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01 January 2022

SHEMEKA BRATHWAITE

For some people – perhaps even for you – increasing productivity is akin to finding the Holy Grail. Why has upping productivity taken on such mythical proportions? 

Simply put, increasing productivity means increasing earning potential. If you own a business where you provide any type of service, taking steps to increase your ability to deliver the service in less time will allow you to take on more clients and earn more money.

Likewise, if you sell a product, finding a way to make or deliver that product faster will enable you to serve more customers, once again, making more money. 

When you find ways to do the same thing in less time, you’re being more efficient. Efficiency and productivity go hand in hand.

Undoubtedly, the more efficient you can make the process of completing any task, the more productive you’ll be. 

Use these strategies to increase your efficiency so you can be more productive:

  • Create a prioritized schedule for your work. Whether using a post-it note or a Microsoft Word file, almost everyone has some type of system for creating and editing the classic "to-do" list. These lists are sometimes a hodgepodge of ideas and tasks that need to be completed in the future and the not-so-distant future.

  • There is nothing wrong with maintaining a to-do list, as it can make the difference between getting stuff done and going crazy trying to keep everything organized in your head. Still, the typical to-do list leaves much to be desired. 

  • Unlike a conventional to-do list, having a prioritized schedule helps take things a step further, allowing you to increase efficiency and productivity. 

  • This is because prioritizing all of the tasks that you have in front of you while keeping track of a longer-term picture of your schedule for weeks to come, will allow you to really figure out what is the most important thing that needs to be done right now. 

  • If you are creating a prioritized schedule and realize that you have a best friend's wedding in two months, you'll be able to bump getting a dress or tux way down the list, while still making sure to place it somewhere on your schedule. 

  • A prioritized schedule essentially puts things into perspective, allowing you to figure out what truly needs to get done at this very moment and focus on that.

  • Seek out and accept specialized help. Whether you run your own business or are a stay at home mom or dad, it will save you lots of time and energy at the start if you’re open to collaborating with others.

  • Bill Gates may be quite capable of developing all of the new programs needed to advance IBM as a company, while working with prospective clients in addition to handling customer service and PR. However, Mr. Gates and most other successful individuals would never be caught doing this.

  • No matter how much you can do by yourself, your resources are finitely limited by one single factor that trumps all others… time. 

  • So, rather than spending 8 hours a day answering phone calls, working on new products, shopping for groceries and cutting your own hair, it may be a more productive use of your time to zero in on the one or two things that give you the most results for the amount of energy that you put into them.

  • For example, if developing a new product will eventually double the size of your business by being able to cater to an additional market or consumer demographic, then this is time well spent. 

Paying someone else to answer phones, freeing up your time to be devoted towards projects that will give you more returns for your time invested is the sure sign of a future Fortune 500 executive at work. Combining this strategy with using a prioritized schedule will enable you to focus on what’s most important for you and get it done. Your productivity will soar!

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Shemeka Brathwaite, MSED is a peak performance strategist, keynote speaker, and coach. She is often invited by organizations, associations, and educational institutions to provide inspiring programs on productivity, leadership, and executive presence. Her immersive training programs help professionals learn how to implement new systems that streamline the demands on one’s time, so they can achieve more at work, increase their influence, and live intentionally.

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