In a recent OpenSesame webinar, Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of FutureThink, focuses on the power of simplification to improve productivity and happiness during our time at work and in our personal lives. Our daily schedules are packed with monotonous tasks, many of which can appear unnecessary. In the webinar, Lisa shares the impact this has on overall productivity in the workplace. She explains that when someone is consumed by a complex schedule, it hinders their ability to accomplish meaningful work.
Here are 10 ways to do less and accomplish more:
1. Identify Areas to Simplify
To begin the simplification process, list 20 of your typical tasks at work. After creating this list, circle which tasks stand out as most valuable. This allows you to identify desired tasks and eliminate those that can be delegated or deprioritized.
2. Inbox Zero: File It, Answer It, Delete It
Email inboxes can become overwhelming if they are not properly managed. Start the “file it, answer it, delete it” mantra. After you have responded or read an email, immediately delete it or file it away and avoid the pitfall of leaving it in your inbox for later.
Work emails are often lengthy and include additional information that may not be important to some. This is why living by the BLUF acronym (Bottom Line Up Front) is beneficial. Place the most important point at the beginning of your email so the receiver can quickly glance at it to gain any critical information.
4. Do a Meeting Audit
Ask groups to get together and make a list of all the meetings they hold within their team. Have them cut the number of meetings down by 50 percent, eliminating “zombie-meetings” or meetings that appear to be of no use.
5. Who’s the Decision Maker?
Often meetings are collaborative and lack a decision maker. Establishing a decision maker prior to the meeting increases the overall efficiency. Lisa even suggested that if no decision maker is designated, teams should not be required to attend the meeting.
6. Drop-Off Meetings
Start meetings by discussing the more general points that apply to the entire team. As the meeting continues, slowly narrow the focus, allowing team members to drop off and get back to what they need to accomplish.
7. Processes: Who Will Miss It?
It can be beneficial to analyze different processes within your organization and ask the question, “If we remove this, will anyone miss it?” If the answer is yes, some processes can be easily simplified.
8. Identify Redundant Work
With constant tasks being performed on a day-to-day basis, the possibility that some tasks are redundant is likely. Make sure that all roles are clearly defined to ensure that everything is being covered without unnecessary overlap.
9. Run a Work Hackathon
Computer programmers and others involved in software development perform hackathons, during which the goal is to create functioning software by the end of the event. Lisa suggested that others aside from software developers can bring this to their organization to encourage productivity, simplicity, and innovation.
10. Lastly, Delete Work: What 25 Percent of Your Work Would You Eliminate Every Day?
Ask yourself what can be eliminated in my daily tasks that will allow for a more simplified and less complex schedule? There are sure to be a few tasks that would appear to have no impact once they are removed.
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