Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How To Be Productive

I was never one for paying too much heed to advice from people who produce lists about how to be better at almost anything. Viktor Hanacek (writing for Medium) gives us a new list intended for marketers: "7 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Be More Productive, Backed By Science". When I saw the "backed by science" I decided to take a look - here are his "7 things":

  1. Stop working overtime and increase your productivity
  2. Don’t say “yes” too often
  3. Stop doing everything yourself and start letting people help you
  4. Stop being a perfectionist
  5. Stop doing repetitive tasks and start automating it
  6. Stop guessing and start backing up your decisions with data
  7. Stop working, and have do-nothing time

Some interesting stuff here. For point #1 above, the "science" shows that taking a nap can increase productivity - this is because 70% of people do not get enough sleep at night. There is some simple advice about using programming for repetitive tasks and to avoid procrastinating. I love the line in relation to #4 above: "They [perfectionists] procrastinate and wait for the perfect moment. In business, if it is the perfect moment, you are too late". In my early years in NCI we had to endure some professional development off-site days - mostly forgettable (and a very unproductive use of time). One thing I do remember is the acronym ABBA - a break between activities. This is emphasized in #7 above where Hanacek writes "It‘s important for us to take time for reflection. We often find the solutions when we’re not searching for them". Rushing from one thing to another is not good for us, and not good for productivity either.

The best thing I ever did (many years ago) to increase my own productivity was to get rid of games from my computer and my phone. It's amazing how many times I was tempted to play a game of Solitaire ("for a break") - no time wasted on this now. 

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