The world is fast becoming a more efficient place – we have AI and algorithms to thank for that. But what does it mean for ordinary people like us? For one thing, we can learn from the behavior of these new technologies and optimize ourselves to perform better at the work we do – work that our AI colleagues are still unqualified for. Discovering new ways to make our working lives more productive can improve our output’s quantity and quality and help us find a little more free time in the day.
The Productivity Zone
Throughout the working day, we go through phases of work and distraction; it could be a conversation with a colleague on the phone, a YouTube video, or friends’ updates. Digital distractions are numerous now and pose a grave threat to our productive output. The Productivity Zone is a flow-state accessed by athletes and artists that puts you into the moment and allows you to do your best work in the comfort of relaxed concentration. To access The Productivity Zone, use mindfulness techniques.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is equally as productive as accessing the Zone. It works on the assumption that 80% of your daily output is based on 20% of effort. This applies whether you are working efficiently or inefficiently, but the idea is to use the rule to perform better. Organize your daily tasks so that you can focus on the 20% of effort to get the most value from your output. This might mean prioritizing the workload or working harder at certain times if the day.
Does your career involve a vented ball valve or similar item? Whatever your career is, you will have a set of skills that you will use every day representing your special contribution to the job. As well as these primary skills, you will have a range of soft skills that have been acquired over time, intuitively. These might include typing, spreadsheets, coding, even word processing. If you spend some time each day on these supporting skills, you will improve your work efficiency and the quality of your output.
If you wanted to write a long blog post, and article, or an essay, where would you start? You might have an idea and begin typing right away, but it will take you a long time to edit it down and take out all the fluff. It might be more efficient to list out your ideas first and arrange into the best order. Then as new ideas come along, you can categorize them as appropriate. In short, planning for the long-term is more efficient and yields better results.
Time management was once the order of the day; the idea was to prioritize your day according to how many working hours are available. This is standard practice and still works for many people, but the idea has shifted towards energy management. With energy management, you consider when you have the most energy in the day for productivity, are you a morning person or a night owl? Plan your workload to reflect those times when you are most effective.