Five Hyper Productivity Hacks In A Reactive Environment
There are hundreds of books written, classes taught, and coaching sessions offered to help people be more productive, yet this remains a challenge that professionals grapple with daily. In my career and experience as an executive, I’ve found a few ways to help spur hyper productivity across teams that previously functioned in a highly reactive environment.
When people have a day full of tasks that require immediate attention or are primarily driven by the pressure of others, it can lead to an overwhelming sense that one will never catch up. Finding ways to gain control of the workday and the bandwidth to accomplish what matters most ultimately leads to happier, more successful teams.
Often the genesis of a lack of productivity can be found in daily habits. The good news is that we all have the power to make simple changes that, over time, lead to significant progress. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear discusses how we create new habits with small, incremental everyday changes that lead to much more significant, positive change over time. He says, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
When we over-pack our days with meetings and ‘to-do’s,’ and when we fail, we feel shame for not accomplishing everything we set out to do. Moreover, there’s a common belief that multitasking is more efficient, but recent studies have shown that it increases the time it takes to complete a task.
When we bounce from one task to the next, not giving ourselves time to get oxygen to our brains, refocus, or breathe, we become less efficient and more likely to make mistakes. This is especially true for more complex tasks that require higher focus and brainpower. Think of the brainpower it takes to wash dishes versus analyzing complex data in a spreadsheet. In parallel, we can typically wash dishes and have a conversation reasonably well; however, entering data into a spreadsheet while having a conversation would make you less efficient and more prone to distraction while performing both tasks.
Here are 5 Tips for Greater Productivity:
1. Habit Inventory
To create new productivity habits, it can be helpful to first look at where you have habits creating a lack of productivity. James Clear suggests tracking your daily habits to review where you have succeeded and where you can improve—tracking your habits to motivate yourself to take small steps each day, setting yourself up for success versus being hard on yourself for not getting it perfect each day.
Collaboration with others is a very powerful strategy to accomplish a goal. According to The American Society of Training and Development, 95% of people are more likely to meet a goal when held accountable by another person checking in. It’s motivating to report your progress to someone else and incredibly empowering to know someone will celebrate your success with you. As Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Workweek, “Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
3. Reward System
A simple yet fun productivity hack is to build in rewards for accomplishing tasks. A reward can be something like taking a walk, having a cup of coffee, or doing another task on your list that’s easy and fun. We are often highly motivated by rewards; they can be really simple and don’t require much planning or forethought. One of my favorite rewards is going for a run in nature.
4. Time Boxing
One of our favorite time management tools that we teach in our GM Academy is the Pomodoro Technique, a method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s a time-boxing method where you select a task to work on, focus on it without interruption for 25 minutes, and then take a five-minute break. This can be repeated four times before taking a more extended break. Knowing that you have a specific amount of time to complete a task creates a greater sense of urgency—you’ll want to set a timer. Try it, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in a short amount of time.
5. The Big Rocks First
In Stephen R. Covey’s book, First Things First, he talks about the power of focusing on the big rocks before tackling the pebbles, sand, and water. In a power exercise, one quickly realizes how much time they waste in water (things like social media) and then panic and do a poor job tackling the rocks at the end of the day.
The result? Poor work and poor feelings about oneself.
Enable Your Team to Maximize Each Day
Through the Growth Molecules Academy, your team can learn a powerful way to be hyper-productive in a highly reactive world. Realizing goals can be achieved with intention, focus, and accountability is hard at first, but with practice, it quickly achieves positive outcomes. Putting time and energy into what matters most by taking small steps with purpose can lead to exponential results and personal growth.
Taking the time to do an honest review of what is leading to a lack of productivity coupled with a willingness to change will lead to significantly increased productivity and a more fulfilling workday. The sense of accomplishment will become addictive for you and your team.
About the Author:
Emilia D’Anzica, Founder, Author, Growth Molecules™
Emilia has personally onboarded 1000s of customers in her 20+ year career and is an early Customer Success Manager in SaaS. She has held every title in customer success ranging from Support Manager to Chief Customer Officer. She believes that customer onboarding sets the trajectory for churn or growth. After helping companies like WalkMe experience exponential growth, she is now helping companies build teams, processes, and systems to scale. Emilia holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California and a dual BA from the University of British Columbia. She is also PMP, and Scrum certified. She is the co-author of Pressing ON as a Tech Mom.