3 Ways To Be More Productive At Work

Activity Doesn’t Equal Productivity

Have you ever walked by an employee who was busily shuffling papers and moving items on their desk? They manage to look as though they have a million things going on yet are the most unprepared at meetings and often miss deadlines.  As a manager, you do not have the luxury of just “looking busy” – you ARE busy.  As a great manager, you must know how to manage your time, so you meet deadlines and accomplish tasks.  How do you do it?

As a manager, it’s all about speed and efficiency.  The faster you can successfully complete your day to day tasks, the faster you can get to the projects that truly require your time and attention.  Undivided attention is a premium in the world of management but is required for successful projects.  In the world of business, multitasking is not productive.  So, here are 3 ways to be more productive at work, so you can focus on what really matters:

Turn Off Your Notifications

Hey you…  Yeah you.  Stop staring at your phone.  As a leader there is nothing worse than always looking at your phone.  If you’re connecting with your phone, you are not connecting with your team.  Your projects will also suffer from the lack of attention.  A simple glance to check the latest notification will take you off track when working on a project, and you will have to waste valuable time getting back on track.

Avoid Email

There is no one thing that sucks up more of your time out of your work day than email.  There is no need to check your email so often.  Once mid-morning and once at the end of the day is more than enough.  If something is truly that important, it deserves a phone call.  In most cases a 2-minute phone call can save countless minutes of back and forth emails.

Create Check Lists

Create daily and/or weekly check lists, not to-do lists.  This will save you and your team time and help to avoid errors.  It will also free your mind from the pressure of remembering mundane tasks, so you can focus your attention on the important business you have to complete. Simply check the boxes as you go, and you will know it was completed right the first time.  It will happen you don’t complete everything on your list.  Move it to the top of the next day’s list and commit to completing it.  More often than not, an incomplete check list is due to poor planning or unrealistic prioritizing.  Find a system that works for you and stick to it.  It will save time and stress.

It’s all about maximizing your time.  Can you use your commute to check the news, read the latest article, or even check your email so you don’t have to take time away from your work day?  Take a closer look at your day and you’ll realize there are plenty of ways to re-gain time.  For example, do your daily meetings really need to be an hour long, or can you cut it down to 30 minutes by staying on point.  So, turn off your notifications, avoid your email, create check lists, stop reading this, and get back to work. Break time is over!

3 Quick Ways To Jump Start Your Career

Sometimes we all feel we are in a rut, both in our personal and professional lives.  You may feel you are stuck in your current position with no chance for advancement.  This is even more reason to work on your professional development.  Create your own opportunities and watch the doors open up. Here are 3 quick ways to jump start your career.

Communication

I can’t stress it enough…  Communication is the key to your success.  How you talk to your team, your leadership, even your clients, will determine how you progress in your career.  The impression you make on someone with what you say, and how you say it, may mean the difference between landing that contract or not.  Be confident in yourself, supportive of the team, and respectful of other’s time.  Speak succinctly and in terms understood by all.  There is no need to show off your voluminous vocabulary!

Request Feedback

It may sound like a simple thing, yet it is rarely done.  Even as a manager, you will report to someone.  Do not hesitate to ask for their advice.  Find out what you can do to increase your productivity.  Chances are, they will be more than willing to assist you.  This also will help you when your team comes to you for feedback.  You will realize someone was there for you, and now you can do the same.  Just keep your requests to what you really need help on.  Start to ask about every little thing, and people might question your ability.

Manage Your Time

Create a schedule and stick to it.  This may seem obvious and, yet, it does not get done.  Create a list of tasks and organize them by priority.  Be conscious of the time you spend on any task.  It is not necessary to check your email every few minutes.  Once in the morning and once in the afternoon is fine.  Check them, respond to them, and file them.  Never touch the same email twice.  You can use this same philosophy with memos, files, and other paperwork throughout your day.

There are plenty of ways to advance your career, but if you are looking for a quick jump start…  work on your communication, request feedback, and manage your time.  It sounds simple because it is.  You will see improvement right from the start.

3 Things A Good Manager Should Never Say

Every manager wants to be a leader:  someone everybody looks up to, respects, and exceeds all expectations.  You will find this easier said than done.  As a manager, you already (hopefully) possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude to be successful.  Just as important, if not more so, than the “hard skills” are the “soft skills”. These include, especially, the way you talk to other people.  Here are 3 things that should never come out of your mouth:

No Problem

During each day, you talk to countless people.  You can’t expect to consider every word that comes out of your mouth.  However, one phrase you should avoid is, “No problem.”  Each time you say this, you are implying that person’s request would have been a problem. In addition, by uttering these two little words you may be also be committing yourself to something which may not be in your best interest, or your company’s.  Sometimes, just the word “no” is all you really need.

I’ll Try

Cast your mind… you ask your manager if he can attend a presentation you’ve scheduled with a client that potentially could move your company to the next level.  You’ve done your research, prepared slides, printed copies of the reports – you feel like the master employee.  The only thing missing is your manager to pull it all together and now he says, “I’ll try.”  Stunned, you do what any great employee does:  You promise yourself you will never say those words when you become a manager!  Some phrases just don’t work in management, and “I’ll try” is one of them.  It lacks confidence and commitment and it conveys the message you are purposely leaving yourself an out.  If you want your employees to be as dedicated as you are, start saying, “I will”.

No Fair

As my wife says…  “Suck it up buttercup.  Life’s not fair.”  Telling someone, “It’s not fair” implies you feel life is supposed to be fair, and that is just not the case.  In fact, it makes you seem naive.  There are going to be plenty of things in your career you don’t feel are fair.  Still, you need to face them head on and find an alternate route to get what you are looking for.

Just for fun visit https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-32-dumbest-things-that-real-life-managers-said/ for a link to some amusing (or not so much) comments uttered by managers.  Put yourself in the shoes of the employees who received these gems and learn to think before you speak!  Continue to strive to be the best manager you can be.  Work on removing these phrases from your conversations.  Pay close attention to phrases your co-workers use, and see how they make you, or others, feel.  Your personal reaction to something said to you is a pretty good indicator of how another person would feel if the words were uttered BY you.  Remember the old saying: “Do unto others” and you’ll be a leader who always says the right thing.