Productivity, How Can We Do Better?

posted by Lance Dickson on Monday, June 19, 2017 in Office Equipment Blog

As I have gotten older and a little wiser, I’ve noticed that time becomes more important. This is why I work really hard to minimize the amount of frivolous decisions that confront all of us every day. How much time do you spend every morning trying to figure out what clothes to wear? I used to spend roughly 10 minutes a day. Excluding weekends, this equates to roughly 43 hours a year.  Four years ago, I created my own ‘uniform’ consisting of a blue button down shirt and khaki slacks, which I wear every day.  Although I get a little grief from some of my teammates at work, I have saved myself 40+ hours per year by reducing an inconsequential decision. Though this paticular time saving effort may not work for you, I’ve compiled a few other ideas below to help you be more productive.

GreatAmerica Halloween 2015

(GreatAmerica employees dress up as Lance Dickson in blue and khaki for Halloween 2015.)

It seems like, more than ever, the speed of business is increasing.  Therefore, it is imperative that we focus on effectively managing our time to ensure we are spending it on activities that will move our businesses forward. Listed below are three things to consider placing on your "stop doing" list that could help you become a better leader, as well as a more productive employee.

Stop multi-tasking

  • According to a new study conducted by the University of Utah only 2.5% of people actually have the ability to multi-task. Multi-tasking consists of comprehending and executing multiple activities at once. When you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re actually switching your cognitive function back and forth between the two tasks. Your brain can tire out from the constant switching which doesn’t allow you to give 100% effort to any one project.

Stop automatically accepting meeting invitations

  • Critically review each meeting request and ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Do I provide something of value that others in the meeting do not?

    2. What is the opportunity cost of the meeting (e.g. What could you be working on if you did not attend this meeting?)?

    3. Are there other decision makers who would be better suited to attend the meeting or junior team members that would view this as an opportunity to provide input and gain additional experience?

Stop blindly jumping into your day—take some time to get organized

  • With leadership comes responsibility. At times you need to put yourself first. Everything you do is a priority. Reorganize your projects into these for quadrants to help you decide what tasks to tackle first.

        (Above is the 2x2 Matrix popularized by Stephen Covey.)

  • Accomplish the tasks in the top two quadrants first and then start on the tasks in the bottom two quadrants. This helps with diminishing stress on those tasks in the lower two quadrants. They’re identified as lower priority tasks and thus you don’t need to feel the need to accomplish them first. Help your team understand what are high on your priority list and set the expectation that those lower priority tasks will be tackled at a later date.

There are many distractions in both our personal and professional lives which will suck up our most valuable asset: time.  Hopefully this commentary was not one of those distractions. If you have any time management best practices that you have implemented in your personal or professional life, I would love to hear them. Fill out the form below to share!

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About The Author

Lance joined GreatAmerica in 2003 in Internal Audit.  Since then, he has held positions as a Senior Financial Analyst, Director of Asset Management, and Vice President of Corporate Operations.  Lance took on the Operations leadership role for the Office Equipment Group (OEG) in 2014.  His primary responsibilities include indirect leadership of nine OEG Teams, risk and analysis, operational strategic initiatives, and continual improvement initiatives. Lance has a BA in Accounting and also serves as the Treasurer for the Area Substance Abuse Council.

  1. best practice
  2. leadership
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