Everyone is looking for ways to boost productivity and make the most of their time to the point where some young workers are abusing stimulants normally used to treat A.D.H.D., The New York Times reports. Before anyone resorts to popping pills, check out these four tips to plug productivity leaks from Anne Grady, author, corporate leadership expert and expert in personal and organizational transformation.
Retrain yourself and others to make the most of your time
Anne built her business as a leadership consultant to top companies while raising a severely mentally ill and dealing with the challenges we all face in balancing work and family life. The experience prompted her to write her book 52 Strategies for Life, Love and Work. She details her 4 steps to plug productivity leaks:
Do a Brain Dump – We cannot keep nearly as much information in the forefront of our minds as we think we can. That’s how we get overwhelmed, distracted, and forget things. Once a day, make sure you do a brain dump. Get everything out of your head and onto a piece of paper or into a document. Write things down as you think of them, and devote five or 10 minutes a day to getting it out of your head and onto paper.
Manage Interruptions – It is estimated that each interruption wastes between 10 to 15 minutes, including time to re-engage in the task we were doing before we were interrupted. Anne’s solutions include turning off technology distractions for times when you need to focus, and training family friends and co-workers that is not OK to interrupt you during these times. Tell people that if they need something, unless it is an emergency, you can help them before or after the time you’ve carved out to be uninterrupted. She also explains how to track interruptions so you can limit them.
Eat Your Frog – Anne recommends the strategy first suggested by Mark Twain “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, nothing else will seem that bad for the rest of the day,” and promoted by Brian Tracy in his book Eat That Frog. You’re your most distasteful task of the day and get it done first: If you can’t eat the whole frog, set a timer for 30 minutes and eat a frog leg. Do as much as you can in 30 minutes and feel good about getting some of it done.
Take Control of Technology – I don’t know why, but the ‘You’ve Got Mail’ notification is like crack. As soon as we see it, we have to check. Why? If something is that urgent, email is not the best way to communicate. Turn off your email reminder. If you can, dedicate a couple of times a day to check email and return voicemails.
“Remember, you train people how to treat you,” Anne says. “It doesn’t mean you’re not responsive. It means you have the ability to re-define what responsiveness looks like.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Grady is an author, corporate leadership expert, and expert in personal and organizational transformation. With humor, passion and straight talk, she grew her business as a nationally recognized speaker and consultant while raising her severely mentally ill son. Anne shares lessons she has learned in her new book, 52 Strategies for Life, Love and Work.
For more information, visit AnneGradyGroup.com.