Making Productivity a Priority

Five tips for increasing your team’s productivity

There is no doubt that you are busy.  “Busy” has become the state of our work and personal lives, and thanks to technology, there seems to be no sign of this constant state of “busyness” stopping in the immediate future.  Unfortunately, being busy does not equate being productive, and often the two separate concepts become interchangeable and true productivity gets lost in shuffle.  In order to clear the haze and get you and your team on a direct path to productivity, here are five simple efforts you can make now to ensure that you are using your time, and team, wisely:

  1. Get on the Schedule – Time and time again, action items that do not get scheduled do not get done. As contractors, getting projects on the schedule is part of the process; after all, there is a contract in place.  While projects are designed to meet certain deadlines, other action items (especially those outside of the normal routine) have a tendency to get delayed if not on a schedule.  If you are not already using task management software, at the very least you should have a task list for tracking actions, assignments and due dates for everything from marketing campaigns to reporting.
  2. Press “Pause” – This one is a tough one for most of us but is truly essential for completing tasks. In order to be fully present and engaged in a project, you must block time aside for certain activities and priorities.  For this reason, you should find time to pause email, phones and devices for a specified period of time; this means that you hold calls and avoid checking your phone for the latest text or email that has come in.  Seems impossible, right? Just give it a try – You will be surprised by how much you can get done in one hour or more of uninterrupted time.  By making an effort to isolate certain time periods for certain tasks, you will be able to tackle projects with 100% effort instead of splitting your attention and energy several ways.
  3. Be Accountable – In order for scheduling (see #1) to be effective, you must hold everyone in your company accountable. If someone is assigned to a particular task and due date, there needs to be follow up or a system for reporting that will hold them accountable.  When a task isn’t completed, it is less often about laziness and more about a lack of system or organization.  Everyone can easily be sidetracked with too many action items, and by having a clear and solid system for reporting and accountability in place, priorities and expectations can be transparent and easily managed.
  4. Set Realistic Goals – It is perfectly acceptable to “dream big”, but when it comes to setting goals, you will want to be sure that they are realistic and attainable. High level goals are important for setting the long-term vision, but to reach them, smaller steps and goals should be in place.  Too often, long-term goals will not be broken down into stages, and this can lead to frustrated, unfocused and unproductive team members.
  5. Give Rewards and Incentives – While a more organized team with schedules and realistic goals will certainly be more productive, incentives will sweeten the deal and make the ride more enjoyable. By rewarding team members and showing your appreciation for their achievements (even the small ones), you can provide the encouragement and positive reinforcement necessary to build team morale and make productivity a habit rather than an effort.


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