Practical Productivity Tips | Corporate Trainer/Keynote Speaker Dana Brownlee

Productivity Tips to Enhance Efficiency and Effectiveness

As a corporate trainer and keynote speaker, I’m often asked for tips on enhancing productivity in the workplace (and beyond) and I’ve found a few secrets that can make a huge difference in one’s day to day effectiveness.

Schedule All Tasks, Not Just Meetings

A mistake that many people make is they fill their calendar with other people’s meetings and leave virtually no room for their own tasks or less tangible items (like reading, analyzing, thinking, problem solving, etc.).  Instead of doing this, schedule items that are of most importance to YOU regularly.  If you need to do some filing, make a few calls, plan your summer, research grad school options, populate your Quickbooks, clean out your office, schedule it!  Otherwise, it won’t likely get done.

Avoid Grazing Email All Day

I know it’s tempting (at least for me), but it’s a horrible habit that robs us of critical time.  Instead of focusing on a big task that we might truly need to tackle, it’s so tempting to casually graze emails for hours instead and not make much progress on that big task.  Instead of checking email every minute, set specific times to check it, say 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00.  This way you’re still able to be responsive as needed, but you have significant chunks of time available to complete real work throughout the day.

Attack Tasks ASAP

I’m one of those weird people who HATES procrastinating on almost anything (maybe except tax prep :-), but I find that it saves me tons of time.  Particularly with smaller tasks, if it’s something I can get done in less than 15 minutes, I almost always do it right then.  This way it never makes it onto a future to do list.  I do it in the moment while I’m thinking about it.  This way it’s not only done, but it’s pretty impressive to others as well.  In particular, after meetings I try to carve out 5-10 minutes to immediately follow up on action items.  I find this to be easier and quicker because the action item is fresh in my mind and easier to accomplish right then.  Usually, if I wait a few days (or longer), I have to remind myself what the task was, shift gears mentally (from whatever I was engaged in before), then take the time to complete the task.  That’s almost always a heavier lift – not to mention, the longer you put the task off, the more likely you’ll forget it altogether.

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