At Work vs Working

As a Regional Manager for PADI I am fortunate to travel to many destinations throughout my region. I get to meet many dive centre owners and managers in exotic locations. Everybody’s dream job. However I am amazed at the recurring theme that I get to witness at most of these centres. Many of the staff and managers come to work, but fail to achieve their goals and objectives for the day. Instead of being proactive, they have to be reactive and this ultimately leads to less productivity and underachievement in the Dive centre.

Diving to the Office

So, what is work? My definition of work is the important things you do. Meetings, social media and work socializing doesn’t count The Pareto principle states that eighty percent of your results come from twenty percent of your efforts. So focusing on that twenty percent will bring in far better results instead of trying to please everyone and do a little bit of everything. So how do you set about achieving this?

  • Make a list
    • Every evening you should list all the tasks that you are wanting to achieve the following day. Allocate a time for each of these tasks. Don’t give yourself too many tasks to accomplish as not achieving the tasks can be just as bad as not having done them at all. Be realistic.
  • Wake up early
    • To achieve what you have set out to do you have got to get up in time to make it happen. Give yourself enough time in the morning to do everything you need to do at home before heading into the office. If need be, change your bed time so that you are still getting eight hours of sleep.
  • Do some exercise
    • It has been scientifically proven that doing some exercise in the morning can make us think better, work better and become a whole lot more productive. In Robert Pozen’s book, Extreme Productivity he writes that a modest exercise habit can help keep you sharper into old age, give you more energy to take on the day, and improve your mood. A quick cycle, run or gym session can prepare you for a day of getting a whole lot done.
  • Prepare for the day ahead.
    • Do all your preparation tasks before you start your day. If it means that you eat breakfast, feed the goldfish, open the office, water the plants, put the coffee on, do all these tasks first. Make yourself comfortable. When you achieve all these preparatory tasks first you are creating an environment free from distractions and ultimately making you more productive.
  • Do not check your emails as you get to work.
    • These emails can easily distract you from your planned schedule. For sure you will need to check them at some stage but allocate a time for this later in your day. These new emails can easily consume your whole morning without achieving anything.
  • Wear earphones.
    • Researchers at Harvard Business School found that earphones block out distractions and keep you focused on the tasks ahead.
  • Write First
    • Writing or composing emails is one of the most mentally demanding tasks that you are faced with. However writing also has the ability to focus you and get your brain in tune with what you have set out to do. Writing improves productivity and if you start out with this task it will improve the quality of your writing for the remainder of the day.
  • Tackle your most difficult tasks first.
    • The author Mark Twain wrote: ” If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” If you get that task you have been dreading to do done first thing in the morning everything else in your day will seem to be far easier and you will be more productive.
  • One Minute Decisions
    • Most managers find decision making to be the most difficult and time consuming portion of their days work. When faced with a decision give yourself sixty seconds to make it. You will find that your decision will be just as good but not have wasted as much time.
  • Stick to your planned schedule and tasks
    • Do not allow yourself to be distracted from your plan for the day. Stick to your schedule, allow it to guide your day. You will achieve more and be far more productive.
  • Have a clear work space
    • Junk and mess in your office creates distractions. Clean up your office and before you leave for the day make sure you leave it spic and span. When you get to work the next day it will allow you to think clearer, work harder and be more productive.
  • Be sure to reward yourself.
    • Some time during your work day you are going to have to stop. Look back at what you have achieved and tell yourself how much you have accomplished. If it means eating a chocolate bar or doing your happy dance, do it. Make time to reward yourself.
  • Have a routine and stay with it
    • If you do something over and over repeatedly you will be able to do it better and faster the next time you do it. Once you get into your groove, stay with it. Your routine is the start of your productivity.

Hopefully by following these simple tips you will become more productive in your work environment and achieve those goals you have set yourself.