There’s a difference between being busy and being productive at work.
You might be wondering why your boss hired a Manager instead of promoting you from Coordinator. Or you might be wondering why the Director isn’t buying into your “I’ve been here 3 years so I’ve earned a raise” rationale.
After all, you have seniority, you’re juggling major projects and campaigns, you frequently clock in early and always stay late in order to get the job done.
But there’s a difference between being busy and being productive at work.
Are you getting in early to get started on that huge pile of admin work on your desk, only to spend the pre 9:00am time busy catching up with a co-worker about the latest episode of Bachelor?
Do you stay late in order to catch up on all your red flag emails only to spend that extra time busy on Facebook?
Do you book team meetings in order to figure out how many other meetings you’ll need to schedule for the campaign launch?
When you consider how time consuming all these tasks are, no wonder you feel super busy and swamped?
But are you really getting anything done? Are you really being productive at work?
If you are in that spot (and who isn’t?) where you’re really trying to showcase your talents and prove what you can do in order to move up in your career, consider these tips on how to be more productive at work.
Create and Document Systems
According to an article in Life Hacker, “The goal of any productivity method is to teach you manage yourself efficiently. This is equal parts self-discipline, organization and resource management.”
A system at it’s most basic is a process or routine for the way we do things. Systems are meant to streamline the way you addresses specific problems or issues that you have to deal with regularly at work.
You can set up systems for how you deal with invoicing, filing and scheduling. You can even create a system for how you and your team label product inventory or organize images on the hard drive at work.
Implementing systems improves productivity, saves time and can allow you to proactively address issues or related challenges that may arise.
Making it Work: In a Word doc, create a step-by-step tutorial, almost like an instruction manual, for how to address the task at hand. Add links to appropriate files and screen grabs to further illustrate each step and make it easier for your other team members to understand, remember and follow.
Once completed and you feel like your tutorial is dummy proof, share it with your team and then save it on department’s hard drive, clearly labelled and ensure that your team knows where’s it’s located so that they can reference it regularly until that system becomes second nature.
Once created, a system should not require intensive thought and effort. It’s purpose is to have everyone on the same page and moving at the same speed, thus increasing greater productivity.
Manage a Weekly Status Report
In many organizations, bosses and other higher-ups often need a weekly status update from their direct reports.
It doesn’t matter what kind of creative field you work in or whether you freelance or have a boss in the office next to you, maintaining a weekly status report is key to successful project management and improving productivity at work.
A status report acts a checklist for everything going on within the scope of each project, campaign or assignment.
A weekly status report can be used in your weekly one-on-one updates with your Director or Manager and it can be used in team meetings or other meetings as starting point for discussions.
Without a running status update task list, I really would be a hot mess with my work.