Productivity is something we’re fascinated by at Quinyx. We’re always looking for new ways we can help businesses become more productive, whether that’s simply saving them time or rolling out a new feature we know will make people’s lives easier.
But what about when it comes to productivity on a personal level? Are certain people intrinsically more productive than others? Or does their productivity stem from habits they’ve developed over time?
The answer is probably a little bit of both. Some of us are naturally disposed to be more productive, but there are definitely simple ways we can all boost our own productivity and that of the teams we manage. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last five years you’ll have seen personal productivity is a hot, and much talked about topic.
From morning and evening routines through to regular yoga and meditation, there are hundreds of different ways people tell us we can be more productive. Without wanting to discount these (because they obviously do work for some people), it’s pretty unrealistic to expect everyone to leap about of bed at 5am, drink a green smoothie, do a 5km run, get to grips with a downward dog, meditate while sipping a turmeric latte then leap into the office raring to go.
Instagram might make it look easy but the reality can be much different! Instead, we thought we’d focus on the habits of successful people we think it would be easy for anyone in the workplace to pick up.
So what do highly productive people do we can all learn from?
1. They limit distractions
Distractions come at us from all angles. A notification buzzing on a phone, the ping of an email hitting the inbox or questions fired at us from our colleagues; they’re impossible to avoid but they can be managed.
A study from the University of California Irvine found it takes someone close to 25 minutes to get back on track with the task they were working on if they have to deal with an unrelated distraction. Middle managers in organisations are often the people who find it hardest as they have to field questions and requests from senior decision makers as well as the employees they are responsible for. This is why it sometimes pays to say ‘no’ or to communicate with others that you need uninterrupted time to complete the task you’re working on.
Equally, shutting down your email and putting your phone into Airplane Mode when working on an important task can help you know end, there are even apps out there like Freedom which you can use to block those distracting websites while you work.
2. They make the best use of their time
Time is one of our most precious resources and every productive person you know will be adept at making the best use of their time. There’s also some easy wins out there. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bergman describes the ‘magic of 30-minute meetings’ and argues hour slots for meetings were born out of convenience rather than usefulness. He states shorter meetings keep people focussed, energised and on track. The Wall Street Journal found that CEOs spend an average of 27 hours per week in meetings, on calls or at business meals every week. Even reducing this number by 25% by having shorter meeting would drastically improve the amount of time a CEO has.
3. They become experts
According to a study carried out by leadership development consultancy, Zenger Folkman, the most productive people didn’t hesitate to ask for help but often didn’t need it. Because they had knowledge and expertise they were able to get things done quickly and well - without sacrificing quality for speed. The study found: “They also intentionally acquired new skills and worked to expand their expertise. That helped them be skillful, exacting, and quick in their execution.”
4. They optimise everywhere
Optimisation and productivity go hand in hand. We see it time and again when businesses start using cloud-based and mobile-first workforce management solutions to optimise the way they operate. The most productive people aren’t afraid to embrace new solutions and new technology as ‘productivity hacks’ to get more done in less time.
5. They work toward a purpose
As we heard at our Workforce Management Day in London this year, there is power to having a purpose. This again applies to us on an individual level as well as on a business one. As said in this article from HubSpot: “Highly-productive people think about the end of their lives. They define how they want to be remembered. What legacy they want to leave. Or what people will say about them at their funerals.Then they work backwards to achieve those goals.” By defining your own purpose, and the legacy you want to leave, you’ll always have something to strive towards.
If you’re also curious about how you can improve your business’ productivity then why not try our free ROI Calculator which will show you how you can save both time and money while being more productive.