For most organizations, time is one of the most important commodities around. There’s always an abundance of work to get done, but only a few hours a day to make it happen, so it’s imperative we take advantage of every time-saving trick available to get the job done. Here are a few productivity hacks we recommend for maximizing every hour of the day.
Understand Parkinson’s Law
One of the reasons that time-management is so difficult is because of a principle known as Parkinson’s Law: whatever work we have will expand to fill the time we have available to complete it. There are limits, of course (if it’s impossible to complete a task in a given amount of time, we won’t be able to do it), but as a general observation, humans tend to stretch simpler tasks to pad out a given period.
With this knowledge in mind, we can squeeze more out of the time we have available by limiting the amount of time we allow ourselves for certain tasks to no more than we need. We need to have an accurate idea of how long it takes to do something to pull this off (using a timer can help), and strategies like time blocking can aid in planning multiple tasks and optimizing our workflow.
Take Advantage of Timeboxing
Timeboxing allows us to make the best use of blocked time by assigning a strict time-limit to whatever task we’re addressing. Unlike time blocking, where we may address many items during that block and allocate more time for unfinished items later, timeboxing requires a hard start and stop. You only get the time allotted for that specific task, and you’re forced to focus your thinking to solve problems in real time – no delays.
Utilize Lightning Decision Jams
The more back and forth that goes into a decision, the longer it generally takes to make. If we use lightning decision jams to excise superfluous conversation, however, we can make quick decisions. Here’s how it works:
- Start by outlining and prioritizing the challenges that our team is experiencing.
- Take the most significant challenge, then have each team member spend a set amount of time devising a solution by themselves.
- Have the group reconvene, and as a whole vote on the solutions they favor most.
- After prioritizing the most popular solutions, have the team weigh the effort and impact of each to arrive at a final decision.
The endless cycle of discussion doesn’t exist in this version of problem-solving, so we can strike right at the heart of an issue and start getting things done.
Harness the Power of Independent Brainstorming
It turns out that brainstorming in group sessions doesn’t work. A combination of laziness, group anxiety, intentionally stymying our own creativity, and the clunky nature of group discussion actually prevent group brainstorming from bringing our best ideas forward, according to Harvard Business Review.
A better strategy is for us to generate our best ideas on our own, using a combination of mind mapping, freewriting, and other creative techniques, then come together as a group to discuss and vote on the best ideas. This way, we can free our team members from that negative group pressure and ensure that everyone’s ideas get some attention before we decide on what will work.
Interested in these tools? Have Historic facilitate a workshop for your organization and start getting more done today.