Reframe Productivity as a Path to Freedom
Start by shifting the paradigm surrounding productivity. Introduce the idea of how increased productivity is really a conversation about clarifying priorities and letting go of tasks and projects that are out of line with the organization and department goals. Increased productivity is the combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts. Why not make this a department-wide campaign? It has no impact on your department or organizational budget, and will produce immediate tangible returns!
Re-asses Workload According to Actual Priorities
It sounds obvious, but increased productivity begins with clarifying priorities and comparing them to current tasks. Meet with each department member–including having a heart-to-heart with yourself–and take a critical look at their workload. Which tasks are working toward the department goals and prioritized projects? Help each member make an estimate of the percent of time they are spending on each project, every week. Do those percentages roughly equate to the priorities that have been set by your department or organization? If not, now is the time to get in alignment. As in number 1, start this process by looking at your own schedule. Be honest with yourself. Are you being productive, or just “busy?”
Foster a Supportive Network
Everybody needs help from time to time. Do your team members feel comfortable requesting help from their colleagues? Have they ever even considered that? Make this part of the weekly work planning. Ask where members have a bottleneck, and a few hours of help would make a major difference in output. Find another member who can give them those hours. Your entire team will become more productive. If Gary gave Beth 3 of his hours this week, helping her move a project along, he will realize that he also can get the same support whenever he is in a jam.
Have Stand-Only Meetings & Train Staff to Effectively Use To-Do Lists
We all have sat in the mindless weekly meeting when everyone gives the status of their projects, while everyone else zones out, and thinks about how they could be spending their time more effectively. Start by having two very short meetings, and make them stand-only meetings. This naturally keeps everyone focused on getting things done, not waxing on about the stresses of their jobs or work relationships. Show your team that you care as much about productivity as you say you do, but assembling one email with a paragraph by each team member, giving status and requesting help. Each member can return an acknowledgement of receipt and understanding or follow-up tasks. Do all you can to help your team (and yourself) maintain their desk time and decrease interruptions or superfluous meetings.
What is the best to-do list? One that you use consistently, of course! There are countless methods for task tracking, and we aren’t promoting any one in particular. The main point is to ensure that the top priorities on everyone’s list matches the top priorities of the department and the organization.
At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. Call firstname.lastname@example.org | 800-282-3374