Building productivity in organisations

Most articles written on productivity tend to focus on personal productivity. Emphasis is often laid on the use of to-do lists, Eisenhower matrix and deep work to manage tasks, focus and attention respectively. These are the starting points for productivity. If you can’t master them, you won’t go far. A limitation of this approach to productivity is it focuses so much on the person and leaves out the larger environment. Unless you work as a one-man freelancer, very few people have the luxury to set their own schedules as they wish. You may have written your to-do list the night before and blocked out time to work on an important task this morning. However, if the Head of your Department drops by and assigns you a task, that task automatically jumps to the top of your priority matrix.

Boss using a
I need this today
Continue reading “Building productivity in organisations”

Treat the root cause, not the symptom

When we fall sick, we go to a hospital. Doctors ask questions to understand how we feel and based on our symptoms, they make a judgment and recommend a course of treatment. Doctors never try to treat symptoms though. Instead, they treat the root cause: the disease. If you complain of a persistent headache, the doctor doesn’t give you a painkiller and send you on your way. This is because they understand there are many things that can give you a headache. They try to find out what that thing is so they can cure you.

Tree with deep roots
The true problem might lie deeper than you’re looking
Continue reading “Treat the root cause, not the symptom”

Work-life balance vs Work-life integration

For the longest time, personal productivity experts have advocated the achievement of work-life balance as the pinnacle of productivity. They argued that work should be treated as a separate space disconnected from personal life. The productive worker, they said, was one who completed their tasks for the day before closing time, clocked out and went home to spend time with their family. Work was not to be touched at home until they returned to the office the next day. This sharp separation of work and personal life was easier to achieve before the advent of the internet when workers were generally unreachable after office hours.

Stacked stones
Are your work and life in balance?
Continue reading “Work-life balance vs Work-life integration”

Work from home: yay or nay

The Pandemic changed the way we live and work. Companies made annual plans at the end of 2019 and ended up shelving them as governments around the world instituted lockdown policies that made the usual way of working impossible. Eventually, many had to explore new ways to deliver services. Work From Home (WFH) went from being a feel-good experiment that HR occasionally tried to a crucial element of organisational survival. Some industries fared better than others. Workers also responded differently to the new way of working. Some took to the new freedom like a fish to water. Others not so well.

There are decades where nothing happens and weeks where decades happen.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Continue reading “Work from home: yay or nay”

You will have bad productivity days

Since you are reading a personal productivity blog, I can safely assume you want to be more effective at what you do. There are plenty of articles out there on how to stay at the top of your productivity game. However, not enough of them mention what to do on days nothing seems to go right.

Murphy’s Law
Continue reading “You will have bad productivity days”

Three Books you should read

This week’s post will be different from all those that came before it. For the first time, I won’t be providing any tips on personal productivity. Instead, I’d like to share three books that I have read and I recommend everyone serious about becoming more effective at what they do should also read. In no specific order, I give you:

Continue reading “Three Books you should read”

2021 End of Year Post

This has been an interesting year for this blog. I reached 5,000 all time views which means some people actually read what I write. It began with a simple idea. How do I help more people become more effective at what they do? Personal productivity has been an area of interest of mine for quite some time. In 2019, I resolved to do something with that interest. I started a blog. When I committed to a weekly schedule, I was afraid I’d run out of topics to write about within a year. It’s been three years already and that hasn’t happened. It seems each day comes with a new personal productivity challenge.

My hand about to strike a keyboard
Each post was typed one at a time
Continue reading “2021 End of Year Post”

Keep your notes handy

If someone were to tell you a small but important piece of information right now, how prepared are you to capture and store that piece of information? I ask this question because over the years, I have seen some very interesting (and some very cringeworthy) attempts to take notes. The most interesting one has to be when a friend sent me a long whatsapp message containing a list of seemingly unrelated items followed by this message: Ignore. I just need a place where I can see this. Quick hint: Don’t use chat applications as a substitute for a good note-taking app.

Notepad with pen
How prepared are you to take notes
Continue reading “Keep your notes handy”

Batch it

A screwdriver and a spanner

Nobody likes doing dishes but most people would agree that dishes are tasks that need to be done. If you don’t, you’d eventually run out of clean cutlery to use. We all have repetitive tasks that no one particularly enjoys but can acknowledge they need to get done. Tasks like these are the ones we are more likely to procrastinate on either.

Unpleasant but necessary tasks such as doing the dishes are best done by batching them. For example, if you washed all the cutlery you used for breakfast before getting out of the house, you wouldn’t have to come home to an overflowing sink. If you tried to wash each item immediately after you use it, you might get bored but if you made a commitment to wash each item after meals, you would be committing to doing the dishes only three (or 2) times a day and this seems more manageable.

An overflowing stack of cups
Related tasks this way

Continue reading “Batch it”