What slows you down?

“Time is money” – Benjamin Franklin

Unfortunately, becoming more productive is easier said than done. There are no magic tricks to success - it’s a matter of combining knowledge with action each day to form habits. It can be easy to get bogged down at work due to the constant stream of deadlines, challenging targets and urgent demands for our attention. However, many workers unknowingly impede their own progress.

Have you noticed how you get more done on some days and less on others? It won’t happen by accident – there will be a reason as to why. Do you know what the trigger is that slows you down? Is it:

  •        An overwhelming workload?
  •        Not systemising a workflow or processes?
  •        Email?
  •        An unrealistic schedule?
  •        Something else?

Recently I was coaching a senior manager (Mary) who despite the best of intentions wasn’t making sufficient progress. Frustratingly Mary exclaimed: “I just can’t handle this anymore taking 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards.”

The core of Mary’s challenges was a huge workload that drove many competing demands for her time. Mary didn’t really set aside time to action her important work and on the rare occasions she did, time was wasted bouncing between her urgent tasks. Inadvertently Mary was caught up with being busy but not effective.

Upon further probing it emerged that Mary’s lack of a defined workflow with her email and schedule were problematic because she simply didn’t have an effective way to manage them. This caused Mary to focus on either the latest emails received or the emails she remembered that needed to be actioned. There wasn’t a way to separate and give attention to what was important from general “noise.”

Mary’s schedule reflected other people’s meetings, but not enough time was devoted to her own priorities. Mary made a commitment to schedule time for her strategic high impact and important work. This made a world of difference because after getting her email and schedule under control Mary observed: “The world had been lifted from my shoulders.” That’s the effect of redirecting efforts towards achieving targeted results.

Consider how you work. Are you at maximum efficiency or is there something not quite right that is slowing you down. Resolving it could have a profound impact on your success.