Recently, I stumbled across an incredible must-see Slideshare presentation for HR pros, by Etienne Garbugli, titled 26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20. In the presentation, Garbugli lays out twenty-six tips for harnessing and managing your productivity to maximum efficiency. Garbugli should know a thing or two about maximum productivity. At a relatively young age, Garbugli has founded two start-ups, and become a noted expert in Usability and UX.
Twenty-six is a pretty hefty number for this blogger, so I’ve pared it down and consolidated it, to seven tips on how to be more productive. It’s important for HR pros to know the ins and outs of what makes themselves, and their employees thrive. Alas, here they are.
1. Priorities are everything.
Prioritizing is a common theme in most pieces on productivity. That’s because it’s one hundred percent effective. When making to-do lists, make sure to give each task a priority number. Make one thing your most important, biggest goal of the day, and then be sure to prioritize accordingly. There’s only so much time to truly be productive in a day, use it wisely.
2. Set schedules, and deadlines for yourself.
Aside from using the time you have wisely, you need to organize your time thoughtfully as well. Have a routine for work each day, and stick to it. The tasks you perform may change drastically from day to day, but the time you do them doesn’t have to. If you have a big project you’re working on, break it into chunks, and give yourself a deadline for each one. That way you can reflect your schedule to accomplish these tasks. Deadlines will help inform your schedule, and give you the pressure you sometimes need to get things done.
3. No matter how much time you set aside, there is a limit on work you can accomplish in a day.
As I’ve mentioned before working overtime, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more done. Some of the most productive people agree. Included in the Slideshare, was a related quote by David Heinemeier Hansson, a partner at the cloud software design firm called 37signals, and a famous developer.
“Only plan for four to five hours of real work each day.”
4. Don’t Force it.
You can’t force creativity, or productivity. So if you’re pushing and pushing, and nothing’s coming, sometimes it’s time to take a break. It’s totally normal to get excited for certain projects and get in the zone. Others you have to pump yourself up for. Another slide included a quote from Alain Paquin, from Whatsnexx.
“It’s normal to have days where you just can’t work, and days where you’ll work twelve hours straight.”
Instead of trying to force yourself to get productive on those days, do something you enjoy to refresh yourself.
5. Don’t multitask, focus on each task individually instead.
If you have a deluge of minor tasks that need to get accomplished, don’t try and do them all at once. Attack each task separately, and focus. It will reduce time spent on each task, and thus make you work faster as a whole.
6. Plan meetings strategically.
Nothing kills an employees productivity like having to stop in the middle of something to go to a meeting. Or just not getting into the zone at all, because they know a meeting’s coming. One way Garbugli mentioned that you can avoid this, is to plan meetings for first thing in the morning. That way, when they’re done, you can go on with your day without fearing that meeting looming.
“A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces, each too small to do anything hard in.” Says Paul Graham from YCombinator.
7. Write everything down.
Use the ample technology at your disposal, namely apps, to remind you of even the most mundane tasks you need to accomplish. This will not only jot your memory, but keep you on task. Steven Corona from Twitpic even recommends writing down the things that distract you. This will help you deal with your distractions when you’re not attempting to be productive.
Productivity or Bust!
The myth that “there’s never enough time in a day” is a pervasive one. With proper prioritizing, time-management, intuition, and organization, you can accomplish most things you put your mind to. HR pros should take note, and help employees follow suit!