How to teach your team about productivity

    When leading a team, the greatest impact you can have is to show them how to be productive. Although team productivity might seem like a vague notion, there are actually some universal principles that improve anyone's output.

    19th Jun 2018
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    Could there be anything more important than learning how to spend our time? Of course, there are no absolute answers but there are certain skills, principles, and habits to learn that help all of us spend our time wisely. Working in a team is always challenging but teamwork online has introduced even more problems - communication is not always clear and team members can find it more difficult to pick up cues about priorities and expected work outputs.

    As a team leader, one of the most influential things you can do is to teach and show your team how to be productive. Here are the universal truths of productivity to pass on...

    1) Prioritization is the number one priority

    It sounds paradoxical but the fewer things you try to do, the more you'll achieve. Once you understand this truth, you can remove busy-work, and spend your quality time on the most important things - that will actually move the needle. Taking the time to truly prioritize and work out what is most important at this moment makes a huge difference to your effectiveness.

    2) Never start the day without a plan

    Yes, you have a full calendar and a long to-do list, but do you really know what you work on first? When you have clearly identified your priorities, you can make a simple plan for the day. Usually, this should be 3-5 small but important things that will move you closer towards your goals.

    3) Track a couple of key metrics

    Identify what your most important metrics are and track them closely - preferably on a daily basis. This helps keep your focus on activities which will move them forward. Don't make the mistake of tracking everything closely - usually 1 or 2 metrics is best.

    4) Gamify your day

    Link your daily habits and rewards with your productivity. For instance, this could mean not having your first cup of coffee until your first important task is complete. The not having lunch until your second is complete. You can also link your productivity to rewards like watching a TED talk, spending 10 minutes on social media, going for a walk, calling a friend etc.

    5) Give yourself short deadlines

    Parkinson's Law tells us that work expands to fill the time available. Use this to your favor by setting yourself tight deadlines and putting a stop to never-ending work. Force yourself to leave work by booking in an exercise class or appointment with a friend. Then work hard to get everything done before then.

    6) Get external accountability

    When you work in a corporate role, accountability is generally built into your role - there are regular meetings where you need to update others on your progress, or others are waiting for your work. However, for entrepreneurs working alone, this is often missing - and it is hugely helpful to create this accountability. This can be done by creating a board or mastermind group, or you can deliberately make promises to customers or public commitments about milestones you're aiming towards.

    Pass on these skills and you'll have far greater influence on your team than you could imagine.

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