Productivity: whether you’re on work experience or this is your first week in a new job, it’s the second most powerful way to make a good impression (after, of course, being a kind and wonderful person).
But productivity isn’t the same as hard work. It is a skill that needs to be learned if you are to get the best, most efficient results from the hard work that you put in. Sure, your boss will be happy to see you strive, but the impression will be short-lived if your efforts never get you anywhere!
Productivity is something you learn along the way. You hopefully picked up some productivity skills when you were studying – for example, by identifying your most creative time of the day and making sure to save your creative tasks for just that moment. And you’ll pick stuff up in the workplace from your colleagues and from raw experience.
But you can give yourself a head-start by looking straight to the top. How do the most successful businesspeople maximise the returns on the work they put in?
“If you want to be more productive, then start at the start,” suggests Richard Branson, “Get there on time.” There is a dual wisdom to this advice. Of course, you need to arrive punctually as a matter of respect for your work colleagues, and to ensure you function well collectively (for example, you can’t begin a meeting while only one person has turned up).
But Branson also hints at the need to start when you start and finish when you finish: we waste a lot of stray minutes rustling papers or sharing unnecessary information in meetings and in solitary work. Learn to get stuck in rather than waiting for every little element to be in place.
Jeff Bezos also recommends getting stuck into work with minimal fuss. “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70 percent of the information you wish you had,” he suggests. “If you wait for 90 percent, in most cases you’re probably being slow.”
There is great method for making decisions productively: it is called DIET.
- Define what data is necessary
- Integrate it into the decision-making process
- Explore different options
- Test solutions
Like with so many elements in the professional world, learning to simplify decision-making can deliver better results, faster.
For more advice from the top on how to become more productive, check out this new infographic of productivity tips from successful founders.
What other tips do you have for when you’re starting out in business? Let us know in the comments below.