It’s that time of the year when we are looking back at all that we’ve done, achieved, and managed to make better in the year that just went by. And while the year wasn’t quite the breeze we’d (naively) hoped it would be, we find ourselves feeling positive and more prepared to take on all that 2017 has to offer.
Among the many things we worked on and gave a thought to, one was the subject matter of productivity. How could we size it up in 2017? In what ways can we make all that we know about productivity more relevant for 2017? What are the innovative productivity tips and tricks for the year to come? What’s going to help us work smarter and more mindfully this year?
We asked around and pooled in all the top advice from all the productive people around us into this one post. Here’s our list of what you can do to work better and more efficiently in the year to come:
Master a routine
There is a deterministic belief across professions in the powers of following a routine, any routine. Productivity gurus have (and continue to) preach it, writers write about it and the followers of it always swear by the benefits of a disciplined and routinized way of life. We find ourselves sharing the sentiment.
The great thing about any routine is that it fine tunes your entire biological system and makes things predictable. When you train yourself to take meetings only between 11 and 1, it is unlikely that you will find yourself frazzled or unprepared for it. If you cultivate the habit of writing to do lists at the end of every Sunday, you will find yourself, subconsciously too, at times, pulling out a notepad and scribbling away the plan of action for the week.
And the good thing is, routines don’t have to be drastic in nature. We believe it’s a simple matter of controlling certain aspects of life.
Routine turns what feels like an effort into effortless actions.”
Build an attitude of ‘thinking big’
It’s not an easy time or an easy world we live in. All too often we find ourselves dragged by distractions and urgent matters. And in trying to address what’s pressing now, it’s easy to forget about the bigger goals.
This tendency, of focusing on ‘urgents’, is prevalent in organizations of every size and scale. We realize that the only way to keep coming back to what’s important is to keep the big picture in mind, always. Have it in your line of sight. Keep it coming to you like pop-ups. Write it down. Schedule updates about it. Set reminders on your project management tool. All to stick to the goal you initially set out for yourself (or your team).
What’s important, is never addressed as urgent.
Think ‘lean management’
Lean management is a progressive way of chasing big-ticket goals. It’s about focusing on incremental wins, process efficiency and working on quality of effort. And the good thing is, outcomes do not drive it. Outcomes are contingent and input driven. And because the focus is on the quality of effort, outcomes, by cosmic laws, automatically fall in the higher positive quadrant of expectations.
This year, we expect more number of organizations to insist on lean, especially start-ups and those that are in their growth phase. More so because we are seeing pronounced tendencies in today’s companies to maximize the value they draw from available resources. From better project management and tracking techniques to building skills and efficiencies within the teams, this year is going to be about how well do you improve your capabilities as an individual, team and as a company.
Incremental wins and gradual improvements create a talent/organization that’s forever relevant.”
Fact: Productivity comes from taking charge of matters at hand.
Almost every client of ours vouches for this thought. The underlying idea here is that when you approach work mindfully and with consciousness, you will find yourself more involved in it. The catch, however, is to not let action-orientedness be a moment of last-minute consciousness, although it might start as so.
Learn to make action-orientedness as a part of your behavior. Not a reaction.”
Be conscious of time
Time management has always been a hot topic in the productivity space as one of unfailing the pillars of efficiency. And once again, we will find ourselves wrestling the eternal challenge of figuring out how productively we can spend our time this year. In fact, lately, we’ve seen a rising trend among professionals who treat time as a currency, spending it cautiously and with an ROI point of view, too. We believe this is the most apt way of looking at time in today’s day and age, one that’s all about chasing quick, incremental advancements and fast innovations.
Think lean with your time. Think how you can maximize the value that can be drawn from 24 hours.”
Encourage brevity in meetings
We hate long meetings. And we are not being careless with our use of the word ‘hate’. Let’s remember that these are times when lean work is desirable. Scaling fast and quick is the only way to survive. And spending long hours on discussions which, typically, end in more meetings, is a not a productive way to scale anymore. Instead, being mindful about setting up meetings and agendas is likely to be more fruitful. We personally encourage our teams to give every meeting a day’s thought, at least, and this way, everyone comes prepared to dive into the reasoning/solution-mode right way.
Always work on the agenda of the meeting before scheduling it. If it’s matter that will take more than 20 mins, only then call in a meeting.”
Say no to collective brainstorming
Brainstorming is a passé. No organization that calls itself progressive indulges in it anymore. And for the simple reason, that collective ideation is an overwhelming process. It takes a ton amount of time, it’s instinctive and not thought-out, and the introverts always find themselves cornered for answers A healthier way to make room for discussion and collaboration is to initiate preparedness. Send a timely notification about the matter at hand. Create an online channel for discussions pertaining to it. Always give time for research and idea calibration. That way, when you do end up in a discussion room, time is spent on well-reasoned arguments.
Initiate brainstorming sessions online, ideally on a project management tool. When a few positives emerge, only then, take the discussion to a meeting room.”
In compiling this list, we stumbled upon a thought that emerged common among all.
We figure that this year is going to be about renewing all that we already know about productivity. An education in initiating improvements. And that’s sort of the whole point of productivity, anyway. To continuously learn to create better, more value and contribute to the greater good in innovative ways.