I know, I know, I know … if you read one more thing about productivity, you’re going to shut down and say, “The hell with this!” Before you disappear into no where’s land, let me express to you how important productivity is. Productivity has been an important component of my career for over 12 years now. I started out as a production scheduler (for 3 manufacturing plants) juggling so many balls in the air at once trying not to drop any one of them. After a while, that got very old and extremely tiring. I had to figure out how to go from 0 to 100 real quick (hello. Drake)!
Early on in my career, I realized that I had a duty to myself to make the best of the many situations I had to multi-task on a daily basis. We all know that most people aren’t hired to do the job they were hired to do …say what now? Yep, that’s right…you have to go above and beyond now a days. So, what did I do? I learned and observed from several co-workers how they did their work and I figured out a way to do my work in a shorter amount of time. Basically, I learned how to create systems. Now, don’t be afraid of systems … it’s just another word for processes and I absolutely love that word!
If you can figure out a system, process, or routine for the things you do repeatedly, you should over time become more and more efficient at it. Productivity should definitely improve if you are focusing on the right aspects of the process. So, Jennifer, how does this productivity improvement really work? I mean, how can this be applied in my everyday life? Well, it’s totally up to you to make this work. Think about where you are spending so much of your time every day. Is it at work? At home? On social media? Watching TV? Now, I’ll warn you, if this is the first time you’ve ever tracked this, it will be a SHOCKER! The first time I did this exercise, social media and TV was a huge time sucker, as well as, driving my car. Once I knew where my time was going, I made actions gradually to change these habits. Why? Because I needed an improvement in my life. No matter what environment or situation I’m in, I always follow these 3 steps to increase productivity:
1. Reverse engineer everything and create systems
I mentioned created systems above and this has shown me a huge improvement over the years. Creating systems are very similar to having experience with something because once you do this a couple of times, it becomes routine and automatic. Now, reverse engineering is a little different because if you don’t know how to do something, this is a great method to figure out how to do it and not waste valuable time. The key here is to work backwards to save time and be more productive rather than struggle forward.
2. Turn off the friggin notifications
That darn social media! I couldn’t believe how much time I was devoting to my social media platforms. Because I solely ran my previous business on social media, I was literally glued to my phone and laptop quite a bit. It was all hours of the day. I had to learn to schedule dedicated times to post, interact, and respond to inquiries on the platforms. It can honestly be quite overwhelming, but once I decided to turn off notifications—hallelujah!
3. Take time for self-care
This is the most important step because without self-care you will not be the best version of you. Take time to sleep, nap (my fav), eat, exercise, and journal (my 2nd fav). There are countless other means to self-care, but these are the ones that I do the most frequently. I like to think of it as ebbs and flows. When I’m feeling defeated and burned out, I may take a nap to recharge. Once I wake up, I’m like a 5 year old at Chuck-E-Cheese … well, maybe a 7 year old—you get the point! You will be surprised how much more productive you will be and how much more you can give to others when you take the time to take care of you.
Make a commitment to doing daily, small actions to see a change in your productivity. If you decide to try one of these three steps, let me know how it goes.