Changing your productivity at work is one of the hottest topics right now. As we are generally focused on productivity issues, we wanted to write down some of our thoughts about this matter. As a result, we have collected three useful tips which you can employ to change your productivity habits.
But, we took a somewhat different approach…
1. BE THE TOP MEETING ATTENDER
As Dale Carnegie wrote in his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the first and most important need that everyone has is to feel important. Therefore, if you want to feel fulfilled and truly change your day-to-day productivity, you must… attend each and every meeting in your company to which you are invited. If you are a corporate pro player, you can even attend the meetings uninvited.
The best meetings are the ones which have at least ten attendees from different departments. These meetings usually have no specific agenda and no intention of setting action points afterwards, which is a clear sign that the company follows a new trend called “mindfulness”. Actually, some unnamed but highly respected scientists have conducted a study which has proven that such meetings have a tremendous impact on people’s day-to-day productivity because they allow the majority of meeting attendees to lower the level of their brain activity by going into so-called hibernation mode, or even to turn their brains off completely and “recharge” their batteries so that they can be more productive after work hours.
Unmoderated meetings have also other advantages. Some people use these types of meetings to reduce the harmful level of dopamine in their bodies by grumbling a lot or being extensively aggressive. Others can boost their creativity at director-level status meetings by making up magical stories, the point of which is to create an impression that the project they are managing is still in the budget, and on schedule.
So, the conclusion is: enjoy your little MAS (Mindless Accept Syndrome) and attend each and every meeting in your company.
Also, when hosting a meeting, provide no agenda or moderation and simply allow your colleagues to rest.
And, last but not least, do not forget to appreciate the short periods of time spent in between meetings, which can even be used to start the actual work.
2. EMPLOY DISTRACTION-DRIVEN SCHEDULING
No one knows who actually invented the technique called distraction-driven scheduling (DDS), but it has been used successfully in thousands of corporations and smaller firms across the globe. The technique is so widespread because it is so simple. A day planned using the DDS method looks something like this:
- Arrived at work.
- Morning coffee.
- The morning status meeting is only 20 minutes from now. Waiting…
- Status meeting. What have I done yesterday, umm?
- Why does our status meeting last 45 minutes?
- Finally, coffee after meeting.
- Preparation for actual work. Speeding up.
- Oops, only 20 minutes left before lunch. Waiting for lunch. Slowing down.
- Preparation for actual work.
- The business meeting which was scheduled by the superior via e-mail yesterday at 9 PM.
- Preparation for actual work.
- Something so immensely important came up, and it can’t wait and must be done immediately.
- We have already had two coffee breaks today. So, maybe tea?
- Preparation for actual work.
- Finally, some time to work. Speeding up.
- Oh, it’s 5 PM, I need to pick up the kids from the school.
- Slowing down.
- Yes, another highly productive day… Thank God I have another important business workshop tomorrow, which will take whole day.
Although some psychologists suggest that employees should have something called “flow” — a highly productive portion of time in which the person is fully focused on one task — smart people know that this is just some hippie gibberish and true creativity can be achieved only in a highly distractive environment. Look at the guys on Wall Street — they work in a highly distractive environment, and how amazingly creative they turned out to be.
Another well-known fact is that creating routines and having a plan actually kills productivity, therefore DDS presents a different approach. Countless corporate projects have proven that following a plan too rigorously can lead to a project’s failure, so the new trend is to have no plan at all and be like a beautiful wooden canoe drifting unconsciously between young dolphins in the sea. Some old and wise people suggest that when they shifted the corporate philosophy to agility and stated that: “responding to change is better than following a plan” they didn’t mean having no plan at all, but what do they know about reality?
So, the final conclusion is: if you want to be super (un/over/whatever) productive at work, then you should have no plan, and only follow distractions and become a dolphin.
3. SWITCH CONTEXTS A LOT, APPLY A HIGH PRIORITY STATUS TO EVERYTHING
Talking about distractions…
Imagine the following situation. You are sitting at home and thinking intensely about something very important, you are one hundred percent focused on the task, and then, out of the blue, your husband or wife asks you about the destination of your next holiday trip. You turn your head towards your partner, but one second later get back to your task, stop listening and answer politely from time to time using words such as: “okay”, “umm”, “yeah”, “right”. Then, a minute later your partner notices that you are ignoring him/her and you have a fight.
Did you ever have such a situation? I sure did. But, why wasn’t I able to focus on two things at once or switch contexts immediately? The answer comes from a number of psychologists: people doing creative work cannot do multitasking — our brain simply does not work that way. But, fortunately, as I described in this example it only applies to situations which happen at home!
When we go to work (even remote work), our no-multitasking brain morphs into something completely different, which allows it to work on multiple things at once or switch contexts very often. When you are at work, each time you switch a context and start the task over you strengthen the connections between the synapses in your brain. The ability to do the same work over and over again gives you the possibility to do something different, better or more creative!
Unfortunately, this knowledge is not so widespread in the regular workforce, and this secret is only known among some managers. So, each time some enlightened supervisor gives you one more project to work on, distracts you with a super important urgent task or a short meeting which cannot wait, just trust her — she knows the secret, she knows what she is doing.
Moreover, multitasking can be done on multiple levels. Research shows that the companies which have dozens of projects with equally important priorities have a great advantage over the ones which have only two or three goals that they are trying to attain at once. Why is that? Obviously, when there are no true priorities the corporation expands its learning capabilities. Instead of succeeding in only one or two projects and having limited experience, they have dozens of failures from which they can learn. Ultimately, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
So, the conclusion is: do not focus, be open to distractions and assign equally high priorities to everything, and I promise you that your productivity will change drastically!
Of course, there are many things which can change your productivity at work, but we wanted to choose only the most important ones. Ultimately, they have been used by hundreds of thousands of managers in thousands of companies across the globe, therefore they must work, right?. How can we possibly disagree?
Actually, some people do disagree. Some people think that they should plan their meetings carefully or even schedule days without meetings at all. These people think that distractions do harm productivity, and they plan their days so that they can best utilize their “flow” time. They also try to focus only on the most important things, and prioritize their work accordingly. Below you can see a short video showing how they do it.
If you are one of these people, maybe you will find THIS attractive?