Thursday, April 25, 2013
A web site dedicated to small business offers a list of twelve productivity tips from
very productive individuals. You may find, as I did, that you already do some
of these, but that others are completely new, or at least are things you hadn't
considered much in the past. You will get ideas from each item, though.
For example, I have become very big on Item 6, grouping interruptions, in the past few months:
This idea comes from restaurateur Danny Meyer. He has his assistant group all questions that come up during the day in one list so she doesn't have to interrupt him repeatedly during office hours. Take a cue from this and see how you can ask others on your team to group questions, requests and other non-urgent inquiries so you're not distracted by interruptions that don't add value. [link in original]Interruptions don't just break up work flow. Their time cost includes not just what it takes to attend to the tasks themselves, but also the time it takes to switch from one task to another. (Twice, if you attend to one when in the middle of something else.)
This latter cost can be minimized by looking at a list and grouping similar items together. This is most easily seen by errands that require a car and its inherent time cost. Now that I'm having to use a car for practically all my errands, I have become reacquainted with what I call the "twenty-minute idiot tax". It is usually the case that the time it takes to get into a car, reach a destination, and park will cost about that much. A trip to the grocery thus costs forty minutes plus however long the actual shopping takes. Going to the grocery and the pharmacy separately has about eighty minutes of such overhead, but only sixty minutes (or forty, if the two are in the same location) when the two are grouped. Similarly, if my wife cleans up clutter around the house, I ask her to group together receipts or anything else I normally deal with so I can knock them all off at once. Nevertheless, this item has caused me to be on the lookout for other interruptions I might not have been treating that way, or at least not explicitly.
Item 7, outsourcing personal chores, is a potential gold mine, since I do most of our household chores and shopping. I'd heard of grocery shopping through Amazon, for example, but not its Subscribe and Save program, which might save me or my wife from having to do at least some of our errands.
In addition to the list offering worthwhile suggestions, it is well-stocked with links that can elaborate on many of them.