Shared Secrets of Productivity

I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review that got me thinking a little more about the productivity in my organization. The article was authored by Robert C. Pozen and Kevin Downey and it appeared in the March 2019 issue under the title: What Makes Some People More Productive Than Others

The authors conducted a survey in which they asked professionals to assess their own personal productivity, which they defined as the habits closely associated with accomplishing more each day. The survey of 20,000 respondents focused on seven habits:

  • Developing daily routines
  • Planning your schedule
  • Coping with messages
  • Getting a lot done
  • Running effective meetings
  • Honing communication skills
  • Delegating tasks to others

Three general patterns stood out:

  • Working smarter is the key, not longer hours
  • Age and Seniority meant higher productivity, vis-a-vis younger and junior
  • Male and female had the same productivity levels

The study revealed that specific habits of people defined their productivity score. People with a specific set of habits performed better than others.

  • Planned work on priorities and acted with a definite objective
  • Developed techniques to manage high volume of information and tasks
  • Understood the needs of their colleagues for shorter meetings, responsive communications, and clear directions.

With the help of this article and my own personal experience I devised a set of methods that we would like to impart to our team in helping them to increase their productivity:

Planned Priority: The 1–3–5 method helps to prioritize the tasks for the day and the objective of each task. In case the task requires interaction with colleagues then clearly communicate the objective and the expectation. Delegate tasks where required.

Managing high volumes: Make a checklist that allows fast processing of routine tasks and make schedules for tasks to be done in batches. For example, checking mail only at fixed intervals.

Effective Interaction: All meetings have fixed agenda and expectations from invitees. Start and end meeting on time and ensure that WWW (What, Who, When) is prepared at the end of each meeting.

We are learning as we go, but our productivity is on the rise. Though we have still to install a system to measure productivity scores, we know that we are getting things done faster and mistakes are fewer.

CorporateConnections is a forum where we have opportunities to share our learning and help each other grow.

Do you have any tips on improving productivity at the workplace that has been effective for you?