Believe it or not, we’re far enough into 2022 so that most New Year’s resolutions have already been forgotten or abandoned. Year after year, the data shows that about 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. So now that the dust is beginning to settle, here are three unconventional ways to increase your day-to-day productivity — leaving you more time to thoughtfully lead your organization.
Improve Your Typing Skills
It is amazing to consider that many of our most sophisticated communication, project management, and organizational tools depend on the simple act of writing. And writing means typing. From email, online platforms such as Slack, and website content to texting, digital reports, and social media posts, we spend a remarkable amount of time at the keyboard. Remote work has made the written word, in some form or another, more important than ever.
Experts say that on average, people spend over 3 hours per day on their keyboards and type about 40 words per minute. If you could increase your typing speed by a third you’d save almost an hour a day. What a huge productivity boost!
Most of us don’t think twice about our typing skills. We peck away and make do. But it is truly a fundamental 21st century office skill. The better we get at this essential skill, the more it frees us up to pursue other work — or take a much-needed break. And there are plenty of online apps and tools designed to improve your typing skills. There’s no need to sign up for a formal class!
Sometimes the most challenging and difficult part of completing a project is getting started. It’s common for people to put things off, waiting for just the opportune moment to begin. Once we get going, we’re fine. We find our work rhythm and our focus — we get into our flow. It’s the “get going” part we struggle with.
Time to remind yourself that there is no perfect moment. No ideal situation. So there’s no sense in waiting for it. Don’t seek perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love said, [Our mother] … “taught us not to become perfectionists, which is where a lot of procrastination and time-wasting occurs. Nothing is less efficient than perfectionism.”
Just starting is easier if you break things into small prices. A to-do item that says “succession planning” is far less likely to get started than its first step: “make a list of roles that will need replacement in 5 years.” Small taps of the chisel will chip away at the most daunting tasks — and the most mundane.
If you “only” accomplish steps 1 and 2 in a 100-step project; if you only get 20 minutes into a 40-hour project, you have STARTED — you are on your way!
Speaking of procrastination, most people have a very negative view of procrastination. It is bad and must be eradicated. This is where you’d expect to read some tip about how to stop procrastinating. But there’s a positive side to procrastination too.
As humans, we are imperfect. Sometimes, we get tired of our work, or impatient, or we put off unpleasant tasks, or we get frustrated, or distracted. Or we struggle to muster the needed enthusiasm or interest to make progress on a big project.
So go ahead and do a little procrastination. However, instead of wasting an afternoon scrolling on Instagram, procrastinate in a way that actually moves you forward in some way. Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist, encourages people to “Practice productive procrastination — have two or three projects going at one time, so if you get sick of one, you can jump over to the other.”
Try making a procrastination list. This is a list of useful things you can do when you just can’t bring yourself to work on the things on your official to-do list. If you are struggling to write the conclusion of your quarterly sales report, procrastinate by updating your contact list (which you’ve been meaning to do) or catching up on some some industry newsletters you’ve been saving in an inbox folder. With a little bit of procrastination (not too much!), you’ll feel reenergized by the break — and you’ll have been productive to boot.
Also take a moment to ask yourself WHY you are procrastinating. Your answers may provide some insight as well. Perhaps you’re no longer as passionate about that long-term project as you were when you promised to do it three months ago… What could you do about that — instead of simply kicking the can down the road one more month?
Want more? Here are a few other practical productivity and wellness tips from Arden Coaching
- 5 Wellness Hacks for Work From Home (WFH)
- 3 Simple Productivity Tips That Work
- 3 Terrific Year-End Productivity Hacks
- 3 Wellness Hacks to Improve Your Productivity
To learn more about creative approaches to becoming more productive and improving your leadership skills, contact the executive coaches at Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.