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Leader Productivity: Monitoring Work Flow

High productivity requires attention, organization, memory, and work flow processes.

If you don’t have a systematic way of monitoring how much and how well your work flows through the day and week, you create a situation that leaves you particularly vulnerable to distractions and poor time management. Not enough gets done.

What to do? Monitor your work flow and pinpoint the conditions that influence your productivity. When you are mindful of your flow of mental energy and problem-solving capacity throughout the day you can more easily determine actions to take.

Factors That Influence Your Productivity

Some of the factors that influence your productivity are your feelings when you are trying to work, as well as your personal work habits.

For example, some leaders work when they feel fatigued, stressed or ill. Under such conditions they lack the energy and focus to get a job done with speed and accuracy.  Others constantly rush and need to slow down. Still others slip into hyper-focus mode, getting too detailed and bogged down. Poor productivity and dissatisfaction is the result.

Other factors that influence your productivity are the conditions within the work setting.

For example, constant interruptions clutter, and noise can have a negative impact upon productivity.

Checklists for Getting Productivity Under Control

It is useful to rate your work and monitor your feelings and work setting conditions throughout the day. You can use a checklist to monitor times during which you are engaged in your “most important” activities. Monitor your workflow and look for patterns.

To begin you can:

  • Post a checklist within your work area.
  • Use a timer to check your feeling, work setting conditions, and work every 20 minutes.
  • Ask, “How do I rate my work in terms of productivity, rate of completion, quality, etc.”
  • Ask, “What feelings tend to boost my motivation, energy and productivity?’
  • Ask, “What work setting conditions are most conducive to productivity?”
  • Identify ways to enhance your productivity.

Rate your work using a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest. Add other items and/or write a few notes about each item.

___ Productivity

___ Rate of progress

___ Quality

___ Accuracy

___ Completeness

Rate the conditions within your work setting using a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best for your productivity. Add other items and/or write a few notes about each item.

___ Quiet (few noises and sounds that interrupt your concentration)

___ People leaving you alone

___ Non distracting visual surrounding (not by a door with people going by)

Rate your feelings while you are working (or attempting to work/focus). Add other items and/or write a few notes about each item.

___ Energy

___ Motivation

___ Well nourished

___ Time enough to think and focus

___ Positive frame of mind (Few of worries and intrusive thoughts)

Putting it All Together

Do you see some patterns? Are you attempting to work when the setting is noisy and interruptions are constant? Are you attempting to concentrate when you are hungry, hassled, or demoralized?

To enhance productivity, list the conditions and feelings that influence the quality and quantity of your accomplishments.  As you become more aware of the influences upon your productivity, you can modulate them to realize new levels of productivity. Reflect on what is holding you back and adjust.

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