Empowering Friday Tip; Getting Productive FAST

Inspired by Three Ways to Think Deeply at Work @ Harvard Business Review

The best thing about Friday’s? The week is over.. what’s done is done.. you can’t change the past, but you sure as heck learn from it in order to make next Friday an even better one!

Distracting Yourself & the power of work sprints; in his post, David Rock states “people who were distracted did better on a complex problem-solving task than people who put in conscious effort. That’s because stepping away from a problem and then coming back to it gives you a fresh perspective. The surprising part is how fast this effect kicked in — the third group only had two minutes of distraction time for their non-conscious to kick in. This wasn’t the “sleep on it” effect, or about quieting the mind. It was something much more accessible to all of us every day, in many small ways”.

Key learning; “stepping away from a problem and then coming back to it gives you a fresh perspective”. As I’ve shared before & often on this blog.. 60-90 minute focused work-sprints involving only like-minded tasks, followed by 10-15m recovery breaks will not only help you resolve problems quicker & better, it will increase your daily productivity by a factor of x5!

The Four-Hour Work Flow & making your own plan; It’s been said here before and I’ll repeat it.. either you make your own plan, or you’ll become part of someone elses’ plan.. and which plan do you think will safeguard your own best interests? One key observation, I don’t agree with the 4-hour “consistent” workflow unless you build in recovery breaks every 60-90m as I’ve stated above.

That said, do follow these powerful planning tips;

1. FOCUS; Think about one question/idea that needs insight and keep this thought in your subconscious mind

2. Mind to Paper; Clear your conscious mind by using this two-step system: move your thought(s) from your mind to a list and then clear your list when you have a short break (if your meeting is canceled, for instance, or your flight is delayed)

3. Make Your Plan; Plan your week and month by listing three priorities you would like to accomplish

4. Clear The Mechanism; Make certain you have at least four consecutive (**), uninterrupted hours a day dedicated to the three priorities you identified.

Key Learning; Again, I’m not a fan of more than 60-90m work-sprints, but I do agree with “making time” in your calender to work on your “big rocks” for the week or month. Note I state “making time” vs. the typically stated “finding time”. I’ll guarantee you that you’ll never “find the time” or conditions unless you take personal responsibility & block-out your calender to do what’s most important to you & your plan.

Understanding & Controlling who’s on your stage; “A stage has severe limitations: audience members clamor to jump on stage all the time (we are easily distracted and self-inhibition requires effort); actors can only play one part at a time (that means no multi-tasking); and no more than three or four actors can be on the stage at any one time (that’s when we feel overwhelmed).”

Key Learning; In work-groups or strategic meetings, fight the temptation to involve everyone. Here’s a golden opportunity for less is better than more, especially if you focus more on diversity of opinion, experience & passion brought to the table.

BONUS Learning; multi-tasking doesn’t work! A recent Harvard Business Review post says that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman, 2010). – source @ WORKPLACE PSYCHOLOGY

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