Years ago, the expectations regarding delivery from an employee were very different from what we are experiencing now. If 20 years ago it was expected that in 1 day an employee delivered X now it is expected the delivery of X+Y. The work environment is getting more and more complex with many challenges that the previous working generations didn’t experience. Customers demand higher quality in a shorter period of time. Change happens at a faster pace than ever and we need to be constantly adapting to new realities. Probably we can blame technological evolution for causing these challenges but we also can use technology to help us solve them.
Now, we are facing a time where we had to adapt to new working conditions. A few months ago we started working from home and we needed to rapidly adapt to this change. While we have learned that we can produce high quality work, remotely, we also had to learn how to adjust our communication to almost exclusive virtual ways.
Studies say that the way we respond to complex situations depend on how we see them, as challenges or as threats. The different response will be determinate by our evaluation of the resources we have. A person who evaluates himself/herself as having the resources to respond to the situation will see it as something to overcome – a challenge -, otherwise someone that doesn’t do the same evaluation will see the situation as something to be afraid of – a threat.
This leaves me with the question: Are there any resources we can absorb to enhance our response to productivity demands?
We all know that planning is important for time management and achieving goals, and achieving goals with success is what we all want!
So, to make it easier, use a tool that will allow you to organize your agenda. Plan your day by defining the results you want to achieve, this way you don’t have to be constantly thinking about what you need to do, you can have all that systematize in one place to remind you of tasks to accomplish, meetings or other appointments, deadlines, or other important information. This is very useful to help clear your mind of things you will need to do and are continuously popping up in your mind – and they will be, because they are important and you don’t want to forget about them – and to allow you to be present and focused on what you are doing at the moment.
We really should do a good time management and a perfect way to do it is by making time for ourselves. If you overbook your calendar you will have less energy to spend on your daily responsibilities. Remember we need to take care of ourselves first in order to be productive in what we do. A simple way to guarantee that you can recharge energy is by taking some breaks during the working day and also by promoting a healthy work-life balance! Your off-working hours are really for you to rest and engage in other activity outside work.
We have talked about prioritizing and there are two things that you can ask yourself to check if you are doing it. One is: “What are you doing that you don’t need to do?”. If you are spending most of your time in things that you don’t really need to do, because they are not relevant, they don’t add value or don’t have an impact on what you need to deliver, then you are not using your time effectively. The other is: “What are you doing that others could do?”. Delegate! Simple, right? If you are involved in tasks that other people could be doing, analyse if it would not be beneficial to delegate those tasks. By doing it you will be training people, giving them new skills/knowledge and giving yourself time to focus on more demanding responsibilities.
Another way to make time is by automate processes/tasks by using technological resources. We have plenty of different systems these days that help us in our daily work. Look into your tasks and see if there are any tasks you do in a manually and/or repeatedly way that you could simplify and automate. Systems automation tends to help us saving time but also saving costs and reducing errors.
Last but not least, I just want to tell you to innovate. Think outside the box, do different things and think about how to solve problems in a creative way. Don’t limit yourself on how things have been done in the past, invest on searching new ways of doing things and question old habits.
I started this article talking about adaptation to complex situations while being productive; well I believe that innovation might actually be the answer to it.
By Melissa Nogueira, People & Culture Lead Consultant