Friday rolls around quite quickly when you are busy but there is a difference between being busy and being productive. Holding a leadership position is difficult enough, but if you fail to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, then it becomes even more challenging.
Neuroscience has shown us a lot about how the brain works and why some of the traditional productivity boosting tips work better than others. Let’s take a look at 5 tips which work and start to understand why.
1. Make a list
At the start of the week or at the end of the previous week (schedule permitting) you need to sit down and make a to-do list. Don’t kid yourself that you will remember all the things that you need to do because that just takes up more of your time. If it is your intention to enable your team or organisation to be the best it can be, then being organised is the best way to achieve it. A list will allow you also to prioritise your responsibilities more effectively.
Why does it work? The conscious mind can only cope with remembering a few items at a time. Add in a new task to remember and an old one slips out of your head. Your subconscious mind will keep niggling away underneath, trying to keep you on track. By writing everything down, you ease the pressure on yourself and your mind can relax.
2. Reduce distractions
There are many disruptions during the span of a day that can take your focus off what you are meant to be doing. So if you are working on a project which needs all of your focus, then do just that. Shut your door. Switch off Facebook. Close down your email. Reward yourself with the necessary time to do the best job possible. Your emails will still be there when you are done.
Why does it work? When you try to focus on just one thing, your brain produces a chemical called noradrenaline, which helps you concentrate on the task at hand. In effect, your focus is turbo charged!
3. Say no
This can be a big issue for many leaders. You maybe want to please those colleagues above and below and have a tendency to say yes to whatever appears on your desk. But sometimes that can be to your personal detriment, not to mention increase those stress levels. If you are having a particularly busy week or are behind in your projects, then allow yourself to say no in order to give you time to at least catch up or complete a task. Rushing through your day will benefit no one.
Why does it work? It frees your mind to concentrate on the things which are really important. It eases pressure on you which in turn, boosts your ability to be productive.
4. Reduce meeting time
Much of a leader’s time is taken up in meetings and many of them are unnecessary or go on for too long. Don’t be afraid to specify a time limit to your meetings so you can get your work done – you can probably find you can halve the time and make them more productive if everyone understands you are time limited to begin with. Or if a meeting can be summed up in an email, get someone to attend on your behalf. You can’t be everywhere or do everything at once, again prioritisation is important.
Why does it work? The brain has an incredible ability to focus when a task must be done within a specific time frame.
5. Just do it
Negativity can slow down a task – it may never be as good as you want it to be, or perhaps it could do with some finishing touches. Shut out that negative talk and march on boldly doing the best you can. Negativity is generally followed closely by procrastination which can put a whole damper on a week’s worth of productivity. If you need a second opinion, certainly ask for one, but don’t spend too much time overthinking your tasks unnecessarily.
Why does it work? Taking a physical action is enough to shock the brain out of the mental loop it may be stuck in as it assesses both sides of the argument.
So when Friday rolls around again, this time analyse your performance. If you have applied any of these 5 tips, assess your success and how you feel about it. Remember that, as leader, you are the role model for your team. If you can find a way to boost your own productivity, you’ll find the way to help your team members boost theirs.
If you are looking for even more ways to increase productivity in your organisation get in touch today!
About Sonia McDonald
Sonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.
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