TECHNIQUES FOR IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY

Do you know how to improve your productivity?

#high performance #professional skills #labour productivity

Time is money, and even more so in 2020. The Internet and the new technologies have brought with them immediacy, which at times turns day-to-day management and priority setting into an arduous task. Listed below are a number of techniques for improving your productivity. Take note!

Forget all that you've heard, you don't need to spend more time at work or study to be a better employee. Quite the opposite; experts in productivity, such as the British economist John Pencavel, a professor at Stanford University (USA) and author of text books like Diminishing Returns at Work: The Consequences of Long Working Hours, have shown that this old belief in fact undermines personal and professional productivity; in other words, it makes us perform less well.

WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY?

Most experts agree with Pencavel, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which brings together the world's 36 most powerful economies. In 2019, this institution stated that the key to productivity at work — which is usually measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per hour worked — is not working harder, but more efficiently.

This makes it easier to understand why, according to OECD data published in 2018, countries like Greece, Italy or Belgium recorded, in 2018, a far lower GDP per hour worked than Ireland, Poland and Latvia. Even so, although productivity is a basic component part of the economy, it can also be used to measure performance in other daily activities for which, in spite of having limited resources, we want to achieve optimum results.

BASIC TIPS FOR INCREASING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

At home, in the library or at the office, we don't need an extra pair of hands or more than 24 hours in the day to be more productive. All that is required is to follow these routines at the start of every day to improve your personal productivity:

 Prioritise
Before doing anything else, decide what your top-priority and secondary tasks are. Remember that the important always comes before the urgent.

 Make a list
This will make it easier for you to remember what you have to do and track each task. If other things come up during the day, jot them down on another list and deal with them when you can, without interrupting what you're doing currently.

 Save time
Rank your important tasks and always do the quickest first. If, for example, something takes you less than two minutes, do it and get up to speed.

 There's a right time for every task
Use your most productive hours to do the most important things and leave the more insignificant ones for the end of the day.

TECHNIQUES FOR MAKING YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE AT WORK

Productivity is not innate; in other words, it can be drilled and improved. This means that there are a number of techniques that can help you achieve it:

Getting Things Done (GTD)

The method devised by David Allen, an expert productivity consultant, is based on making it easier to store, track and review all the information related with a task.

The Pomodoro Technique

This system, which is the brainchild of Italian Francesco Cirillo, includes taking 5-10 minute breaks after every 25-50 minutes of activity and a longer rest every 100 minutes.

Focus Time

This technique, which is a variant of Flowtime and related with mindfulness, consists of focusing all one's attention on one task and ignoring all distractions.

Priority Matrix

This method establishes four types of task, classified according to their importance and urgency so as to identify which take priority, which are secondary, which can be delegated and which can be ignored.

Ivy Lee Method

The previous evening, you write down your six most important tasks for the following day in order of importance so that you can stay ahead of the clock from the minute you get up.

Seinfeld Technique

This technique involves hanging an at-a-glance calendar in a highly visible place together with a marker pen for crossing off the days on which you manage to complete all your tasks.

Jay Shirley Technique

Draw up a list of the tasks you must do today (I need to do), what is important in the long term (I should do) and what you enjoy doing (I want to do).

Marc Andreessen Technique

This technique is also based on the list concept (anti-ToDo), but turned on its head. In this case, the list is drawn up at the end of the day and contains everything you have managed to do.

Sam Carpenter Method

This technique enables you to discover your ideal biological timetable, in other words, the times of the day when you perform best, so that you can make the most of your time.

The OECD worlds most productive countries at a glance.#RRSSThe OECD world's most productive countries (at a glance).

TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS

Technology can be your best ally when it comes to improve your personal productivity. There are many apps that will enable you to manage your time better. Let's take a look at some of them:

  • Harvest: this app lets you know how much time you spend on each customer, project or personal task, as well as how to minimise periods of inactivity.
  • Toggl: this app records time as though it were a stopwatch that you start and stop whenever you begin or complete some task. It allows you to generate reports containing these data.
  • Tick: records the time you work and estimates how much longer it will take you to finish your tasks and projects. It also gives you the option of budgeting the time for a given task.
  • Todoist: this manager enables users to organise their tasks by breaking them down into projects and sub-projects, as well as giving them times and dates, setting priority levels and activating alerts.

HOW TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF A COMPANY AND ITS EMPLOYEES

Companies can also apply techniques to increase the personal productivity of their employees in such a way that this has a positive effect on corporate performance. A number of good practices are mentioned below:

 Establish clear, reasonable and measurable objectives, both collective and individual, to serve as a guideline.

 Promote internal communication to avoid duplicating tasks and detect problems that might undermine productivity.

 Use technological tools, like those mentioned above, that can help the workers increase their productivity.

 Motivate the workforce by creating a good working atmosphere and offer them the chance to train, develop professionally and enjoy flexible working hours.

In addition, the expert in leadership, Stephen R. Covey, emphasizes on his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, some keypoints in order to achieve a good organization, as the productivity is, or start a good end in mind or know how to prioritise.