Top tips for ‘getting stuff done’ – our community reveal their secrets to improving productivity at work! 

As part of Work Wise Week 2017, we asked our community ‘how to engage yourself, your staff and your colleagues to ‘get things done’?’ The answers we received ranged from the motivational and inspiring to the useful shortcuts and practical tips… Here are their thoughts and insights!

Cathy Brown – Engage for Success, Exec Director

Engaging me – I’m a terrible procrastinator, so I find it works well to start even a tiny bit of something because when I get started I carry on, but when I don’t get started at all nothing happens!

Engaging & enthusing other people – start with why, trust people to deliver in their way, make space and time for everyone to contribute, do what you say you are going to do (oooer, sounds a bit like the Four Enablers!)

Cinthya Quijano – Change Differently Ltd

My biggest top tip to productivity is to avoid multitasking. All my life I thought it was good to multitask, but actually this can mean you start something and never finish. So focus on one thing at a time. You can even time yourself for specific tasks and reward yourself!

Helen Cook – Engage for Success Core Team

In my experience the greatest productivity when working in teams comes when you make it competitive, imaginative and FUN!

When working alone I find that “slicing the elephant” helps – break the task down into manageable chunks and then get started!!

Michelle Grant – The Engaging People Company

I have found that planning is key. I have used Getting Things Done – which is a powerful tool for identifying next actions and for freeing the mind from all the ‘to dos’ which it holds. I also use the Natural Planning Model to help me move from visioning to implementation. Planning helps to support my wellbeing and a sense of being in control. I also use coaching and mentoring, which helps me in particular when I might be ‘stuck’ in my thinking. Working with a coach is an empowering way to remove any thinking errors which are posing as barriers. And I find that mindfulness and meditation also help to free my thinking which makes me more productive and focused, and supports my wellbeing.

Eddy Piasentin – British Columbia Ministry of Health

The best way I’ve found to engage myself is through one-on-one or small group discussions. I spend a lot of time alone in my head, working through challenges and strategy. While I enjoy this work, it can become isolating. I find every time I step back and engage a colleague or members of my team on an issue I’m grappling with, my own personal satisfaction and engagement skyrockets. I tend to process issues best when talking it out, and invariably I find I’m invigorated by the exchange.

In terms of my team, I regularly talk about taking risks. I encourage thoughtful risk taking, and look for opportunities to assess whether or not we’re censoring ourselves and how we might challenge our thinking. Rather than just doing things because we’ve always done them that way, I do my best to support a fresh perspective on tackling challenges.

Jo Dodds – POWER to Live More and Engage for Success

Learning how to focus on one task at a time and really work deeply on your most important tasks is key to individual and organisational productivity in this ‘always on’, seemingly frenetic world.

Creating the right environment, being clear about what’s needed, removing distractions, taking account of individual styles and promoting wellbeing is vital to ensuring people have the best chance to focus productively on what’s important.

Ali Godding – The Career Leap and Engage for Success

When I am working to a deadline and need to be super productive on a given day I do these 4 key things:

Mantra: “I have all the time I need, to get everything done, that I need to get done today” I say it again and again in a calming manner to myself all morning. This seems to help me to unconsciously and effortlessly make the distinctions between what REALLY needs to get done that day and the things that I (or someone else) would merely like me to get done ‘in an ideal world’.

List the most important items to get done that day – no more than 3-5 things. It stops any feeling of overwhelm creeping in.

Turn off the notifications on the smartphone, and all other distractions (aka facebook, skype etc). Too often we feel at the mercy of every bleep and whistle. Don’t feel you need to be apologetic for protecting your time – and your focussed attention.  It’s what makes you good at what you do!

When you have worked through your ‘most important things’ list – celebrate! Take a walk – fill your lungs with fresh air and don’t let it pass you buy that you nailed it!

Oliver Blackwell – copywriter and E4S volunteer

The corporate world.  Convoluted labyrinth governed by peculiar laws.  Inhabited by formidable heroes, fearsome monsters and enigmatic deities.  To win allies, aspiring adventurer, go boldly, tread carefully and – most of all – do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.

Read Oliver’s creative insights in full on our blog ‘On peer and senior engagement in the perilous realm’ – four steps to conquering the workplace!

Jacqueline Reed – Engage for Success

I think teams need to fully understand the task and what they are working to achieve to be fully productive. This includes a longer-term view and shorter team and individual goals. If people have a good idea what success looks like it is much easier to produce a good plan and make progress against mini milestones to get to the ultimate goal. Keeping things simple, not using jargon and management speak helps individuals and teams have a better grasp of what they are aiming for and their part in its success.

The other thing that increases my productivity is working with people I trust. If I am in a team, large or small, where we all want the best for each other, where we really have each other’s backs, work is easy. I am happier to take more risks, be more creative and work quicker – spending less time going over work to avoid criticism. Trust takes all the angst out of the working day and allow me to be the best I can at work, which makes me so much more productive!

Cat Comer – The Westgrove Group

Using travel time to fit in listening to podcasts is my new work life hack @Engage4Success radio show is one of my top picks #lovelearning

Jo Moffatt – Woodreed and Engage for Success Core Team

Simple one, if something will only take 2 minutes to do then do it now.  Don’t add it to a ‘to do’ list or Action folder to review later, you’ll end up spending multiple 2 minutes on it, and it will add to the length of your ‘to do’ list and depress you.

Sian Fording – Engage for Success Core Team and Academi Wales

Mine would have to be prioritise, prioritise, prioritise! When there are 101 different exciting tasks that you could be jumping into it can be difficult to decide what to start first and you can end up feeling like you’re not getting anywhere with any of them – try to choose a maximum of three things to tackle each week and celebrate if you achieve one of them!

Intuit QuickBooks have also produced a great article on 12 Productivity Tips for a Work Wise Week which includes the infographic of tips featured below and contributed this quote:

“I do a lot of work on either my phone or iPad so having a good app was a huge benefit. Doing expenses and invoices now only takes seconds. The design of the app is also fantastic and really sets them apart from the competition. Prior to QuickBooks online I’d spend hours figuring out my accounts, invoicing and billing – I dreaded the accounting side of my business. Now I can get everything done in minutes and spend time doing what I love – helping clients market their business more effectively.” – Ash Read

productivity infographic

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