Photo: cell 105 via flickr
A recent study of 38,000 workers found that most people are only productive three days week. And it’s no surprise that 89 per cent of people don’t accomplish everything on their to-do lists, according to a study by LinkedIn.
This productivity problem is “incredibly demoralizing and hurts your confidence,” says career expert and founder of WORKS, Nicole Williams.
Beating yourself up over what you haven’t accomplished has the effect of a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re wasting valuable time thinking about the past, and not future goals.
“The majority of people feel overwhelmed when they say, ‘I’m going to write a book or ask for a promotion,'” says Williams. “Attach 10 steps to the process of whatever you want to accomplish before you ask for a promotion or raise. And keep yourself accountable, or make someone else keep you accountable.”
Behance CEO Scott Belsky recently spoke about what differentiates the most innovative companies isn’t just quality of ideas, but the execution of them. And that starts with individuals.
“We don’t have an accurate sense of how long it takes to accomplish things,” says Williams. “One of my clients realised they were spending 7 hours versus 20 hours really focusing on a task. One of the most important things we can do is have an accurate sense of time.”
That’s why Williams suggests that her clients take a week to document how they spend nearly every minute of their time. “As with when you’re working on a budget or trying to lose weight, you don’t know how much time you spend ‘messing around’ until you chronicle it. Otherwise you’ll just go around lying to yourself about how you’re spending your life.”
The next step is re-prioritizing, and balancing near- versus far-term projects. And then finally, talking to your boss about how to better use your time. She also suggests making daily, quarterly and yearly to-do lists. “You need to do reverse engineering and set a very tangible timeline with every single task.”
Otherwise, you’re just lying to yourself about what you’re really getting done.
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