Time management and personal productivity training helps you manage time effectively to achieve your personal and professional goals and the necessary work, social and personal life balance. Therefore, it is important both for your company and for you in all aspects of life.
What is productivity?
One of the official definitions of productivity is “the relationship between what is produced and the means employed, such as labor, materials, energy, etc.” Evidently, as a concept, it depends on several factors that include time, although it is not explicitly mentioned in this definition.
The way in which material resources, our energy and, of course, time are managed determine our productivity. However, while the first two variables can be renewed or expanded, the third is limited by our human perception, is linear and cannot be recovered. Therefore, learning how to manage time effectively to achieve our goals becomes an incredibly useful tool.
How can the company’s productivity be increased?
Business activity experts have realized that many trained employees spend a large percentage of their time constantly distracted by task changes. That translates into stress and an on-going occupation, but not so much into productivity. Sometimes, we assume that being productive means doing many things throughout the day, which is wrong. Productivity involves doing important things systematically and, however much we are doing, there are always a few important priorities.
This concept brings us to the time management matrix that the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, designed, which was developed by Stephen R. Covey in his famous book The 7 habits of highly effective people. The author discussed the so-called fourth generation in time management, where managing the focus of attention at a certain moment was most important, not so much time management itself.
Four quadrants are created with two variables: urgent matters, which require immediate attention and important matters, which contribute to achieving medium and long-term objectives. To be effective, we would have to spend most of our time on the most important but less urgent tasks, included in the second quadrant, and minimize the time spent on the first, in addition to not worrying too much about the remaining quadrants.
Companies offer productivity and time management training to their employees to help them acquire resources that allow them to face their daily challenges more efficiently. For all the above, it seems that this training must at least have three core components:
- Clear information in relation to the roles and their priorities, rather than on the task priorities.
- Talk about attention management and not so much about time management.
- A comprehensive workflow management system.
Using the most important ingredients, this type of training can pick up elements of different time management models and adapt them to the personality of each team, team member and company, as elements with their own distinguishing culture.
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The GTD (Getting Things Done) philosophy, explained in depth in the book with the same name, can be used as a source for ideas when drafting your projects and creating your tasks, making them more manageable and easy to establish their priorities. Moreover time, the well-known Pomodoro technique establishes that work must be limited to 25-minute periods, separated by 5-minute breaks. This methodology is based on the idea that our brain works better in sprints than in a marathon, insisting that the minutes of work should be of full concentration and with no distractions.
Therefore, why not mix what we like the most about different models to establish more flexible guides? Below are a few:
Do not resist to set alarms. Following the Pomodoro technique, promote the idea of respecting times and marking regular breaks.
- Be consistent when marking regular breaks. Encourage a daily work and rest discipline that varies as little as possible. Above all, do not encourage employees to work during breaks.
- Avoid distractions: Create an atmosphere that does not generate distraction during work time, or at least provide the resources to minimize it.
- Plan everything: In line with the previous guide, having everything included in a previous plan allows you to concentrate on work and even block periods of time in the calendar to perform the most important tasks.
- Address the tasks one at a time: In line with what the GTD model states, multitasking is not usually a good companion, however much merit it is granted in some professional circles. Whenever possible, it is best to focus on a single task.
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In short, time management training to increase the company’s productivity should tend to choose the best of the attention and time management models, based on the activity, teams and personality of its members.
In your professional and/or personal experience, what other guides would you consider as basic?