Being productive is an asset in any profession, but we all have good and bad days. Interruptions are everywhere. From emails constantly flooding your inbox to that coworker who wants to 'have a quick minute' every single time they see you, actually cracking on with work can seem impossible. On top of this, you've got scheduled meetings and drop-in chats with people you can't really turn away, no matter how busy you are.
With all this in mind, it's easy to see why being productive is a bit hit and miss for most professionals. However, some people just seem to emanate productivity no matter what time or day it is. These Kings and Queens of efficiency can be the difference between a team's success and failure and are one of the most valuable assets in HR.
But are you a productivity superstar? Here are some key traits to look out for.
1. You're consistent
Most people have better days than others, especially when it comes to being productive in the office, but productivity superstars know that consistency brings its own rewards. Getting 90% of your work done every day is much better than doing 40% one day, 70% the next and 10% the day after. If you can set yourself achievable to-do lists and hit the same level of productivity each day, you're on to a winner! It means employees can always rely on you when they need help with office disputes or to answer their query.
2. You set clear goals
Being productive is often about being able to set yourself clear goals that are achievable and work to your advantage. This helps you keep your drive at a high level and get that immediate pay-off from your short-term goals. It also enables productivity superstars to keep their pace consistent and efficiency high. Setting SMART goals allows everyone to be clued in on the project too, so there are fewer delays waiting for other people to do their role.
3. You know your strengths (and weaknesses)
Nothing kills productivity like having to figure out something completely out of your comfort zone. Whether it's new software or a concept you don't understand, this can be a massive waste of time, especially if you have someone you could call on to complete the task for you. Knowing your own strength and weaknesses allows you to organize your schedule to be as optimized as possible, including periods where you'll need to call on the skills of others. For example, if you're completely useless with spreadsheets, it's inefficient to spend three hours figuring out what would take someone else on the team 30 mins.
4. You anticipate problems
Much like anticipating where the skills of others are needed, being a productivity superstar is also about pre-empting any problems that may arise as early as possible. This mental contrasting - thinking about what could get in the way of what you want to achieve - can help you actually realize your goals, according to social psychologists.
5. You take the lead
Often, the hardest part of getting a job done is making a start, but if you're productive then you're able to hit the ground running. Whether it's just being disciplined enough to crack on at the start of the day instead of procrastinating, or taking the lead on implementing that new benefits package, being able to take charge goes hand-in-hand with productivity.
6. You streamline your processes
A massive amount of time can be wasted doing unnecessary things. Productivity superstars are able to streamline their day-to-day processes to make everything as efficient as possible. This can be anything from only accessing your emails during set times or coming up with new and more straightforward ways to achieve something, but will make you more productive throughout your day.
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