Q. What are your top tips for increasing productivity?
Quite often it is the small changes that make the biggest impact on our overall productivity and energy, and we under-estimate these significantly.
Here are six easy ways to increase your productivity at work so you can get the job done in an authentically effortless manner:
- Make a move
A simple 10min walk around the block not only rejuvenates the body but re-oxygenates the brain. Fresh air helps you to think better and increases your energy levels. Your brain needs twenty percent of your body’s oxygen. More oxygen brings greater clarity to the brain, improves your concentration, helps you to think more clearly and has a positive effect on your energy level. This simple act can rejuvenate you for another hour or so, increasing your productivity and decreasing the drain on your energy levels.
- Fuel your body for performance
We know that eating healthily makes us feel and look good, but it also gives our brain the fuel it needs to think productively. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before….but it’s all true! Ensure you’re consuming lots of leafy greens and veggies along with some protein and healthy fats. Avoid high GI foods like white pasta, bread and rice as they tend to fill you up quickly but make you feel tired, sluggish and searching for more food sooner.
- Shift tasks
There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to push through a task and wasting energy trying to complete it. Instead of sitting at your desk feeling stressed that your productivity is declining, help your brain recalibrate! Shifting tasks is the best way to achieve this. Whether it be focusing on some light admin or simply making yourself a warm drink. Your mind will feel refreshed, making that initial task no longer seem so daunting. Just make sure this doesn’t turn into a procrastination exercise!
- Get a better night sleep
How hard is it to get your work done and be productive when you’re exhausted? There is a reason we’re told not to drive a car while tired. The same goes for trying to work while tired too. Turning to caffeine is not the answer, sleep is! It is so crucial for brain function, so aim to have enough sleep that you feel energised when you wake to maximise productivity during the day.
- Work at your personal pace
Ever noticed that everyone in the office works at a different pace? Some are ‘fast paced’ and can switch between tasks quite easily, preferring to work in shorter bursts. Others prefer to settle into a task and work at it for longer periods of time without distractions. Whichever one you are, it’s important to work at your personal pace, and not try to be something that you’re not! This will help you be in your element and, as a result, increase productivity.
- Don’t sort your to-do list by ‘priority’
Of course, it’s important to recognise what your priority tasks are, but make sure you’re working through them based on when you have the energy to complete them. Ever tried to do a heavier task with no energy? It takes you twice as long and it’s far more draining. Recognising what times of the day you work best will help you get through your more important tasks at a productive rate.
Imagine how it would feel if you had an extra hour of productive time throughout the day simply from going for a 10min walk, or structuring your day according to your natural pace? Most often we tell ourselves we are too busy to walk away from the task at hand, when in actual fact the task itself could be slowing us down.
Q. How can people sustain high performance?
We talk a lot about high performance and often people tell us their businesses and organisations are already high performing cultures. When I hear this my automatic response is, ‘Yes, but is it sustainable?’ If the effort levels are not sustainable (which most often they aren’t) then it’s simply a high burnout culture.
To be sustainably high performing you need to understand your natural pace, identify your energy drains and structure your days according to your energy. Think of an athlete and how they train leading up to an important game or event. If they pushed at 100% every day, by game day they would be exhausted. Yet, in business this is seen as standard protocol. High performance is performance up, effort levels down. When effort levels are above performance, you’re in burnout mode.
Q. I am so guilty of coming out of conferences with a huge amount of ideas but don’t find the time to implement. How do we (I!) fix this?
Think about what it is you want to achieve and what’s the ultimate result you want to drive? Is the information you’ve gathered going to support you to achieve your desired outcome, or was it just a bunch of great information? Everything we do should move us closer to our desired result. If it’s going to help you drive results, you make it a priority. When people say they don’t have time, it’s just an excuse. When you change your language your perception/view of the situation changes. Rather than saying, ‘I don’t have time to implement that great sales plan from the conference’, say ‘generating revenue is not a priority for me.’ I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sit well with me!
Q. Three people alive or dead you would want to coach and why?
Cate Campbell – Olympic Swimmer
On paper, she is the best female swimmer in Australia. Unfortunately, at both the most recent Olympics and Commonwealth Games she let her mindset overpower the task at hand. Her level of resilience is significantly below that needed to compete at such a high level. High performance is a state of mind. If you don’t believe you can achieve it, you never will.
Aspiring/next generation of leaders
I know this isn’t a person in particular, but I’m a big believer in investing in yourself and investing in those coming behind us to perform at their optimal best. Throughout my career, I’ve seen so many people with so much potential be held back by limiting beliefs and beliefs engrained by those around them. I.e. ‘You’re not really a typical sales person’, or ‘when you reach a certain level in your career, then you’ll be entitled to a coach.’ I’ve heard it all! But have they ever been coached to be a good sales person? To get to that next level? The high performers who have not yet achieved this skill set or rank but know they are on the fast track toward it will generally deserve it earlier and, therefore, will invest in a coach for themselves to get them there sooner. These are my kind of people!
Women in general
Being one, I have a pretty good insight into what makes us tick. I see a lot of woman stall in reaching their potential based mainly on their limiting beliefs and the dreaded ‘imposter syndrome’. This isn’t a feminist thing for me (or whatever title you want to attach to it). I’ve achieved what I have in life purely because I’ve challenge those limiting beliefs that haven’t served me. And I believe women in particular struggle to do this effectively. Overall, my goal is to help people be more awesome….because I believe everyone can be.
Q. What’s the best advice you would give people considering getting a coach?
It’s fast becoming more the norm that anyone who takes performance in business and life seriously absolutely has a coach. It’s worth considering why successful, high-performers all use coaches. What are they on to? Eric Schmitt (CEO, Google), Oprah, Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, Serena Williams (outside of sports), Richard Branson – all avid coach advocates.
Our view on coaching is that it’s only a cost if you don’t implement. Assuming the coaching is good, you are highly likely to implement, which means the initial outlay turns into an investment on which you get an excellent return. With a coach challenging you, showing you who you are in a mirror (despite what you had thought), keeping you accountable, helping you build your level of self-responsibility and growing your skills in both business and self-perception, you are inevitably going to perform significantly better than you would have done on your own.