Productivity posts [with link bait titles] usually annoy me to no end, but I just realized that if your job consist of filing memos and doing other routine work that does not require many insights then most of those tips are actually quite valid.
However, for those of you that work in the creative sector, here are some ways to increase YOUR productivity.
- Keep everything available and within sight even if it just a corner of a piece of paper under another piece of paper. Ultimately, your desk will have a workspace of 10×10″ that is surrounded by stacks of paper, open books, etc. Use post-it notes on vertical surfaces. I use pens and pencils with three different kinds of colors. Not to classify subjects by category, but by age. This will allow you to manage complex ideas and you will quickly be able to find anything you need since you can typically see it and relate it to other documents you can also see. This is three-dimensional thinking in a sense. Depth indicates “era” as well as tenure [and lack of current importance].
- Avoid seminars. Seminars promote group think. They are typically a waste of time since people tend to talk about their results and what they have done rather than the ideas that lead them to those results and what they are going to use thoe results for. Bloggers should avoid reading other blogs on the same topic.
- Meetings can be much more productive if kept in a public chat instead of face to face. People can type (70WPM) almost as fast as they can talk or listen (115WPM). However, multiple people can type simultaneously. You can replace all meetings by keeping such a chat line open at all times. If an explanation requires gesticulation, just pop into the person’s office. Best thing, you can keep working when the meeting moves in directions that are irrelevant to you.
- Go to the restroom often. I don’t know what it is about restrooms, but they instantly solve most complicated problems. Maybe it’s the air ;-P
- Another way of solving a complicated problem is to find an ignorant person, like your boss, and try to explain it, that is, the problem, not his ignorance, to him. The act of explaining can clarify a lot of points and if you have a good boss, he will be a good listener.
- Keep employees stocked on free snacks and coffee. Yes, it’s unhealthy, but if you want them working, bring the brain fuel to their office and they might never leave. I do not understand why this is not standard practice. I’d rather have my wages cut by $1000/year compared to losing a $50/month coffee and cookie service—and I doubt it would be that much.
- If no solution is forthcoming, staring desperately at it will not result in anything. Breaking things down in baby steps will only work on linear problems. That’s not what you’re getting paid for. Procrastinate! Sleep on it. Surf the web. Those methods tend to be more effective than hammering on it for 50 hours.