note of what has distracted you
  4. If possible eliminate that distraction so you can return to your plan

Be Productive

So be productive – manage your distractions. When you make changes it can be hard to stick at it. If you find it hard stop and ask yourself why you can’t maintain the change. Then tweak things to suit your work environment better. Best of luck! Let us know below how you get on.

Productivity Tips Business Owners

Productivity Tips Business Owners

As a business owner you are used to working hard. But is your hard work focused on the correct goals for your business? Are you clear about what your goals should be? And even with clear goals, how can you stick to those goals while responding to your customer’s needs? Read on to learn about our productivity tips business owners.

Productivity Tips for Business owners

The challenge is to work smart and be productive. There are simple but effective changes you can make to achieve this. So here are some ideas to get you started.

1)Decide You Want to Take Control

The first step in any change process is the commitment to do things differently. Aim to protect your time for productive work. Be prepared to challenge yourself and your team. This can mean saying no to enjoyable distractions like social media alerts. It can mean pushing yourself to spend more time on the tougher tasks you sometimes avoid.

2)Know Your Environment

And to optimise how you work you need to know how you work. Understand your environment, your challenges and your distractions. What work gets priority, which customers get the most attention, what response time is expected? What percentage of work can be anticipated and therefore planned? When do you work most productively? Is it the same time every day?

You can do this by simply reflecting at the end of each day. But by using a more structured approach, like keeping a TimeLog every day for a week, you can gain further insights. The data you gather will help you decide what needs to change to improve your productivity. Here is a link to our Be Productive TimeLog template.

3)Set Priorities for Your Business

To be truly productive, you need to be clear about what is important for your business. What are you trying to achieve; what are the priorities? Does everything link back to the overall vision and strategy?

By using the SMART approach to objective setting you can ensure that all planned work is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. This can provide a purpose for every task list or project plan and clarity for everyone on your team. Read more about prioritising here.

4)Get Organised and Plan Your Week

Once you are clear about what needs to be done, develop a plan to achieve it. Have a yearly plan which feeds into the monthly, weekly and daily plans. Make your weekly plan on a Friday afternoon or first thing Monday morning. Use a “To Do” list if you find it useful but make sure it connects to your schedule so that tasks on the list are actioned and most importantly, completed.

Schedule the week using a structured approach that best suits your business and your customers. Different techniques such as batch working or timed working can help to maximise efficiency and productivity. Here is a link to our Be Productive Weekly Planner template.

5)Manage Email, Meetings and Distractions

Your TimeLog data will identify the activities that consume most time in your week.  Emails and meetings tend to be top of most lists while interruptions from colleagues can also eat into your time.

So here are some e-mail productivity tips to consider:

  • Working with email notification constantly switched on can result in the day being controlled by other people’s priorities. There will be days when you need to be constantly in touch. But ask yourself are there other days or time blocks when you can check your emails at planned intervals only.
  • Actively manage your meetings to increase the chance of productive outcomes by using a meeting process. This can include: 1) preparation beforehand, 2) use of a timed agenda during the meeting and 3) post meeting follow-up of actions agreed
  • Eliminate or reduce as many distractions as possible, even if sometimes those distractions are a welcome change from tougher tasks. But remember to be diplomatic when colleagues or clients are involved!

For more detailed advice on this check out our Email, Meetings & Managing Distractions productivity articles here:

Take Control of Your Inbox

Productive Meeting Skills

Tips to Maintain Your Focus

6)Develop New Skills and Techniques

Keep improving to make sure you stay productive in this ever changing world. Nowadays there are lots of free apps available that promote efficiency and collaboration such as Microsoft OneNote. Do some research or talk to colleagues and peers to get recommendations. Make sure you are using your desktop applications as efficiently as possible by learning relevant time-saving functionality and features.

7)Review, Analyse and Repeat

To maintain control of your time and sustain any improvement in productivity, it is important to review and analyse what you have achieved. Return to the Timelog to track what worked and what didn’t. Compare back to the baseline data you collected at the start. Improvements gained from protected blocks of time and fewer distractions can include: reduced email processing, shorter meeting times, higher task completion, increased output and productivity.

Be Productive

In conclusion, these business owner productivity tips won’t work every day or in every business. But I encourage you to take the ideas and develop improvements that will work for you. Send us some feedback in the Comments and keep checking this blog for more detailed articles over the coming months on many of the topics discussed above.

Be Productive after a Holiday

5 Ways to Be Productive After a Holiday

We spend a lot of time throughout the year trying to be as productive as possible. So we need to make sure we also get enough holiday and down time to balance this. And while switching off is fantastic, the benefit can be ruined by our struggle to get back up to speed when we return to work. We examined what we could do to makes sure we could be productive after a holiday.

Busy Week Before You Go

The week before a holiday is often the busiest week of the year. We actually become super-productive as we crack through our To Do list in an attempt to clear everything before we leave. We want to make sure that we have communicated with everyone and tied up any loose ends.

Holiday Blues after You Return

In contrast the first few days back from holiday can often be our least productive days. We find it really hard to tune back into our work. We can feel demotivated. We may still wish we were away and we don’t feel ready to resume the normal hectic pace. Even if we are happy to be back it can be hard to get our brains into gear. All those projects, details and issues that were so clear before we left can seem very blurred the first few days back.

So how can we take control and be productive after our holiday?

1. Capture Everything Before You Leave

Spend time thinking about the first couple of days back before you finish up. At this point you are really tuned into the finer details of every project or issue so this is the best time to record as much detail as you can. Prepare notes for meetings, jot down key points for reports, make draft plans for things your need to tackle that first week back. Expect to forget most of the knowledge in your head –  that is the purpose of your holiday after all!

2. Strategically Schedule Your First Days Back

Some people like to ease back into things with a low key schedule but I find the opposite works best for me.  I arrange a couple of key meetings so that I kick start myself back into a productive mode quickly. I don’t welcome this approach on the first morning back but by the end of the day I am glad.

Consider what works best for you, your role and your environment. But be prepared to challenge yourself if you need to. Try our Weekly Planner template to help you map out that first week back.

3. Capitalise on Your Relaxed Mind

If you have successfully switched off during your holiday your mind will probably be free from all the usually stress and clutter. Some of the best ideas come to mind when you can see things more clearly and objectively. So use this unique state of mind to do some creative thinking and planning. But be careful: you can sometimes be too free-thinking and unrestrained that first day back. Make sure you don’t upset anyone by speaking too openly or honestly!

4. Resume Your Routines

It can take some time to get back into productive habits when you first return. If you exercise on a regular week day try to resume the first day back to work. Enable your healthy eating habits by ensuring you have time to visit the supermarket before your first day back to set yourself up for a healthy week. Here are some tips about what foods you can eat to boost productivity What You Eat Affects Your Productivity

5. Be Nice To Yourself

If you can reward yourself for your productive return to work with an early finish time the first few days.  Maintain some of your holiday buzz by doing something you really enjoy like a cinema trip, a treatment or a (healthy!) meal out.

So have a great holiday and let me know if any of these tips work for you. And of course please share your own ideas and tips in the Comments below.

Main Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Be Productive Surprisingly Sunshine Can Help

Be Productive – The Sunshine Can Help!

Be Productive Surprisingly Sunshine Can Help

We are experiencing some fantastic weather this week in Ireland.  Here is a photo I took earlier at my local beach. The weather forecasters promise it’s going to last for a few days but in Ireland we are always a bit reluctant to believe them. The temptation is to down tools, stop work and get outside to make the most of it. Hopefully some of you have the flexibility to do that but many won’t be able to take time off at short notice.  But I bet you are already making plans to adjust your schedule so you can squeeze in some time to enjoy the sunshine. You may be getting up an hour earlier to take a walk on the beach, or starting earlier so you can finish early. Maybe you prefer to take a long lunch break and work later in the evening to allow for it.

CLEAR GOAL

But take a look at what’s happening.  Because you have a clear, tangible goal (i.e. get out into the sunshine) you much more ffocusedand productive while you are in work.  Have you set a deadline? Are you getting through more work in a shorter space of time? How are you achieving this?

Well a number of things may be happening:

  1. You are not allowing yourselves be distracted so easily
  2. You prioritise the items that are a real priority for today
  3. We take more control of our time and don’t let others distract us

PRIORITISE

And you know these are 3 great habits to use during a regular week (i.e. when it’s lashing rain and there is no rush to get home!!). Set a goal, decide a plan to achieve it, really focus when working on it, don’t let other people or things distract you and really enjoy yourself when you succeed. For more tips read our article on Planning & Prioritising in Business.

So what are you waiting for, stop reading articles online and get out into that sunshine! As ever please share any of your ideas, tips or tools in the Comments below.

If you would like further information on being productive or wish to book a Be Productive training session, please contact Moira or Ann on our Contact Form.

Be Productive Meetings Checklist

Be Productive – Meetings Checklist

At beproductive.ie we help organisations improve their productivity by providing practical training, advice, tips and tools. Meetings take up a lot of time and can really affect our productivity. So we have created a Be Productive Meetings Checklist to help make your meetings more productive.

Be Productive Meetings Checklist

BEFORE

First of all it is important to spend some time planning your meeting.

  • Invite those with a role to play (participate, learn, inform)
  • Ask for input on agenda topics
  • Circulate the agenda with any pre-reading or reference documents

DURING

Then actively manage the meeting as it takes place.

  • Set the meeting expectations
  • Agree ground rules *
  • Nominate a note-taker
  • Encourage participation from all
  • Don’t dominate the discussion
  • Keep on track, park long discussions
  • Ensure key decisions and actions are recorded
  • Recap to gain commitment & assign actions
  • Review what worked well /what didn’t
  • Thanks people for their time and contribution

* The ground rules can be as simple as switching off phones or not bringing laptops to the meeting.

AFTER

Finally make sure you maximise the good work done in the meeting by following up afterwards on actions, decisions and unresolved issues.

  • Circulate actions
  • Follow up on any parked discussions
  • Resolve any issues that emerged

Click here for a copy of our Be Productive Meetings template. For more meeting tips read our article Make Meetings Productive.

If you would like further information on Productivity or wish to book a Be Productive training session, please contact Moira or Ann on our Contact Form.

Main Photo by Climate KIC on Unsplash

SME Productivity Training

Productivity Training for SME’S

At beproductive.ie we provide SME Productivity Training. We train business owners and their employees on the techniques and tools for working smarter . As a result businesses can immediately make changes to their daily work routine. And these changes can help to improve productivity in a measurable way.

SME Productivity Training

Many large organisations have productivity programmes in place. This allows them measure return on the investment made in systems and employees..  But for many smaller businesses, processes have developed from the startup days. Consequently these processes may never have been optimised for maximum productivity.

Productivity Improvement

But efficient processes are easy to design and quick to implement. So improve productivity while also reducing employee frustration and stress. We encourage employers to involve their employees in the improvements project. Because employees are closest to the processes and often have the best ideas.

So we offer many different training options which we customise to suit your individual needs:

Team Productivity Improvement Project

This programme can:  1) provide measurable improvements in productivity, 2) foster a culture of continuous improvement and 3) decrease employee frustration by improving processes and reducing barriers to productivity.

And here is a description of the programme:

  • Productivity Training Session on the principles, techniques and tools for working smarter and being productive
  • Team Workshop to brainstorm where improvements can be made
  • Team Action Planning
  • Plan Implementation with Mentoring Support
  • Plan Review
  • Continuous Improvement Plan
  • Organisational Change Advice

At beproductive.ie we have experience of large private and public sector organisations. But we have also worked with many startups and small enterprises. We tailor our offering for the exact requirements of each business, each sector and each company culture.

SME Productivity Training

So contact us today to talk about your business and how we can help improve your productivity.

Turn Busy into Productive

How to Turn Busy into Productive

Productivity is a hot topic these days.  Everyone is busy but not a lot of people feel productive. Expectations within the workplace are higher than ever and deadlines are shorter. And with mobile technology most employees are permanently on-demand. How can we turn busy into productive?

But employees want to be productive and not just busy. They feel stressed if they can’t get on top of their ever increasing workload. And employers are frustrated too. Because despite a high investment in technology and supports they are not getting the increase in performance their investment should deliver.

Turn busy into Productive

So it is an attractive goal to be more productive, but it is not always clear how to achieve this. Firstly it is important to make sure that:

  1. The correct work is done and
  2. That the outcome of that work leads to the correct results for the business.

But the good news is that by making small changes workplace productivity can be improved quickly . The best way to do this is to encourage staff to develop the solutions themselves by engaging people at all levels within the organisation.

But before we discuss any solutions to workplace productivity let’s make sure we understand what we are trying to improve. What does productivity actually mean in today’s workplace?

Defining Productivity

The challenge in defining productivity is that it means different things in different businesses, jobs and roles. So lets start with the basics – the dictionary definition of Productivity is “the rate at which employees produce goods or complete work”.

Therefore productivity can be described as a measure of Outputs. In a company that manufactures products, it is clear what this means. The output is a measure of how many products are produced over a given period of time. This is quite simplistic and of course all businesses don’t manufacture products.

But within every role in every business, there are “Outputs” that the person in the role needs to produce. And usually the best people to define those outputs are the employees with experience of the role or the business manager to whom they report.

First of all it is important to clarify and communicate the outputs and the outcomes (i.e. business results) that each employee must work towards. That sounds like a lengthy and complex exercise but it doesn’t have to be.

Start with these questions. How can I define productivity within my business? What is a productive return on each employee’s time? What constitutes valuable work done?

Engage Employees

Motivate employees to improve their personal productivity by providing training in the key concepts of how to be productive. This includes techniques on how to efficiently:

And motivate teams to consider what they can do collectively to improve productivity. This can include simple changes such as:

  • Adopting a Meetings process to reduce meeting time and improve follow up
  • Agreeing best Email practices to reduce the number of internal processing time
  • Sharing the weekly workload so that everyone has uninterrupted “deep thinking” time
  • Identifying and eliminating the distractions within the office.

Organisational Productivity

Then an organisation needs to ensure that the correct processes are in place to sustain any productivity improvements made. Without this employees efforts will falter and they will become frustrated, stressed and disengaged.

Consequently It is important to also examine what structural or cultural changes may need to happen to support a productive workplace. The following organisational issues prevent people performing at their best .

  • Inefficient processes
  • Layers of sign-off
  • Poor decision making by management
  • Shifting priorities and deadlines
  • Lacks of clarity
  • Poor planning

By removing these barriers there is a higher chance of sustaining an increase in productivity and performance. And employee commitment also improves as people feel they positive in a culture encouraging continuous improvement and engagement.

Measuring Productivity

The measurement of productivity within roles doesn’t have to be complex. Take Email processing as an example. Productivity can be measured as: the number of Emails received each day (Input) versus the number of Emails answered each day (Output). Some other measures could include the numbers of:

  • application forms processed
  • reports written
  • performance reviews completed
  • customer problems solved
  • social media interactions
  • invoices sent

This can be too simplistic because volume measures are seldom sufficient on their own. Output measures must also take into account the quality of the output, its timeliness and its cost. Also how many people were involved. The effectiveness of the outputs is what matters, rather than the efficiency. But these examples are a good starting point when deciding your own business measures.

Productivity within Your Organisation

So embark on a productivity project that engages your employees. Encourage and support them to make small incremental changes with business outcomes and results in mind. Foster a culture of continuous improvement.  Add measures so that your return on investment and your employees commitment to the project can be clearly demonstrated.

Moira speaking at last month’s Be Productive Top Tips Seminar in BOI Workbench.

To discuss how to improve productivity in your organisation with a Productivity Seminar, Training session or Productivity Project click here or call Moira on 0868189719.