A recent report on Forbes.com reveals that recently, “U.S. manufacturers managed to increase output per worker hour by a whopping 38%. In sum: If you want to thrive, you better be productive.”
No matter what the current state of the job market, productivity is a crucial component of personal effectiveness that is important to focus on, especially during these troubled times.
According to Peter Bregman, an advisor to many well-known CEOs, employees should be more proactive about staying on target with their goals and focusing on their most important tasks at work each day. Bregman outlines a few reasons why people have trouble focusing and prioritizing to maintain personal effectiveness:
First of all, there’s so much to do – and everything is screaming for attention – that it’s hard to distinguish what’s important and what’s peripheral. Everything seems important. In the face of so many things to do, it’s hard to distinguish what really matters.
It is unlikely that you will ever get “all” your work done. For most of us, there’s simply too much to do for any human being to get it all done. Instead, we have to figure out what the “right” things are to get done.
Bregman advises the leadership teams he works with to adopt an 18-minute time management plan to increase their focus and effectiveness. Even though it may not seem like a lot of time, Bregman finds that using small chunks of time throughout the day helps him to be more successful:
I divide the 18 minutes into 5 minutes in the morning, 1 minute each hour, and 5 minutes in the evening. I use my morning minutes to get focused, my hourly minutes to regain my focus, and my evening minutes to recap, learn, and prepare for the next day. 18 minutes creates a structure to my day that helps me get my most important things done.
And sometimes the real key to lasting personal effectiveness, argues Bregman, is doing work that we love:
We are most happy when we are working at the intersection of our strengths, weaknesses, differences, and passions. That’s our sweet spot. When we are making full use of our strengths, leveraging (not developing) our weaknesses, doing things we are uniquely qualified and positioned to do, and spending our time on activities that give us energy because we love them, then we will be successful and happy.
No amount of time management can replace that equation.