This is the fifteenth piece in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about productivity. Before we get into the art of mastering productivity at work, let’s get one thing straight - more hours do not always mean more productivity. It’s possible to throw hours, days and weeks into a project and not be productive. What matters is how you use the time you’re given and how you organise and compose yourself at work. Getting this right from the beginning will serve you well throughout your career, whether you stay in your current role or move on to pastures new.
Don’t work harder, work smarter
There’s a misconception in the workforce that staying late and working more hours somehow equates to success and makes you productive. It’s certainly okay to do this when the job calls for it and you’re willing to make sacrifices for it, but more often than not it’s about working smarter, not harder. You may think that staying late at the office will impress your manager, but in reality it could be a sign that you’re not being as productive or efficient as you could be.
Don’t get us wrong. We think that dedication and hard work should be applauded, and if you’re willing to put extra hours into a project where needed you’ll surely get the thanks you deserve. This is about every day management of tasks and making the most of your time.
Productivity is about time efficiency
All of this comes down to time. Over the decades, we’ve developed technology that helps us save time. From the humble printer, right through to marketing automation strategies, all of these innovations are about maximising time. If you’re a team leader, you’re already in a unique position to start examining how productivity can be increased. Talk to your team, ask them about the pain points or progress blockers they experience in a given day. This could be anything from software or hardware issues, right through to office layouts and procedures. It could be that making some simple changes could have a massive impact on the productivity of you and your team, but it often takes somebody objective to notice.
Streamline tasks and automate
Repetition is the enemy of productivity. It’s one of the reasons we’ve devised machines to take care of mundane, repetitive tasks. If you find yourself doing the same thing day in day out, why not suggest some ways in which this could be automated or streamlined? A new piece of software might help you queue up tasks that can be automatically executed at a given time. Or some advanced planning might make the activity itself less onerous and time consuming.
To find out how you can make your time more productive at work, try and take a step back now and then and look at the big picture. What do you spend most of your time doing and what value does this have to the business? It may be important, but would your skills be better used elsewhere? Perhaps suggest a quarterly team meeting where you can all sit down and discuss office processes and time management. This alone will highlight many potential improvements that could be made, and you’ll learn a lot to take with you into your next role.