In my previous career, before starting my consulting business, I would occasionally have to work a weekend to finish up tasks that did not get done during the week. It always amazed me the amount of work I could do on a Saturday. It felt like I got a week’s worth of work done in just a few hours! I thought they should double my salary for the day! Was it really a week’s worth? No, but I did feel productive. Today’s article is going to discuss how to improve productivity. You’re an adult, I am not going to insult your intelligence by telling you that you need to close your email or silence your phone when trying to focus. I am going to share with you three qualities of productive people.
Three Qualities of Productive People
Most of us wish we could have more hours in the day. Why? So, we can be more productive! There is so much to do, and so little time. With all the multitasking, meetings, people asking “for a minute” (which is never a minute), work/life balance, being productive is a challenge. And if you’ve mastered productivity, perhaps others on your team haven’t. I have worked with, observed, and studied what makes people ultra-productive and today I am going to share these qualities with you.
Highly productive people have extreme focus. They have the ability to focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others. In my book, I talk about when I used to play sports as a kid. My parents would yell from the sidelines, and I would have no idea they were even there. It was just me and the opponent. I was focused on what I was doing. Actually, the focus I had while playing, would spill over into other aspects of my life. Because I learned to focus in sports, I was able to take that to my academics. I know this because when I stopped playing sports, my focus dropped.
In my professional career, I would often bother the busy person when I needed something done quickly. Why didn’t I go to someone with less of a workload? Because they didn’t have time to procrastinate. They’d focus, get it done, so they could go back to what they were doing. Learn to focus and improve productivity.
You aren’t going to be productive if you are not enthusiastic about your work. Ever work someplace, or take on a project you absolutely hated? How productive were you? Sure, you can get through it out of brute force and will power, but how long will that work. You have to find some enthusiasm in your work. This goes back to aligning your career with what you actually like to do. It also speaks to the importance of the right culture at work.
To develop enthusiastic and motivated employees – they go hand and hand – leaders have to focus on employee engagement. Enthusiastic employees bring a high level of energy to their work. They move faster, think faster, are more creative, and are more willing to help co-workers succeed. Creating an environment where people are engaged raises the enthusiasm in your company and will improve productivity.
Discretionary effort is all about going the extra mile. If you look around the office at 5:00, do you see people finishing a task, or are they already heading for the door? Question: If they are already at the door, when did they stop working? Discretionary effort means people are there on time, and WORKING, not getting a cup of coffee and talking to Tom about the weekends NCAA tournament. It means working.
Discretionary effort means working until 5:00, and in many cases a little later to get something else off their plate today. Think about it, let’s say you lose 3 minutes in the morning, 3 minutes before and after lunch, and 3 minutes at the end of the day. That might look insignificant. It’s only 3 minutes. But 4 times a day x 5 days a week, that is a loss of an hour a week (that you are paying for). Multiply that by how many employees you have. How insignificant is 3 minutes now? Now imagine if they gave you an extra 3 minutes x 4 times a day x 5 days x #of employees. How much more can you get done?
As business owners and entrepreneurs, we are always giving discretionary effort. Are your employees? The beauty of employees giving discretionary effort is they do it because they want to, not because you tell them to.
This Week’s Challenge
Creating an engaged workforce increases focus, enthusiasm, and discretionary effort. This is real numbers, real productivity, real profits by investing in your company culture.
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.