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Productivity is a 4 Letter Word

Raise your hand if you are always pressing your team to get things done. The list of un-replied emails is ever growing, projects barely squeak in through the deadline, there is constantly something urgent. If only your team were more productive with their time, they wouldn’t be in a constant state of emergency and delay, right?!

Wrong! I am here to help you pick up that idea and toss it out the window. Hopefully you are in a tall building, because I want that idea to smash into tiny pieces. From now on “productivity” is a four-letter word. Yes, productivity is important – you and your team need to get sh*t done. But I want you to think of time as being “affective.” How can we all be more affective with our time?

Becoming more affective with your time is not about working harder, but working smarter.

Determine the resources needed to get the work done. How many people and how many hours? If you have never done a time analysis on an aspect of your business, now is the time. Start with a step in your business that, if modified, would enhance the client experience. Have the employees involved in this step write down each task involved and track the amount of time spent on each task throughout one week. Then run through your processes to determine what you can “Trash” and what you can “Trim.” You can also include what tasks can be “Transferred” to someone else (or to a different step).

Manage your resources efficiently. Parkinson’s Law states that “our consumption of a resource expands to meet its supply.” In other words, we will use all the time that we allocate to finish a project, just as we will spend as much money as we have. Restrict time and use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. If you give yourself less time to complete something, you will also have to figure out where to best focus your efforts. Again, being affective is about selective efficiency, rather than mass productivity.

Reduce the amount of time spent rushing to do what’s urgent, and spend your time on what is important. Avoid asking “how do I get more done,” (remember we tossed this out the window). Start asking “what are the most important things that need to be done?” and “who do I need to do the work?” This is all about setting priorities and goals, and working hard to stick to them.

Imagine – You take the steps to figure out how to be more efficient and affective, and then voila! A project finishes on time, without panic, and you didn’t have to pull extra resources form somewhere else to get it done.

This isn’t crazy talk, it’s the magic of Operational Efficiency.


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