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Productivity Questions for a Successful Year

A new year can be a professionally rewarding time if you consider a few powerful, productivity questions. Most of us are good at making to-do lists, but we're not so good at adjusting things when overwhelmed by other tasks.

These productivity questions require you to reflect on how you spend time and what else you would get done if you had more productive time at work. Any change in time management will be a change in philosophy rather than an "instant coffee" type solution.

Consider these steps as you look to improve your productivity in 2017:

What are the 5 things that are your top priorities at work? Identify the tasks that are most important to your job and your business.

You may be tempted to say that everything is important. Resist that urge. Your time should not be an "all you can eat buffet" of tasks. Some of you may have to look at your job descriptions to remember these duties, especially if you've been overwhelmed with changing priorities or emergencies that require diverted attention.

Your top five tasks should be the things you spend most of your time performing and should make up 80% of your day.

Think about those times when you ended the day and felt no progress had been made toward your big picture goals. Try to identify what kept you from focusing on your top five tasks and if there's a way to minimize its impact.

Sometimes this process can be as simple as closing your door, turning off your phone's ringer, or not responding immediately to low priority email.

Often, you're doing something innocent like turning a quick cup of coffee into a long discussion with colleagues about the past weekend's sports. While I'm not saying that you should avoid talking to coworkers, you should monitor how much time it consumes.

By knowing where you lost time, you can start to control these distractions and take the mystery out of your day.

Even the most effective people can find themselves doing tasks that contribute little to their productivity. Often, these are things you used to do or know how to do best. Despite your knowledge and skill, you need to let someone else do them, especially if they are not or no longer in your job description and not something for which you are being compensated. You should provide support and guidance to whoever picks up these tasks with the expectation that you're going to stop doing them.

You should also consider whether you choose to do these old assignments because they provide you an excuse for not focusing on your new and potentially challenging duties. It can be a common stall tactic that lets you procrastinate what is uncomfortable. While trying new things can be scary, it's more frightening to realize that you're delaying the work for which you will be ultimately judged.

Delegation can also give another employee a chance to develop new skills, which in turn, increases their value to the organization.

It is possible to make the new year a more successful one with these productivity questions. The key is committing to evaluating where you are, why you're there, and how you can become more strategic with your time.

Ken OkelAbout the Author: Ken Okel speaks to smart leaders and associations who want to unleash employee production, performance, and profitability. He introduces them to principles learned from his careers in TV News, Disaster Relief, and running a Professional Ballet Company.

He is the author of the book, Stuck on Yellow: Stop Stalling, Get Serious, and Unleash Your Productivity and the host of the 2 Minute Takeaway Podcast.

See and hear Ken in action at: www.KenOkel.com.

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, February 2017