We all complain about being busy. Too much to do, too many emails, too many meetings. Our modern workplace demands so much from us. You may have numerous productivity tools at your disposal to help you plan your time and manage your priorities, but are you really leveraging your technology to meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace? Are you working smart?
To truly work effectively today it is critical to harness the power of your technology, and to use it in a co-ordinated way to manage three core aspects of your work – your Actions, your Inputs and your Outcomes.
This is the first in a series of four blogs based on Smart Work, the productivity book that will help you to centralise your actions, organise your inputs and realise your outcomes.
I believe that the key to working productively today is to do two things:
- Harness the power of the technology that you have at your fingertips, and
- Use these tools to organise your work in an integrated way
Most workers use MS Outlook, Lotus Notes or Gmail to manage their emails. But these systems are more than email tools – they are workload management tools. The will have a calendar and task list built in to help you to manage your actions. The problem is that while most people use the electronic calendar to organise their meetings, few use the task function in these tools to manage their priorities. An integrated approach to productivity requires an integrated tool, where meetings and tasks are managed side by side, and both are linked to your email system.
So, the first step is to fully utilize your electronic scheduling system to organise your work. Next, you need to think about the three core aspects of your productivity – Actions, Inputs and Outcomes. Productivity comes from firstly prioritising and scheduling your commitments and priorities effectively, secondly from organising your incoming work in an efficient manner, keeping control of the inputs that require action from you, and thirdly from spending as much time as possible doing work that will help you to achieve your outcomes.