I’m a bit of a “productivity nut” … its an area that interests me and one that I think has contributed significantly to my career.
Over the years I have experimented with different ways of managing my time, different tools, different techniques, different approaches. There are some things that never change …
1. Multi tasking is a bad thing … whatever you are working on needs your undivided attention.
2. You CAN have many projects on the go at the same time … as long as your focus is on one at a time (time slicing)! Focus!
3. Lists work … but they are a very personal thing. The more complex your job the more lists you need … you might even need a master list to manage the lists!
4. Technology works .. and it doesn’t. Sometimes jotting a few things down on a piece of paper is far more efficient for me than creating tasks in a tool. Yet other times the tool is a great way to remind myself of my priorities.
5. Calendars rule! “Back in the day” it used to be my day timer binder, today it is my electronic calendar which syncs to my iPhone. It keeps me on the straight and narrow! If it is in my calendar I won’t forget it … so I even put reminders in my calendar, because then I know I will see them.
I often think that a course in basic project management would likely be good training for anybody about to enter the workforce. That ability to manage multiple tasks, within multiple projects and their associated critical paths is a great skill for any busy executive.
When you can keep it all straight, meet your deliverables and manage many and disparate tasks you can accomplish so much. To be able to delegate and know when to push (because too often people don’t meet their deadlines) is an even tougher part of that whole time management/project management/productivity thing!
Over the years I have described this whole process as akin to juggling, and “keeping those balls in the air” means that the projects are progressing in the right direction. The more “balls you can keep in the air” the more productive you are.
Personal productivity is very much within your control … and the better you become the farther you will go in your career! People that can get things done are rare, so push yourself … see how many balls you can get in the air!