By Shade Adehinle


Happy New Year! What are your resolutions? What are the slogans for the year? I have heard all sorts: 2013- My year of open doors; my year of new beginnings; my year of flourishing etc. Have you thought of: 2013- My year of productivity? Lol.

As we begin the New Year, we are all faced with higher demands on productivity. For most of us who work regular schedules, we seem to think that the only way to increase productivity is to work extra hours.  As much as it is good to work extra hours if it is required to meet your deliverables and deadlines, it is not a good solution towards achieving productivity as it will only make you a work zombie.

According to Paul Mayer, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort”.  Below are 5 simple and highly effective ways to increase your productivity.

Break down your work into tasks and sub tasks

Most successful projects have something in common; all of them however have to be broken down into activities and tasks, to be owned and managed by different individuals with resources assigned against each one of them. Ask yourself these questions.

  • What do you intend to accomplish?
  • How will you measure the task’s success?
  • What’s the timeline?
  • What resources will be required? – People, budget, tools, support etc.
  • Do you have the resources at your disposal?

Chart out the process

You have a plan. The next step is to break down each of the tasks into processes through which they will get accomplished. When a problem is large or complex, and the best solution is unclear, charting a process allows you to begin making progress towards a solution even though you cannot immediately see the entire path at the first instance.

Detailing the tasks improves your chances of success and increases your productivity, though detailing the process can be tiring.

Set up a monitoring mechanism

Once you have set your goals and the plan has been broken down into tasks with process steps, the next move is to set up signals to know if you are progressing or not. Always give progress feedback to all the stakeholders. Also, always keep all informed about all good news / bad news in advance – no surprises. Knowing where you stand is a very important aspect of increasing productivity.

Avoid the activity trap and be focused

Do not confuse being productive with being busy, most of the managers take on one or another task to fill the time. Always being busy can make you rigid and narrow-minded. Create free time or have quick breaks in between to get those creative, productive juices going again. If you have spare time go read a book rather than taking up other people’s task.

Manage your time

Plan your time and manage it well. If you have not been valuing your time, then start doing so now. Time wasted or lost cannot be regained. Make the best use of your time.

It has been stated that 85 percent of the things you do account for only 15% of your results, and vice-versa. This is a pretty important observation that could help increase your productivity. Figure out your largest time wasters and eliminate them to increase your productivity. Time management is the key to increasing productivity. Taking time to plan and set priorities for your life actually frees up more time rather than diving into the muddle of activities.

Have a productive 2013!!!