Sometimes productivity looks like a system that is running smoothly, optimizing efficiency, eliminating wasted time and resulting in flawlessly executed work days.
Sometimes productivity can look like a strange hack that raises suspicion and invites skepticism.
There are two types of productivity.
One is process-oriented and system-driven. Think David Allen and Getting Things Done.
The other category is driven primarily by mental processes, neuroscience, as well as the underutilized method for maximizing energy. Think Tony Schwartz or Leo Babauta.
To become a productivity ninja, you need both of these categories. There are many hacks, tricks and methods that can be used to get in the middle of these two categories.
These hacks are used by smart project managers to streamline team planning, maintain control over work schedules, and keep projects on budget.
These are the hacks.
1. Pick a system and stick with it.
We often stress over the best productivity system and end up choosing none. This causes our schedules to collapse under the pressure.
This has happened before. In a firestorm of missed deadlines, in-the red budgets, and frustrated customers, the well-planned plans of mice and men are destroyed.
It is better to choose a flawed productivity system than none at all.
If the mind is indecisive about a significant and large issue, it tends to spread to other areas.
You’ve probably heard this quote about indecision:
It is true that “the only bad decision” is indecision. But why? Psychological research supports these inspirational truths.
Researchers at Ohio State studied the confidence levels of 354 college students facing career decisions. Higher levels of confidence in smaller tasks were associated with greater confidence in larger decisions.
The bottom line is that a firm decision in one area can lead to a more effective decision-making and management of larger issues.
Parallel studies confirmed these findings, including a research project by University of North Dakota scholars. In a multivariate analysis, they found that anxiety and indecision were closely linked. Anxiety and indecision were closely related in a multivariate examination. This led to higher levels of anxiety which ultimately contributed to a loss of control.
The bottom line is that if you don’t decide on a productivity system, you’ll be worse off then if you choose the wrong one.
Simple acts of choosing and sticking to a productivity system will increase your productivity and that of your team.
Your team members will reap the benefits of the confidence you display and the system that you implement.
What system are we referring to?
A productivity system — A proven method of tackling the things you need.
A project management system — A method for tracking people, prices and projects. It is scalable and efficient. It should be able to accommodate visual project planning, project communication, as well as work schedule issues.
Implement a system, stick to it, and your team’s productivity will skyrocket.
2. Give your team members more freedom.
Micromanagement is a fast and decisive way to kill productivity.
If you are a micromanager, I ask you to rethink your actions and make amends.
Why is micromanagement possible? Ron Ashkenas, a Harvard Business Review contributor, shares two reasons why micromanagement happens
Managers worry about being disconnected.
Managers remain in the same operational territory.
Fear is the common denominator. Fear of being left out of the loop is the first. Fear of disruption and change is the second.
These feelings are a constant tug in my management roles. Both cases are resolvable by massive disruption, which allows you to face your fears fully.
Here’s how it works