How to increase productivity through effective time management

13/07/2012

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Successful entrepreneurs, business executives and leaders, regardless their industries and geography, have compelling focus on Effective Time Management Techniques, as one of the key ways to increase productivity within their organisations.

Are you having a hard time meeting agreed tasks every singly day? Is your performance giving you or your organization some concerns? Do you have confidence in yourself but can’t explain why your work-load keeps pilling every single day? Here’s the solution you are looking for: time!

Time is essential in everything, and having a good understanding of how you can make the most of it, will practically change the results you produce.

Nkem Mpamah, CEO and Founder of Cognition Global Concepts, writes: In my work with organizations and leaders, I have noticed that many entrepreneurs and business executives blame their inability to increase their productivity to time. As an an entrepreneur or manager, understanding the ways to manage your time effectively is critical to your success.

My objective with this article, is to help you understand the 5 simple time management techniques that you can apply in addition to what you already know as the ways to increase productivity. It’s important to bear in mind that every one of these simple techniques is easy to do, and easy not to do also. The reason they are easy not to do is because they are simple, and if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you… at least not today, after all, not doing them is more comfortable. But that insignificant error in judgment, when compounded over time is what kills businesses and organizations.

Here are the five simple ways you can manage your productivity and increase your performance.

1.       Avoid emails

Many executives agree that checking emails is their number one time stealer. When you get in the habit of checking emails regularly, your focus is gradually diverted from your important schedules of the day. If this habit continues unchecked, you’re subtly forced to accomplishing far less important tasks that do not contribute to the improvement and productivity of your organization’s business.

Although I am an advocate of over-communicating as an effective means of growing businesses, keeping your email client constantly open all day is the quickest way of killing your productivity because it distracts your focus, and compels you to “have a go” immediately at every email that hits your inbox. Instead of doing this, you can develop a 3-tier email checking plan; one in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the third after work or before going to bed.

When working with teams, it might be a good idea to delay emailing feedback as late as you possibly can. As bad as this technique may sound, it helps your team to develop the skill to deal with issues on their own rather than constantly referring their problems to you for quick solution. When your team knows that you are quick to solve their problems for them, they become mentally lazy and unproductive.

2.      Start each week with your highest priority goal

Focusing on accomplishing one most important task each week is one of the greatest time management techniques for increasing productivity. Decide on the big and most important goal you want to achieve every week, and develop simple realistic actions that you can execute daily towards achieving them. Developing the discipline of executing simple actions and setting deadlines for completing each task on a consistent daily basis will enhance the ways to increase productivity in your organization faster.

When you focus on your highest priority assignments with determination to accomplish them, you are very likely to produce far more in less time than when you focus on too many activities at a time.

3.      Find your productivity limit and stick to it

If you are like some people, there are certain number of hours of work beyond which your rate of productivity declines. If this applies to you, it is advisable for you to find your limit and stick to it.

In my days as a bank employee, my group-head devised a strategy he called “prime time.” He could tolerate few minutes of chatting from his team but not within the prime time. He interpreted “prime time” (8:00a.m – 12:00noon) as the most important time to increase productivity in his department, and he could not afford to allow anyone in the team to use it otherwise.

When you were an employee of another company, your normal maximum allowed time of work was 37.5 hours a week (UK regulation). As an entrepreneur, it has become unusually normal for you to work longer hours and some times very late into the nights. To be effective and productive with your hard work, you need to determine the maximum number of hours within which you can maintain your productive effectiveness and stick to it.

Some people have the ability to work the maximum limit of 37.5 hours and produce quality results while others are capable of stretching it to 80 hours and achieve the same result. However, you may be surprised to know that the performance of the person that produced at best within 37.5 hours drops the moment he crosses the 37.5 hour limit. Therefore find the time that works best for you and stay within it to avoid wasting time and burnout.

4.      Attend meetings only when they are necessary

Attending objective-focused meetings is one of the major ways to manage time effectively without compromising effectiveness and increased productivity. If you must attend any meeting at all, be sure to review the agenda well in advance and ask yourself, “what value is this going to make to my business or organization?” Any meeting with no specific objective/goal is a time waster and must be avoided.

Rather than wasting your time in unproductive meetings, consider if the matter could be discussed over phone, Skype, or email and allocate a specific timeframe for it. When attending a meeting in person, over the telephone, or via Skype, always be prepared with a list of agenda items for discussion. This will help you to focus only on the important part of the meeting.

5.      Learn to say “no”

One of the effective time management techniques people often neglect is saying “no.’ Young entrepreneurs, especially startup business owners, are quick to say “yes” to every demand on their time. They want to attend every business network meeting, offer help to everyone, or prove to everyone that their product or service is good. They want to meet every Dick while Harry is waiting for them behind; and they think that engaging in too many activities is the best way to increase productivity.

To strike a balance, entrepreneurs and business executives should assess the importance of the demands of other people on them and politely say “no” when they’re not in sync with their business/corporate objectives. Any demand on your time that will not empower you, i.e. lead to increased productivity and efficiency is time wasting.

Every successful entrepreneur, business executive and leader, regardless of their industry and geography, has a compelling focus on “Effective Time Management Techniques”, as one of the key ways to increase productivity within their organization.

You can learn more about the simple guaranteed ways to manage time and increase productivity by working with Business Growth Experts at “Cognition Global Concepts.” We help organizations and leaders to grow their businesses with the “best business growth strategies, bringing clarity to vision and driving disciplined commitment, accountability, and execution to create improved performance and excellence.

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