Keep it simple, keep it consistent! Three more stumbling blocks to increased productivity:
4. Duplicating/Excessive Systems:
As we were working in her home office, one of my clients repeated her boss’s mantra about organizational systems, which I believe is worth repeating. “Lightweight structure – rigorously adhered to.” It’s a mantra worth keeping in mind when you’re putting any kind of organizing system into place. If you find that you’re duplicating systems, such as having to write something down in more than one place (in multiple calendars, for example), keeping more than one list for identical tasks or projects, keeping multiple filing systems for the same information (digital and paper), you may be making too much work for yourself. Sometimes this is related to perfectionism. If you’re spending more time ORGANIZING than doing, your systems may be overlapping, duplicating, and too complicated. Simplify, think macro rather than micro, and keep your structures lightweight. Then stick to them rigorously and consistently.
5. Neglecting Your Systems:
While spending too much time creating and maintaining organizing systems can impede your productivity, spending little or no time maintaining them is equally disruptive. Taking no time to create orderly systems and little time to maintain what you have will slow you down and waste your time looking for stuff you can’t find, re-creating documents you’ve already done, being late for or missing appointments, double-booking yourself, and creating needless stress. While “I don’t have time to get organized” is a common lament, the reality is that you don’t have time NOT to get organized. If your paper piles have gotten out of control, you’re losing things on your cluttered desk on a regular basis, or the desktop on your computer is so full of files and documents that you can’t find anything easily, you need to take some time to put some systems into place and maintain them regularly. Set aside time for things like filing paperwork weekly, putting things away at the end of each workday, and establishing a consistent digital naming and file system for your computer. They will save you time, hassle, and stress in the long run.
6. Identify the Root Cause:
Sometimes we (or our employee) are working outside our skill set, or dealing with work that is counter to our natural abilities or inclinations. This often means time is wasted and productivity is compromised because it takes us longer to accomplish tasks that may be easier and simpler for someone else. Often hiring an expert to take care of these tasks can save time and money, rather than struggling through it on our own. Consider how you (or your employee) can best use your abilities, skills, and training to maximize your time and energy. While learning new skills can be empowering, consistently being forced to work outside of your skill set can be debilitating, exhausting, and inhibit your productivity.
Taking a good, honest look at what’s getting in your way, and moving forward to address those roadblocks can smooth your path to increased productivity and allow you to make the most of the time that you have!