Productivity: the Holy Grail of the entrepreneur, the need for the senior manager, an objective towards which all conscientious employees tend. Doing more, faster, is not a myth, and to get there, just follow these few principles …
We will start by breaking open a few doors. I talk about it because I know the question very well, and I have many years of experience in the field: you cannot be effective if you are exhausted! If you really want to be productive and become a real workaholic, you’re going to have to adopt a relatively strict lifestyle.
A little exercise …
Sports activity, if practiced diligently, has only advantages, both physical and psychological: accelerated metabolism, better quality of sleep, stabilized blood pressure, fight against stress and anxiety, etc. No need to establish an Olympic program: some cardio sessions per week will do the trick!
By having regular physical activity, you increase the amount of Adenosine Triphosphate present in the blood, therefore more energy for your body AND for your brain (ATP, it is the first energy resource of the human body)!
Who says regular physical activity also says “diet that must follow”. If you are trying to become really productive and do whatever it takes to boost your metabolism, you will necessarily have nutritional requirements a little more consistent.
It doesn’t mean that you have to increase your calorie intake inordinately, but just thatwe must ensure that we have a balanced diet.
And to finish on this little physical aspect, we obviously add sleep. It is in fact when one sleeps that the brain cleans itself deeply and purges itself of part of the toxins that it has accumulated during the day. A rested brain is a much more productive brain !
So finished watching Game of Thrones on the channel, or spending his evenings on Netflix: a herbal tea, a little reading, and a dodo!
You may be in good health, on top form, if the mind does not follow, you will never give the best of yourself. For stay motivated and continue to progress in your work, there are some essential points to be aware of…
Know what we want to do
Choose a job you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life.
Having tested a lot of jobs in the commercial, technical and marketing sphere, I can guarantee you that this is true! You can’t excel at your job if you don’t like it.
If you frequently think that you are out of place in your professional activity, you will have to seriously ask yourself the question of retraining. To persist in error is the beginning of the end: you are wasting your time.
If you have the opportunity to take a DIF or go through the “professional retraining” box, don’t hesitate for a second! There’s nothing worse than these “bullshit jobs” where boredom and gloom are the rule. Do something you are passionate about! Your life will only be better!
To fix objectives
Work to work? No way ! You work because you have goals: to be promoted, to earn more money, to help your colleagues, to become a Caliph instead of the Caliph, whatever, as long as it makes you dream!
Be careful, I’m not talking about wanting something inaccessible, because any dream considered independently of the means necessary to achieve it is only an illusion! Set a long-term goal, and cut it into sections : your goal today is to reach the next stage of your ascent in the relatively near future!
All right, that’s all very well, but how does it actually work?
To be productive, to reach the top, you have to organize yourself. All we’ve seen before is only the establishment of physical and psychological arrangements that will allow you to succeed. We will approach here the purely operational part of your daily productivity strategy …
The worst enemy of your productivity is you! Or rather, it’s how you react as soon as something stands between you and your goal. I’m not talking about an urgent problem or imperative, I’m talking about all those little everyday things that we love to do, but which are relatively time consuming…
For example : the phone ! If you are in production mode, you have to turn off your phone. Connect the answering machine, manage your reminders one hour before the lunch break and once in the afternoon, that’s more than enough.
On the email side, it’s the same: consult Thunderbird or Outlook 35 times a day, it’s useless !
A good pace for managing your emails (but this should be nuanced depending on your activity) is 3 times a day, no more ! A consultation in the morning when arriving to respond to emergencies, another a little before the lunch break to deal with requests in the morning … And a last consultation in the afternoon, period!
And as long as we talk about emails, if you have not read a newsletter to which you have subscribed more than three times in a row, then you do not need it. The next time she points her nose, click directly on “unsubscribe” to reduce unnecessary solicitations and small repetitive losses of time: there’s nothing worse to disturb your concentration than an email popping up on your screen.
And in terms of 9gag, Demotivators, Facebook and other productivity killers, the big remedies for big problems: StayFocusd for Chrome, which will allow you to block or limit the time allowed on parasitic sites, or LeechBlock for Firefox (for Internet Explorer, uninstall and take a real browser).
An optimized working environment
Put away! Store, store, store! If you have to search for a folder or a computer file 30 seconds too long, three times a day, it’s been 6 hours a year! Almost a lost day’s work! This is a basic principle of Fordism: non-productive activities should be limited as much as possible for the benefit of operations that generate wealth …
Since we are talking about productive operations, do you know Pareto’s law? It basically says that 20% of our actions produce 80% of the effects. In other words, 20% of a store’s products can generate 80% of turnover, 80% of actions on a file only deal with 20% of its problem, etc.
Of course, this remains a theoretical model, but which leads to the following point: your hourly profitability is always fluctuating ! Sometimes, within a few hours, you close a sale that will insure your month. And sometimes you spend several days on a problem that will not do much for your business.
Morality: focus on the tasks that generate income, resources, or bring the most added value to your activity.
Are you a consultant and an audit earns you 100 € an hour while the coaching tasks are 15% less profitable? Get your hands on the consultations, and get fully into the audits! Even if you have to invest 10% additional time on additional tasks, it will ultimately be more interesting!
Know how to delegate
Are you overbooked? Can you outsource a small task? Or entrust it to a colleague? Get out! It is better to focus on what requires all your skills, and pass on the small chores to a subordinate (after a brief), rather than taking care of everything yourself! In the end, everyone wins: you accomplish more, your colleague learns something, increases his skills (and you will not have to brief him next time).
Automate as many tasks as possible …
This is the royal road to maximum productivity: if you can automate a task, go for it! Even if you have to waste an hour finding the way to automate the process! If after a day it saved you an hour and a half, you have a positive ROI.
If you work a lot on a computer, I recommend the excellent IFTTT or better: iMacros. This little plugin records what you do in relatively affordable language and can repeat the thankless and gruesome work with a single click! Program and let the computer work for you ! For Firefox, it’s here, and for Chrome, it’s there.
Create a routine
Once you have defined your new work organization, settle into a routine, and periodically reassess your way of doing things: there are always things to improve! Overall, the more you discipline yourself, the more effective you will be. It will even become second nature to you!
4-Respect your biological rhythm and deal with
Your body and its physiology are subject to circadian rhythms against which we can not do much: we drag ourselves if we do not sleep enough, it is difficult to stay energetic during the first phases of digestion, we are in “diesel” mode in the morning, etc.
It is therefore necessary to organize your day by anticipating these small physiological constraints: your body is a vehicle that does nothing but its head, and you will have to adapt to it. Get to know yourself, and use strategic sense to coordinate your work at these natural rhythms.
5-Do not think that at work
And this is the best advice I can give you: don’t think about your job ! Personally, I work more than 60 hours a week, but when I’m not in front of my screen, don’t talk to me about IT! Make breaks! Real ones! Party, get drunk (not too big anyway), go out, have fun!
Archimedes spawned his famous theorem while taking a bath! And how many developers have solved a big bug by thinking of something else?
Wanting to evolve, progress, that’s great, but wanting to fly too high, you end up burning your wings …
The threat of burnout
Like overtraining, burnout happens when you do too much. It is a psychological syndrome that is similar to depression and that mainly affects stressed and overworked executives. It’s the other side of the coin when you invest too much in your work and lack recognition from your peers.
As soon as the first symptoms appear (irritability, feeling of loneliness, exacerbated cynicism, insomnia), lift your foot!
Professional life is a marathon, not a sprint. And like a long distance race, you have to know how to manage your effort, have a real strategic sense in the long term and know how to segment your work every day to achieve the expected profitability.
Do not hesitate to lose one or two days of work per year to audit your activity and correct the shot, rather than always having your head in the handlebars: we always advance better and we always go further when we have studied well its roadmap, and that we have determined the best way to navigate! We conclude with an excellent reading, a bestseller in the field of personal development: “Getting things done” by D. Allen. To study !