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Tag Archives: productivity at work

Get things done

David Allen has influenced people all over the world with his best-selling book, Getting Things Done. What can we learn from his methods? I’ve highlighted seven key lessons for increasing productivity, each and every day:

1. Focus on your workspace

Where you work is important. Set up your workspace so that it is your “cockpit of control.” That means everything is intentionally organized and you have efficient, instant access to information or tools you need.

2. Don’t multi-task

Focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention. Multi-tasking ultimately slows you down because your attention will be disjointed and you may not complete tasks to the best of your ability.

3. Cut down on distractions with a Thought Bucket

When you’re working on a specific task and something else comes to mind, jot it down in your “Thought Bucket.” That way, you won’t lose your thought and it’s less likely to control your mind. Every week, take a look at your notes in the Thought Bucket. Remove unimportant items, complete 2-minute tasks, and plot out appointments/deadlines in your calendar.

4. Break down goals

If you’re staring down a big-picture goal, it may seem intimidating (and you may turn and run the other way!). Instead, break down your goals into bite-sized pieces and tackle those pieces one at a time. The most urgent step on the project list goes to the Next Action list.

5. Pay attention to time-sensitive items

Allen suggests keeping track of time-sensitive tasks in something called the Tickler File. Use this file to set reminders for deadlines that are coming up within the next 31 days and also 12 months into the future.

6. Keep a Someday/Maybe list

Dare to dream. If you have ideas for projects you’d like to tackle or initiatives you’d like to start in the future, keep track of them on your Someday/Maybe list.

7. Regularly update your information

Allen suggests reviewing and updating all lists weekly. In his view, daily to-do lists are inefficient because of their warped view of time. Weekly lists help you think “bigger picture,” but do not overwhelm.

How about you? Are you a list-maker? How do you organize your day/week/quarter/year? Do you tend to multi-task or lend your focus to one task at a time? If you’re finding that your current system isn’t working, you may want to give David Allen’s a try!

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Copyright Margaret Smith, UXL: Creating Successful Leaders

One of the activities I often use in my career-based workshops is one that involves your personal highs and lows. It gets you thinking about your greatest moments and your worst moments, the times you felt like you were on Cloud 9 and the times when you felt like just throwing in the towel.

The reason I enjoy giving this activity is because it gives direction; it makes you realize what you like most about your career, what you like least, and what really, really needs to change. It also helps give you a voice–to ask for what you don’t currently have. Not finding the support you need at work? Seek it out. Not finding your optimal productivity? Think of when you were most productive and figure out how to recreate that environment.

This activity will give you a good starting point, but it may take some further detective work and guidance to truly figure out the next steps you need to take to be happy at work. I’m here to help with those next steps. In the meantime, take ten minutes out of your day to reflect and spend meaningful time on the following activity. Enjoy!

Grab a pen and paper and jot down a few sentences in response to the following prompts. Then, spend some time thinking about what your answers mean and write down an action plan to achieve your best self.

1a. Think of a time when you were the most productive. What were the circumstances and why do you think you were highly productive?

1b. Think of a time when you felt the least productive. What were the circumstances?

 

2a. Think of a time when you felt a strong sense of belonging or community. Write about it.

2b. Think of a time when you felt the least sense of belonging. Write about it.

 

3a. Think of a time when you were learning the most. What were you learning? How did that time feel?

3b. Think of a time when you were learning the least. What were the circumstances?

 

4a. Think of a time when you were having the most fun. Why do you think that was?

4b. Think of a time when you were having the least fun. Why?

 

It is important to give yourself time to reflect and think about these questions, but it is just as important to create an action plan after you’re done reflecting. What areas matter most to you? Do you care about productivity, but are not concerned with learning? Do you want to prioritize a sense of belonging in your life and career? List some ideas that will help you maximize your priority areas.

If you’d like to discuss this activity, or if you have any questions, please reach out and contact me at any time.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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