The Path to Op­ti­mis­ing Your Pro­duc­tiv­ity


The term “pro­duc­tiv­ity” has be­come the most clichéd of all cor­po­rate clichés, fol­low­ing closely in the foot­steps of top con­tenders “syn­ergy” and “out of the box” of course. But this as­tute ob­ser­va­tion did not nev­er­the­less de­ter me from us­ing this word in the ti­tle be­cause of ma­jor tech­ni­cal rea­sons that I can only dis­close once you’ve read the en­tirety of my piece. Hu­mans have a gen­eral ten­dency to think they can ac­com­plish a cer­tain task in much less time than it ac­tu­ally ends up tak­ing, a phe­nom­e­non for­mally known as the plan­ning fal­lacy. You can pre­vent this by set­ting re­al­is­tic goals and rea­son­able time frames while set­ting up your sched­ule. Yes, you need to be men­tally and phys­i­cally pre­pared for what­ever task that is thrown at you. But this is no valid ex­cuse for you to morph into a char­ac­ter­less cor­po­rate ro­bot. Never think that let­ting go of your in­di­vid­u­al­ity in favour of an ideal ‘good em­ployee’ im­per­son­ation is the way to im­press your su­pe­ri­ors, or peo­ple in gen­eral. The only char­ac­ter you should be play­ing is you. Make it count! Are you turn­ing into a chronic pro­cras­ti­na­tor? It’s time to make con­scious changes. Try to

visualise the end prod­uct of each of your tasks be­fore get­ting down to busi­ness. This will tidy up your mind and help you achieve con­sis­tency through­out your work.

Fil­ter down your clus­ter of in­for­ma­tion to a one-page out­line you can eas­ily nav­i­gate. Di­vide your ma­te­rial into clear, un­der­stand­able and com­pat­i­ble parts to main­tain a good flow of work and thoughts.

No hu­man be­ing is ex­pected to be a walk­ing, talk­ing know-it-all. If there is some­thing you do not know or un­der­stand, then noth­ing should stop you from ask­ing for help as this will save you an aw­ful lot of time and en­ergy. Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent work rou­tines in or­der to ul­ti­mately find your best (bear­ing in mind that what’s best for you to­day may not be the best for you at a later stage). This in­cludes ev­ery­thing from sched­ul­ing your daily tasks to what food to bring for lunch. You need to min­imise dis­trac­tions in or­der to main­tain your fo­cus. This in­cludes elim­i­nat­ing the de­bil­i­tat­ing urge to check your so­cial me­dia chan­nels ev­ery two sec­onds while work­ing on an as­sign­ment.

While you should al­ways strive to fol­low in­struc­tions and de­liver sat­is­fy­ing re­sults, you wouldn’t want to be con­sumed by an in­sur­mount­able bulk of work that will leave you phys­i­cally and psy­cho-emo­tion­ally drained by the end of the day. Let your su­per­vi­sor know when­ever you feel un­able to keep up and do not just let it slide.

It’s a tight race be­tween you and the clock. Make sure you have what it takes to win.

There is no such thing as a *per­fect* end prod­uct. Stop want­ing to im­prove and em­bel­lish stuff at the last minute. Learn when to stop and move on to some­thing new or else you might very well end up stuck with the same task for the rest of your ex­is­tence.

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