You have a problem with productivity. I know you do, because everyone does. Everyone with a job wants to be more productive at work. The reason, as we know, is that being productive at work is a key indicator for promotions, pay rises, and general respect. If you work for yourself or those things don’t matter to you, then at a more fundamental level we all want to get more done with our time.
To Be More Productive at Work – You Need to Say No
Here is the truth of how to be productive at work, whether you are lawyer, student, graduate or something else entirely (if you’re not any of those things – welcome to my site and as great as it is that you’re reading this, I really have to wonder what you’re doing here). Every time you say yes to anything, you are necessarily saying no to something else.
Today we’re going to explore some things you might consider saying no to, in order to free you up and let you be more productive at work.
1. Don’t Say Yes to Things that Should be Done by Others
For lawyers in particular, this is a big issue. You see, I can type, use a photocopier, amend documents, punch holes, staple things and various other tasks that I am quite competent at despite my handicap of being legally trained. However, I shouldn’t be doing any of those things most of the time. Being productive means producing as much value for your firm as possible, not just doing stuff. You need to be ensuring that as much as you can, you are doing work that is the highest value it can be for you. What that work is will change over time, but chances are if you’re admitted as a lawyer it probably isn’t hole punching and stapling. Sometimes there’s no option and stuff just needs to be done – but usually that’s not the case. Just remember if you need to delegate, do it right.
2. Don’t Say Yes to Things that you are Incompetent At
I’m sorry if nobody has told you this before – but you can’t do everything. And given a choice, you should not be agreeing to do things that you don’t understand. Your options are to understand it better, or get someone else to do it. Fluffing around on a task you simply can’t do is not productive.
3. Every Item of Input is Takes away from time you can Output
Read the paper? Online news? Listen in on conversations or phone calls? If you want to have significant output and be more productive at work, you need to seriously think about how much time you spend on input while you’re there. You already know that I’m a fan of reading, but when you’re at work you need to watch the necessary balance – be outputting as much as possible, rather than inputting.
A Great Resource
Hey since writing this post, a great book has come out on this topic call Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Check it out if you want some really useful, well considered and easy to read ideas on pursuing less in your life (the link is an affiliate link and will take you to Amazon).
Less is More
Hopefully you can see with my few examples – there are things we say yes to every day which perhaps we shouldn’t. Spreading yourself thin actually impacts negatively on your productivity at work, so if you want to have a high output and be as productive as you can, take a good look at what you can cull.
Me? I read far less news now than I used to, and I don’t really watch TV anymore that much. The time and energy I have recaptured just from those two things has made a significant difference in my ability to be productive throughout the day.
If you have a minute – let me know in the comments just one thing that you could say no to, to make you more productive at work.