Four proven ways to maximize your time at work

Four Proven Ways to Maximize Your Productivity at Work.

Do you want to grow your business? If so, now is the time to amp up your productivity skills. Productivity requires time management mastery. And efficient time management is important because it will help you to focus on more important issues and less on frivolous matters. Below are four proven ways to maximize your productivity at work.

Productivity Requires Understanding the Urgent from the Important

After reading the headline above you may be thinking to yourself, “I thought Denise is talking about productivity – so why are we talking about important or urgent things?” In my experience one of the biggest new business owner struggles is knowing which issues demand the most attention immediately versus the ones which can be placed on the back burner. Below is a table contrasting urgency from importance. 

Not Important and Not Urgent Urgent but Not Important
Urgent and Important Not Urgent but Important

We will now discuss in detail each category.

Not Important and Not Urgent

Not important and not urgent are activities which can be done during moments of downtime. Examples include relabeling file cabinets or moving office furniture. Think of these as issues which will help you become more organized in the long-run but are not needed immediately.

Not Urgent but Important

The not urgent but important are actions to do but are not mission-critical. Dates or milestones are included because the action needs to be completed by a certain time. Examples include restocking office supplies, updating schedule information, or projecting future business activities. Keep these dates set in stone as shifting deadlines can cause disruptions to other business affairs.

Urgent but Non-Important

Urgent but non-important are periodic events that demand immediate action. Examples include participating in evaluation drills or COOP (continuity of operations) plans. Think of these activities as readiness plans which can help you make smart decisions if and when disaster strikes.

Urgent and Important

The urgent and important are events that have immense consequence if you are not able to respond in a quick manner. These events require actions to be done immediately when the request to act is made. Examples include threats of severe harm to a building and its inhabitants. 

What happens when everything is urgent? Everyone is anesthetized to your cries of urgency.

When to Hit the Panic Button

Business owners: It is important to respond to crisis appropriately. Hitting the panic button too often will not help you or your team members in the long run.Your job as a leader is to keep a calm head and recognize when you need to act with urgency.

I remember when I worked in FEMA, everything was a “Hair on Fire Event.” Hair on fire are crisis events which demand immediate attention. Unfortunately, everything was a crisis and no one was able to recognize which events were important  versus an overreacting team member acting like a drama king or queen.

What happens when everything is urgent? Everyone is anesthetized to your cries of urgency. Team members will neither take you nor your concerns seriously. Cynicism will build and the unfortunate few who believe everything is borderline catastrophic become anxiety prone.

On the other hand, what happens when nothing is urgent or important? Ironically, the same thing occurs in the “Hair on Fire Event.” You develop a slacker environment. Cynicism builds because nothing, including you, is to be taken seriously. When we need to communicate matters of urgency, we need to be very clear about the request and the urgency. We will know discuss how to send out messages to team members.

How to Send Out Messages

When you need to send out guidance, explicitly state the level of urgency and/or importance. For issues that are important, you should contact your employee live (in person, via phone or video) and communicate the level of importance. 

Don’t assume one message is enough, send a followup message. Include in the followup message an appropriate topic and deadline in the subject line. For example: Call Client ABC about the Widget Production by COB Friday. This tells your employee that this is an important but not urgent matter.

Avoid sending out a text message unless it is a simple command. A simple command can be explained within two sentences. The following is an example: Call the Admin. Tell her that you will arrive in the office ten minutes late. Here are some more tips on sending out clear and concise email messages.

Success at Last!

Success happens when your team members are able to execute your instructions perfectly. But keep in mind that communication is not a science. You must work with everyone to find their preferred communication medium.

Some people work better with verbal instructions while others require written or visual instructions. Get feedback from your team members along the way. 

Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication. -Dinesh Paliwal

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