Summer – the beach, cricket and of course barbeques. At barbeques, people always ask what they should be doing to be more productive. It goes with the territory, and with the beer! But I reckon a better question is not what you should be doing to be more productive, but what you should be doing to be less unproductive.
Many of us have acquired lots of small habits that are less than optimal and drag our productivity down. Each on its own is not a big deal, but little by little they chip away at our focus, our proactivity and our ability to get the right work done at the right time.
See if any of the following are in your repertoire of unproductive behaviours:
- Getting stuck straight into your Inbox when you get to your desk
- Starting the day without a plan
- Reacting to email alerts
- Leaving deadlines until the last minute
- Not taking time to plan your week
- Using Reply All when you can’t be bothered to think about who really needs to know
- Lazily flicking emails forward with the helpful line ‘See below…”
- Using your Inbox as a task list
- Turning up late to meetings
- Turning up unprepared to meetings
- Telling yourself stories about how reactive your role is
- Trusting your head instead of a system
I could go on. These are all unproductive behaviours. If you turned each of these into a more productive behaviour, your productivity would increase dramatically. So, next time you meet me at a BBQ, think about the better question you could ask me. I guarantee you will get a better answer!