Business Magazine

7 Counter-Intuitive Insights On How To Get Things Done

Posted on the 29 January 2016 by Martin Zwilling @StartupPro
The Productivity Project
  1. Slow down and work more deliberately. For most people, trying to work faster means trying to do multiple things concurrently. Research shows the result of multitasking is a focus on what’s in front of us only 50 percent of the time. Constant task switching kills efficiency, and usually more than offsets the value of multitasking. Slow down and focus.
  2. Schedule less time for important tasks. When you limit how much time you spend on an important task, you create urgency around the task, overcome your urge to procrastinate, and dive in with more energy and focus. The result should also be fewer total hours at work, improved health, as well as improved productivity and attitude.
  3. Define more activities as unimportant. All business tasks are not created equal. Yet many business people continue to be distracted by the crisis of the moment or a peer request for help, rather than focus on work more critical to their success or the business. This classification of activities requires an overt effort, but pays back in productivity.
  4. Prioritize daily only the top three results required. Thinking in threes allows you to keep important activities on top of mind, and better manage your time, energy, and attention. Trying to create and manage a long list of priorities, in concert with daily distractions, leads to mental thrashing, fatigue, and lower productivity on all items.
  5. Strive for imperfection on key activities. Perfection is not an affordable target on most business tasks. Yet many people continue to work well beyond the point where they are “good enough.” The most productive follow the Pareto Principle, which asserts that 80 percent of the results comes from 20 percent of the effort. Don’t be a perfectionist.
  6. Keep potential distractions at least 20 seconds away. This 20 second rule, studied by psychologist Shawn Achor, asserts that if we move more than 20 seconds away from snacks, cell phones, or peer questions, our focus will remain on critical tasks and efficiency will increase. Distractions are the enemy of productivity. Move away from them.
  7. Eliminate unproductive procrastination. Productive procrastination is doing some lower priority activity to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. Unproductive procrastination is wasting time and effort, pretending to be busy, organizing your desk, checking email, surfing the internet, or taking another break. Reduce procrastination.

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