At Sheridan Convention Centre, Syerah Virani stood at the head of the room, giving a presentation to a group of almost 15 professionals on “Getting Things Done!” It was a seminar on how to get more done in less time. And the power point presentation displayed on the screen read “25 habits that will instantly increase your productivity.” It was a paradox because habits take a long time to develop, and, thus cannot result in instant increase in productivity.
In attendance was a lawyer, a journalist, a mortgage broker and his assistant, two insurance agents, a corporate developer, a recruiting agent and engineers.
Engaging and interactive as the seminar was, much of it was also on effective use of technology and making use of icons that mean nothing to most of us, and utilizing apps that our i-phones and blackberries have but don’t know how to use efficiently.
Syreah, the President of Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP), tips to “Getting Things Done” were divided into three categories: tools, behavior and attitude, and rewarding yourself.
- Write it down! – Write down what needs to be done on a piece of paper, a business card or even a napkin if you have to remind yourself of what you need to do.
- The handy-dandy notebook – Instead of writing things down on whatever, have a notebook always handy, a notebook where you can write down your thought freely.
- Drop Box – Centralize your document – Drop Box is available free of cost online if you want to try and experiment with it.
- Consolidate your contacts – Your work and personal contacts can all be at one place, resulting in better and effective communication with your family, friends, prior employers and work colleagues.
- Smarten Up your Smartphone – Use apps that your phone has effectively!
- Sync your calendars – Google gives you benefit of having one calendar rather than two or three separate calendars so you don’t miss any appointments or making conflicting meeting arrangements.
- Customize with Templates – Though contradictory, many times what you have to say to most people is the same. By changing the beginning and end, you can use the same message many times, but with a personal touch.
- RSS feeds – Online world is broad and vast. Instead of losing sight of what you need to do, get RSS feeds, so you don’t get distracted and lose time.
- Audiobooks & Podcasts – Multi-task your reading – While cooking or cleaning or driving, listen to audio books to enrich your intellectual life.
10. The 3D Concept
11. The 2-minute rule – If something takes less than 2 minutes to do, then do it yourself rather than assigning it to your assistant.
12. Delegate Authority – You can’t do everything, so assign responsibilities to your staff, or friends or family members.
13. Defer for Days – If something can wait for 6 months from now, stop researching about it now to save time for more urgent and important things.
14. Tackle the Unpleasant & the Difficult First – Instead of lingering on and on, deal with the difficult and unpleasant and be done with it!
15. Chunk it Down!
16. Automate your Back-ups – Don’t wait for your computer’s hard drive to crash to learn a lesson. Have a backup ready. Go on to sites like www.mozy.com to save your files.
17. The Power of PVR/TIVO – Record your favourite TV shows and watch them later by fast forwarding all those unwanted ads.
18. De-clutter – Declutter both your work space as well as negative emotions for a co-worker or boss
19. Economies of Scale – Cook more today when you have time and save for tomorrow
20. Car pool – Leaving aside all environmental concerns and carbon footprints, car polling leaves you free to take care of your business while other person drives.
21. Get a BHAG – BHAG (Big Hair Audacious Goal) is something you really really wanna do in the long run. Write it down and work toward achieving it one step at a time.
22. Who’s got your back – If you’re accountable to someone, your productivity increases
23. Join the 6’o clock Club – Waking up an hour earlier than you normally do leaves you to take care of a lot. By waking up early, you can ensure that you’ll work uninterrupted.
24. Be Generous – A little bit of generosity goes a long way, so be generous in helping people when you can.
25. Well done! Reward yourself often.