We know through The Huffington Post that stress, panic and anxiety costs Britain £10 billion a year and British workers work the longest hours in Europe.* It's clearly an issue which needs addressing. There's a gentle resolution which is showing itself to be sharply effective. Changing the quality of our thinking can have a profound effect on our energy, wellbeing and the results we generate at work.
Productivity is more than just speeding through our action lists. It's producing the best results, making the best use of our personal style and feeling energised throughout. Using our minds in new and exciting ways creates a better approach to the way we handle workload. That, in itself is lowering stress and increasing motivation.
Many corporate structures dealt with the economic downturn through redundancies, leaving fewer staff taking on more responsibility. Those that remain are keen to retain their jobs so might smile outwardly and scream inwardly, when given additional projects to handle. It might seem a more streamlined way for businesses to operate but having a workforce spinning plates is never going to be conducive to long-term growth. A change in mindset is needed and one that every person in every company needs to undertake. It is up to each of us, whether we manage a team or want to manage our workload to take personal responsibility for our own productivity. This is key to career management, improved satisfaction, team morale and indeed performance. We don't have to buy in to the façade of being seen at our desk first thing and late in to the evening. Likewise, the pandemic of sending emails to show that we are working hard is fairly fruitless. We each want to be working at our best and generating impressive results. We can only do that if we take one step back, breathe deeply and change the way we think about work.
Five key tips to boosting your own productivity levels (from Get Productive!):
Get To Know Yourself: Understand what drives you, what motivates you and what your values are. Often we'll drag our feet if the activity we have in front of us does not align to our core values. So know what you care about and work in that area!
Access Your Energy Levels: Our energy works on four cylinders - physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. You need to pay attention to how these drain and replenish to be fully energised for various tasks and to help you stay motivated.
Create a Feel Good State: We do our best work when we are feeling great. If we're feeling negative, we tend to give up sooner and expect things to be hard for us. People with a positive mindset, approach the task positively, believing they can make it work and focusing on how it can be done. But this positive mindset is something you can create in your mind with thoughts.
Be Productive Across All Your Key Priorities: Our overall happiness and satisfaction comes from a sense of balanced productivity in all of the areas of our life that we deem important. Often, we go all out at work and relax at home (often through tiredness rather than choice). Take a look at every area of your life that is significant to you and take action to rectify areas of imbalance or dissatisfaction. There is no way to cheat your subconscious mind but there's healthy ways of taking control of your balance by examining it.
Clarify Your Goals: Often, we'll be heading towards where we generally want to be but one of the best ways to stay productive is by being really clear about what we want to achieve, knowing why and knowing what the specific steps are towards those goals and taking regular action, step by step. It may seem simple but most people's goals are foggy at best or miss the bridging stepping-stones. Working on developing clarity here is key to helping the brain get naturally excited and ready to take action.
Magdalena Bak-Maier is an educator, executive coach and speaker, delivered through her business: 'Make Time Count'. She is the author of the bestselling book 'Get Productive!', designed to dramatically raise personal productivity on healthy, responsible and balanced terms. It is based on carefully designed and progressively deeper exercises, to help individuals and leaders navigate busy lives.
Get Productive, published by Wiley Capstone is available at £12.99 through Amazon and bookshops.
Magdalena is running an evening workshop in London on November 19. Book at goo.gl/vjYq6Y
*Huffington Post, The Third Metric, 27.7.13