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Do You Make These Productivity Mistakes When You Work Under Pressure?

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Do You Make These Productivity Mistakes When You Work Under Pressure?

With the silly season approaching fast, most of us, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, face a mountain of deadlines at work.

Often we can’t even envision how we’ll be able to complete everything in time, and this pressure just sits above us like a dark cloud.

Whether we live with a mild feeling of urgency or fall into a state of sheer panic, we are likely to make some less than ideal decisions about the way we work:

  • We pay little attention to the wellbeing of our body and mind; we may eat poorly, skip exercise, or try to save time on sleep.
  • Although we work insane hours, we don’t take enough, or maybe any breaks during the day, and perhaps also work through lunch (if we have any).
  • We certainly don’t allow ourselves enough time to daydream or contemplate, and we try to come up with solutions to problems in a state of mind that’s not really conducive to creativity.
  • We don’t spend enough time on communicating effectively; for example, we discuss issues via email or over the phone even when a face-to-face meeting would lead to a better result.
  • Investing in our work relationships becomes a low priority; we are so fixated on getting things done that we neglect nurturing our people and strengthening the cohesion of our team.
  • Some of us tend to sit still like a mushroom and work in a bubble all day long, while others can’t help running around and jumping from one task to the other.
  • We often rush through things, and perhaps even skim read articles like this one.

Put simply, the way we work lacks strategy and balance.

We may create the illusion that we’re making good use of every minute of our time, but in reality, we are not very effective. At the end of the day, we look back and realise that despite our efforts we have made less progress than on other days when the pressure is off, and we are more relaxed and thoughtful.

As much as I value the power of intuition, I believe that at stressful times it’s often best not to rely on our in-the-moment instincts about how we should work.

To get around this, even in the midst of all the madness, we should all be able to find a few sacred minutes at least once a day when we stop and ask the question:

“How can I and my team work most effectively?”

During the most hectic weeks of the year, we naturally spend less of our time and energy on non-urgent matters such as developing our workplace culture, work processes and communication strategies than during quieter periods.

Let me suggest that you pay at least, a little attention, to all areas that matter to your team’s productivity and the success of your business.

When you plan your days, allocate some time for individual work and teamwork as well as social activities and self-care. With you and your team feeling more connected, engaged and energised, you’ll be able to work smarter and tackle tasks quicker.

Make the necessary steps to eliminate distractions before you jump into tasks that require concentration. Close your door, switch off your phone, and go offline if needed. And make a firm commitment to yourself to focus on one thing at a time.

Similarly, create the right conditions for creative tasks. Find a place that inspires you, and which doesn’t remind you of the pressures of your work. To be able to think outside the box, you need to be able to free your mind from the everyday challenges of your business.

Make careful choices about the tools and technologies you use for work, and the ways you share information and communicate. For example, the right team meeting at the right time could save you days of work lost due to misunderstandings or inefficiencies.

Spending a bit of preparation time before you surrender yourself to your to-do list is a bit like tying your shoelaces properly before you go for a run. It’s a relatively quick action that helps you run faster and with less pain, and which ensures that you won’t trip over.

You might also find a few ideas in these articles that could help you get through hectic times:

 

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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