Episode 15: 3 Keys for Greater Productivity

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If you want to be more productive as a leader and if you want your team or employees to be more productive, it’s important that you follow the 3 keys of time management. 

Listen to learn more. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

      • Why it’s critical to know what’s important
      • Doing what’s important matters
      • Why you want to always keep learning and growing

Resources Mentioned

Full Episode Transcript

Introduction

[00:10]

Hey, everyone. Today, I want to talk about the three keys of time management and Productivity.

This is important not just for you as a leader, but also for your employees and your team. Because when you can follow and implement these three keys when you can help your team implement these three keys, that will increase your productivity as a leader and of your team, you’ll get more results, and you’ll be a much more high-performing team.

Now, the three keys, they’re very simplistic. When I tell you what they are, you’ll be like, yeah, duh! But the thing is, many of us don’t do them or we don’t really think through them. If we actually did them, then we’d be so much more productive.

Know What’s Important

[01:00]

The first key of the three keys is to know what’s important. Like I said, that’s very simplistic. Of course, you need to know what’s important. But often we don’t. Often our employees, even though they may think they do, they don’t or they may think not saying it’s their fault or they’re wrong but sometimes the impression or what they get, what they think is right and what we think they’re doing might be different.

We just have different assumptions and our expectations are not what they heard, whatever it may be. Sometimes what they think is important isn’t important. Sometimes what we think is important isn’t important and it hurts the productivity of everyone in our organization, and so on.

[01:41]

Knowing what’s important. First, the big part of that is knowing what the main mission and goal of your company is and what the main mission and goal of your team is. Because what your goal of pursuing is what your efforts should be going to.

If your tasks aren’t moving you towards your goal, then you may need to reevaluate if they are important. You also need to think about the function if you’re marketing. What are, of course, your goals, the results that you’re looking for, and your measurement?

But even certain with your position, what are you supposed to be doing? What are your responsibilities for your position? What are you hired to do? What are you hired to accomplish?

Whatever you’re hired to accomplish, that’s what you need to focus your time on. I believe it was Brian Tracy who talked about key result areas, and those most important tasks. He even, I believe, said it was three that most people have three tasks that are most important for their job.

Then you can think about the 80-20 rule, the Pareto’s rule, where 20% make up 80% of our results. What are those in our job that we do? What are those for our employees?

If we can help them know what exactly is the most important, what they were hired to accomplish, what their most important areas are, and what their 20% is, then if they can focus on it and if we can help them focus on it, they will be much more productive.

[03:10]

Part of this you, as a leader, is taking a step back and making sure when you plan, when you organize for yourself and for your team that you’re looking at the big picture. It’s easy to get caught in the urgent, in the day-to-day, and always doing something that we get caught into doing things that aren’t productive.

So, we’ll get busy and we’ll be busy doing things. We just won’t be busy doing the things that are productive. That’s why it’s important to specialize as a leader. But even if you’re not a leader, you’re an individual worker that you take a step back and make sure what you’re doing fits into the big picture, into the key result areas, and to the things first of all, you know it’s important.

Also Read: 15 Powerful Time Management and Productivity Tips for Leaders

Doing What’s Important


[03:51]

The second key, really, again, very simplistic, easy, but sometimes it’s easy not to do, is doing what’s important. As I mentioned, it’s easy sometimes if we’re not planning, if we’re not taking a step back and seeing the big picture, it’s easy for us to get caught in the urgent and what seems important.

We get an email, someone comes in, there’s a fire happening and we spend all our time fighting fires and doing what’s urgent that we don’t do what’s important. We’re not doing our most important task.

We may go through the day being busy, but in the end, we feel like we didn’t accomplish anything because we’re not doing what’s important. That’s why it’s important, a big part of planning ahead, looking at the big picture, seeing what the goals are, seeing what your most important tasks are, and planning the day ahead so you know what you’re going to do that day.

Sometimes it’s not that you can never plan the day of, but it’s so much easier if you plan the day before knowing what’s important, knowing what you can do, you can come in, you have your list, you’ve prioritized your list, you put one, two, three, whatever, however, you do it.


[04:52]
For some people, calendar and calendar can be a really good thing. I’m set for this block of time to work on this, this block of time on this. To-do lists can depend on how you use them, might be effective, but they also can be ineffective, depends.

I’m not trying to get to that debate in this podcast episode, but however you do it, you want to plan. So if you calendar, you can put blocks of time. Either way, even if you’re using a task list, using blocks of time is helpful.

But set blocks of time when you work on the things that you prioritize that are most important and you get those things done. Because when you come in in the day and you haven’t planned, you don’t have your calendar set, you don’t have your most important tasks and the things you’re going to do.

It’s easy to get distracted by things that aren’t important to check your emails. But also it’s hard sometimes to see the big picture in the moment. Like, okay, what’s the most important thing for me to do right now?

Where in the moment, sometimes it’s hard to see that so we might either do what’s convenient, what’s easy, or what’s right in front of us versus what is actually important. So, it’s important that we know it’s important to do what’s important.

[05:58]

Part of that too is distractions. We need to make sure we help ourselves avoid distractions and also help our employees avoid distractions.

Sometimes that’s having uninterrupted blocks of time. It depends on your industry and the type of work that you and they do. But if you can give them uninterrupted blocks of time where they can work or yourself, you can just focus on certain tasks that will make you so much more productive versus always being interrupted by different things.

Even if it’s not saying you don’t have to check emails, sometimes the best thing is to have set times to check emails. Some jobs don’t allow that, but if it can, that could be good because you’re not always checking your emails. You’re doing your block of time, email, block of time, however you do it.

So those are two of the key results or the two keys of time management.

Also Read: The 40 Top Tips to Improve Your Time Management at Work

Keep Learning

[06:46]

The third one, you could just stick with the two in the sense that you would still be a whole lot more productive than if you didn’t do them. The third one, you can take or leave with it.

I think it’s important. It’s a vital part, but it’s not as vital as the first two. But it is vital. You’ll understand what I said. The third key is that you want to always keep growing in the different areas that are important for your job.

Again, it’s simplistic and you can maybe see why you have to do the first two. You’re going to be productive to a point. But if you can do the third one, that’s going to even make you more productive. It’s important for a couple of reasons.

First, because you have your key result areas, you have the things that are most important for your job. Make sure that you are strong in those areas. Make sure your employees are strong in those areas. If they’re responsible for certain things in their jobs and if they’re weak in that, that’s going to hurt them in the jobs if it’s the most important thing they’re supposed to do.

If they’re weak in it, you probably want to grow them in it. Also, think about bottlenecks. Sometimes one of those skills may be bottlenecking all our productivity or it might be another skill that has nothing to do with that.

[07:47]
It could be public speaking, it could be typing. If you or your people have to type a lot and you don’t know how to type, they don’t know how to type, that’s probably a skill you want to train in that you want to learn, that you want them to learn really well because that will bottleneck all their productivity because of the typing they have to do for their job.

It’s things like that. You want to… The more you can overcome the bottlenecks because once you finish one bottleneck, then there’s going to be another bottleneck. If that makes sense. Because you fix one, okay, you improve. But what else is holding you back after that bottleneck? Okay, let me improve that one and move on.

So you want to keep improving those bottlenecks because if you do, you’re going to be much more productive. Your team is going to be much more productive. And of course, going beyond the scope of this podcast, if you think about the productivity of things you do in your business and your team, what bottlenecks are holding you back? If you can improve those, of course, you will help the productivity of your team.

Recap

[08:40]

Three keys: know what’s important, do what’s important, and keep learning.

Make sure you know what’s important for you. Make sure your team, knows what’s important for their job. Then help them be able to have the time to be able to do their job effectively and be able to focus on those most important tasks.

Sometimes we may say something’s important, but then we ask them to do all these other things that really aren’t important. I mean, somebody has to do them, but maybe you need to find whose job those are most important for and give them to those people so that your people, or whoever has other most important tasks, can focus on that if that makes sense.

So, you want to try to move tasks to the people whose tasks that’s focused on, that’s what they’re supposed to do, the most important as much as you can. That’s not always possible, of course. But the more you can focus on your most important task, the more your people can, the more productive you will be.

I hope this helps! I’ll see you next time.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of No More Bad Leaders. If this episode meant something to you, I would be honored if you shared it with someone who would benefit from it. You can find more episodes here.

If you have any comments, questions, or inquiries, feel free to contact me.

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