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Workplace Productivity 



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Focusing a Team

  1. Team Assessment: Use this assessment to take a critical look at your team.  

  2. Visioning: Use this activity to articulate your teamís ideal future

  3. Goal Setting: Use this activity to focus your team goals and set a basis for directed action

  4. Building an Action Plan: Use this activity to identify specific actions to begin achieving your goals

  5. Clarifying Roles: This activity will help your team clarify the role of each individual team member.

  6. Understanding Change: A look at managing successful change.

  7. Collaboration Strategies:  Know how to collaborate effectively

  8. Conflict Awareness:  Manage team conflict before it escalates

  9. Team Norms: Setting ground rules for team participation and behavior

  10. Team Expectations: A team leader's expectations of his/her team members

  11. Team Building Games:  Sample five easy-to-implement team building games

  12. Managing the Net Generation: Understand the work expectations of a new wave of professionals

  13. Fostering Innovation: Ten key rules for fostering innovation in the workplace

  14. Workplace Productivity: Thirty strategies to boost your personal on-the-job productivity

  15. Work Culture: Twelve indicators of a healthy work culture

  16. Difficult Feedback: Tips to consider when confronting a team member

  17. Receiving Feedback: Guidelines to accept constructive feedback

Personal Productivity in the Workplace

Personal productivity isnít necessarily about working harder.  It is more about working smarter and more efficiently.  Below is blogger Steve Pavlina's list of things that you might try to increase your productivity.  Read through the list of behavioral tactics below and select some things that might work for you.  (Note: A simple training exercise follows the list)

  1. Nuke it!  The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it.  If it doesnít need to be done, get it off your to do list.

  2. Daily goals.  Without a clear focus itís too easy to succumb to distractions.  Set targets for each day in advance.  Decide what youíll do; then do it.

  3. Worst first.  To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day.  This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.

  4. Peak times.  Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.

  5. No-communication zones.  Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate.  Schedule light, interruptible tasks for your open-communication periods and more challenging projects for your no-communication periods.

  6. Mini-milestones.  When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working.  For example, when working on a book, you could decide not to get up until youíve written at least 1000 words.  Hit your target no matter what.

  7. Timeboxing.  Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task.  Donít worry about how far you get.  Just put in the time. 

  8. Batching.  Batch similar tasks like phone calls or errands into a single chunk, and knock them off in a single session.

  9. Early bird.  Get up early in the morning, like at 5am, and go straight to work on your most important task.  You can often get more done before 8am than most people do in a day.

  10. Cone of silence.  Take a laptop with no network or WiFi access and go to a place where you can work flat out without distractions, such as a library, park, coffee house, or your own backyard.  Leave your communication gadgets behind.

  11. Tempo.  Deliberately pick up the pace and try to move a little faster than usual.  Speak faster.  Walk faster.  Type faster.  Read faster.  Go home sooner.

  12. Relaxify.  Reduce stress by cultivating a relaxing, clutter-free workspace.

  13. Agendas.  Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance.  This greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency.  You can use it for phone calls too.

  14. Pareto.  The Pareto principle is the 80-20 rule which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort.  Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and donít over-engineer the non-critical 80%.

  15. Ready-fire-aim.  Bust procrastination by taking action immediately after setting a goal, even if the action isnít perfectly planned.  You can always adjust course along the way.

  16. Minuteman.  Once you have the information you need to make a decision, start a timer and give yourself just 60 seconds to make the actual decision.  Take a whole minute to vacillate and second-guess yourself all you want, but come out the other end with a clear choice.  Once your decision is made, take some kind of action to set it in motion.

  17. Deadline.  Set a deadline for task completion and use it as a focal point to stay on track.

  18. Promise.  Tell others of your commitments, since theyíll help hold you accountable.

  19. Punctuality.  Whatever it takes, show up on time.  Arrive early.

  20. Gap reading.  Use reading to fill in those odd periods like waiting for an appointment, standing in line, or while the coffee is brewing. 

  21. Resonance.  Visualize your goal as already accomplished.  Put yourself into a state of actually being there.  Make it real in your mind, and youíll soon see it in your reality.

  22. Glittering prizes.  Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement.  See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.

  23. Quad 2.  Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent.  Allocate blocks of time to work on the critical Quadrant 2 tasks, those which are important but rarely urgent.

  24. Continuum.  At the end of your workday, identify the first task youíll work on the next day and set out the materials in advance.  The next day begin working on that task immediately.

  25. Slice and dice.  Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks.  Focus on completing just one of those tasks.

  26. Single-handling.  Once you begin a task, stick with it until itís 100% complete.  Donít switch tasks in the middle.  When distractions come up, jot them down to be dealt with later.

  27. Randomize.  Pick a totally random piece of a larger project and complete it.  Pay one random bill.  Make one phone call.  Write page 11 of your report.

  28. 30 days.  Identify a new work habit youíd like to form and commit to sticking with it for just 30 days.  A temporary commitment is much easier to keep than a permanent one. 

  29. Delegate.  Convince someone else to do it for you.

  30. Intuition.  Go with your gut instinct.  Itís probably right.


If you are training, coaching, or working with a group or team, try this simple three- step activity.

Step One: Ask the group to define personal productivity in the workplace.  Then generate a list of ďproductivity blockers.Ē   

Step Two: Select two to five of the thirty productivity strategies listed in this entry and discuss them with the group.

Step Three: Ask the group members to identify their own productivity strategies.  Encourage them to try some over the next two weeks.