It is normal for productivity to ebb and flow at different times of our lives. In a global pandemic being productive has certainly been a challenge, as we may be impacted by all the changes around us for example, home working, home schooling and illness, as well as the lack of variety in our lives due to lockdowns. In this blog we will explore productivity and consider ways to maintain optimum productivity. 

What is productivity?

The Dictionary states that productivity is “the state or quality of being productive”. I found this interesting as I do think our state, our being, is a key focus to increasing our productivity. Clients often describe to me what productivity means to them. They describe it as being in flow with work, where the time flies, gaining satisfaction from achieving meaningful outcomes in a specific time period and interestingly about being the whole person not just at work. Many clients describe productivity as, a week where they have balanced work and home plus where they have had time and space to do the things they enjoy.

Factors that are a barrier to productivity

Identifying your own blueprint for productivity often starts with noticing what impacts our productivity. These may include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of time
  • Decreased enjoyment of the task
  • Multiple demands
  • The mix of operating within the comfort zone versus more challenging work
  • Lack of support from those around us
  • Disorganisation of the physical surroundings, e.g., office layout
  • Leadership styles of micro-management
  • Being too controlling
  • Aiming for perfection 
  • Not spending time switching off on a regular basis 

What else would you add to the list? As a first step I encourage you to notice your productivity blockers, the things that get in the way of you being productive. 

Factors that support productivity

By contrast it is also worth considering what supports productivity. To do this I encourage you to imagine a time recently where you felt energised and productive at work. Ask yourself:

  • What was I doing?
  • Who was I with?
  • What were my physical surroundings like?
  • What gave me energy?
  • What systems did I have in place to be productive?
  • How was I managing my time?

The answers to the above questions will start to provide you with clues as to your own productivity blueprint – the optimum you. 

What supports you being productive?

If we were to decide to run a marathon, we would be unlikely to just get up and run. We would consider planning for it, putting in place a structure in our daily lives to start to reach our goal, ensure we had water and appropriate clothing. We may even decide to gain support from others whilst running. Productivity is similar in that we can put structure in place so that we are at our most optimum more of the time. Examples may include:

  • Finding a planning system that works for you for example, to do lists, project plans and diaries.
  • Matching the appropriate work to the times of day where you are feeling at your most optimum.
  • Taking breaks on a regular basis to recharge.
  • Exercise, sleep and nutrition.
  • Ensuring you have new challenges and opportunities to learn new things.
  • Creating time to review your productivity levels and make changes. 
  • Recognising quickly when you need to adapt your day to address how you are feeling, for example, to be at your most productive perhaps you need to get out in the fresh air so that your concentration levels are high for the afternoon.
  • Identifying regular tasks that take up your time and delegating them, eliminating them or finding ways to complete them in a more efficient way.  

Productivity seems to be about the ability to pivot quickly. This means responding everyday to what is happening around you and how you are feeling, quickly adapting as needed. That is one of the key things that can increase our productivity, instead of changes in the day derailing us. After all, in the current times we have all had to pivot dramatically, for example, developing strategies to work from home effectively, building relationships remotely and finding ways to pass our time when everything we usually do is closed. 

If you are a leader of a team now is a good time to work on productivity with the team. What do they need from you to be at their most productive? What could you as the leader put in place to support productivity in the virtual workplace? Recognising that each of us has our own unique productivity blueprint is so important to be able to lead effectively. Each member of your team may need something a little different from one another to maintain optimum levels and as the leader if you recognise this you can build an optimum team. 

Productivity is crucial to business and personal success. It is about a state of being, as well as about creating the right structures and processes for optimum efficiency. If you would like to experience the benefits understanding your own optimum productivity levels through coaching do get in touch to arrange your no obligation discovery call.

How do you manage your productivity levels?

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