Being productive at work sounds simple – just do the best you can every day. Unfortunately, due to the never-ending demands that are placed upon us and by us, it is much more complicated than it sounds. We also get sidetracked by countless distractions while we’re at work. From home responsibilities to virtual distractions, like compulsive Facebook checking, sometimes we lose our way and focus on the not-so-important tasks. Our days end up filled with busy-ness, but not true productivity. I don’t know about you, but this bugs me. If I have a limited number of hours in the day, I want to accomplish the things that will make the biggest impact on my business.
Staying focused and following through on high-impact items takes a solid amount of commitment and accountability – accountability to the owners and partners in your organization, as well as accountability to yourself.
Whether you are working from a firm-wide marketing or strategic plan or focusing on your individual clients, possessing a commitment to personal accountability will change the game for you. Here are a few things I have found to be helpful:
Setting achievable targets, like weekly blogging, meeting with three clients face-to-face, or responding to requests within a day, will help structure your time and create a way to hold yourself accountable. Set the targets, and measure how you are doing every day. One day you may not hit your target, but you will know to make up for it the next day. This will help to keep you on task.
Another strategy is to have an overall plan. Set measurable targets for those things that have the biggest impact, and then knock them out. Things that have the greatest impact are things that you can uniquely bring to the table. These may include doing high-level technical work for a top client, mentoring staff on tough assignments, or learning more about your prospect’s needs. Know how you should best be spending your time to execute your plan, and focus on these things every day.
Pass on the activities that are not making a significant impact. Look for ways to delegate the things that can be delegated. If you feel that others aren’t qualified to take on any of your tasks, train them. Training your team should become one of your high-impact goals.
Allow yourself time to process the progress, or lack thereof, that you are making. Take time each week to evaluate what is and isn’t working. Do you need more time for some tasks and more assistance with others? Adjust your plan.
If you are working all day anyway, then why not work smarter so you can actually enjoy the fruits of your efforts?