Attention management is the only way to reach productivity.
I found managing focus and attention extremely difficult if all your information is spread among different sources and tools. Also, simultaneously leading conversations with clients, managing content and business strategy, and running workshops and programs can easily reduce overall productivity.
So I leveraged my Agile and agility knowledge to keep my productivity constant.
The things that I found helpful which might serve you as well are:
1. Acknowledging simplicity
The Agile principle I value most is: “Simplicity-the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- is essential.”
Simplicity is not about working less.
It is not about caring less.
Neither it tends to be superficial.
It is about creating clarity and focus by shedding the useless burden accompanying all our actions.
Thus, creating a space for genuine communication, actual outcomes, learning, and new opportunities.
So I started looking for simplicity in everything I do.
2. Waste elimination
I created a list of things that do not add value to my work or distract me during working hours.
Those things include:
- the multiple notifications through different channels,
- multitasking which actually means a lack of clear goals and focus,
- not planned and not important things that seem easy, so you want to do them first,
- a lot of hassle while you wait for information or an answer; I noticed that you can not focus on anything else during that time. You just wait,
- a lot of movement and commute that is unnecessary,
- spending too much time convincing myself to keep the focus on the goal,
- keeping the information in many sources, thus finding myself doing the same things over and over due to the inability to find the needed resources,
- using too many tools to track issues, projects, clients, daily tasks, etc.
- trying to do estimations and manage time and ending up constantly changing those numbers,
- doing things at the very last moment, thus increasing anxiety and decreasing the quality of work…
3. System thinking
I started creating systems and unified sources for everything I do:
- I structured all client data so I could access the information quickly the next time I have a similar case.
- I dropped all other management tools to keep focus and simplicity. I collected everything in one place: my choice is Google Drive, Calendar, Tasks, and Keep.
- I keep all materials for my workshops and facilitation exercises in Mural so I can easily reuse them anytime I need them.
- I plan my whole content strategy based on consistent and repeatable steps to know which topic I should talk about next, what structures I can use for it, how I can easily publish it, and how to track it.
- I am adding all the work and life events to my calendar to avoid wasting time remembering things, whether a client call or a visit to the dentist.
- My first choice is remote work, as this saves me tons of time to do much more. Sometimes remote meetings are more focused and productive than offline ones. When onsite, we tend to switch the topic often, have side discussions before or after, and float around. Then you realize your whole day is gone. Also, that way I eliminate the waste of my commute.
- I choose platforms for my learning programs where everything is included, so I do not have to run the whole process manually.
- I add automation to everything possible. I don’t have time to do manual operations work or need people to do that. I just need an automated process to track my tasks, find leads, send notifications, add posts or articles, enroll people in my programs, schedule calls with clients, etc.
- I dedicate specific days for specific clients instead of having different events with different clients on the same day.
- I focus on one goal at a time. I break those into small actions, then add those in Google calendar and tasks. Thus, I know my daily activities well across all areas, so I no longer need to convince myself to refocus on my goals. I just do whatever is aligned with my goal, written and planned. If changes happen, they are added to the same process.
- I ditched estimations for myself, working more with precise requirements and timelines.
- I use the “BUSY” status a lot now to book a time in my calendar for focused work time, whether it is for generating ideas or creating new content…
- I differentiate decisions from actions, and ideas from real needs. I keep those separate and add to my calendar only the things that need to be done. For the rest, I use Google Keep with strict dates and tags.
- I do a personal retrospective every day. Research had shown that when people spent just 15 minutes per day reflecting on what they learned that day, they began to perform 23% better after just 10 days. So I use it.
- I stopped working on weekends, spending more time with family and friends. And I never skip Friday night. ;-) We need a recharge.
Attention is the primary goal to increase productivity. Time is the tool to reach it.
Our failure to achieve the things most important to us is not due to lack of time but lack of intentional control over our attention.
What you pay attention to determines where your energy goes and what results you get.
Hope you found this helpful. :)
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 other ways I can help you:
1. Follow me on Linkedin to get daily tips on #agile, #team coaching, #scrum master growth, #agile leadership, #agilecoaching #culture
2. Work with me 1:1 to grow in your Agile leader role or help your team and company grow.