With a deluge of emails, calls, texts, tweets, employees and clients continuously bombarding you, it’s difficult to stay productive.
To survive and thrive, try these 7 things to have an incredibly productive week.
Juntae DeLane, Digital Brand Manager for USC, strategist, and speaker had a goal to become more productive by doing less. In DeLane’s own words, “Eliminating distractions was the first tactic I attempted to increase my productivity. I know this is easier said than done–especially when working in digital marketing. Checking emails, social media messages, and website analytics every 15 minutes has become an unavoidable daily habit.”
Plan for Success
Recognized author, productivity expert and speaker, Laura Vanderkam shares “Plan your weeks before you are in them. Friday afternoons are a great time for this. Make a 3-category priority list: career, relationships, self. Making a 3-category list reminds you that there should be something in all 3 categories! It can be short, 2-3 things in each, but listing these priorities and plotting them into the next 168 hours, increases the chances that they get done.”
Pro tip: Look for ways to be (strategically) seen during the day by grabbing lunch or coffee with someone rather than taking care of your email inbox. If dinner isn’t in the cards due to family schedules, go out for breakfast.
Become a High Achiever
Wharton professor and bestselling author, Adam Grant argues that high achievers tend to be Givers — those who enjoy helping others without attaching any strings.
While giving can certainly help you succeed, Grant’s data and book Give and Take also reveals that helping everyone with everything is a recipe for failure.
So how do you strike the right balance?
Grant’s advice: Top performers avoid saying yes to every helping opportunity. Instead, they specialize in one or two forms of helping that they genuinely enjoy and excel at uniquely.
Conquer Calendars and Schedules
Samuel adds, “Doodle eliminates those threads by polling people on their available call or meeting windows, so you can arrive at a mutually convenient time without endless back-and-forth. If you find yourself setting up a call with more than two or three other people, please just Doodle it instead of emailing.”
Realize Timing is Key
If you follow Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson, you have read how being punctual has served him well during his 50 significant years in business.
In addition to being respectful to your coworkers, friends, or significant other, Branson writes that this practice also helps you stick to your day’s schedule.
From his point of view, “Once you get behind, it is hard to catch back up again. Being punctual doesn’t mean rushing around the whole time,” he explains. “It simply means [arranging] your time effectively.”
Leverage Travel Technology
Carly Knobloch, digital lifestyle expert, reminds us that adopting the right technology can be life changing. Knobloch’s example for those who fly, “With airline tickets costing as much as they do, and all the cross-country flights I take being so darn long, I never want to be stuck with a bad seat. Enter your flight information into Seat Guru and it will show you a map of the entire plane, rating each seat and letting you know which are the best and worst of the bunch. Want to know which are too close to the bathroom, which have outlets, which are close to the (freezing cold) exit row door, and which don’t recline. Seat Guru has your back.”
Pro tip: For everyone traveling by car – Knobloch introduces us to Hum by Verizon. From her review, “Hum turns your dumb car into a smart one by adding tons of diagnostic features (so you can know, at a glance, what those engine lights mean), and roadside assistance with the push of a button. To my eye, it’s biggest selling feature is a chaperone for teens, but maybe that’s because I’ll have my first driving child in about a year: Hum will monitor their driving speed, and set up boundary alerts, and pin-point the car’s location with a single tap of it’s companion app.”
Learn To Write More Quickly
Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer at the MIT, describes his strategy for writing faster than top editors can edit. Pozen explains, “When it comes to writing something longer than an e-mail, the key is to first figure out your argument. If I don’t fully understand my line of argument, I cannot write even a paragraph.
To do this, compose an outline before writing. For an article or a memorandum, that means just four or five key points with a few sub-points under each. I’ve seen many executives realize what they wanted to say only after they had written a lengthy draft. That is unfortunate. You should know where you will end up before you start.”
Pro tip: After composing an outline, write the concluding paragraph. That will tell you whether you really know where your article or memo is going.
Now it’s your turn
In the comments section that follows, take a moment to share one of your favorite tips that has helped you become more productive.