Maximize your productivity


“TIME is of the essence” an English proverb which is very true. We have 24 hours in a day, so utilizing it to the maximum is of utmost importance. Be it at work or at home making the most of your time is critical in today’s fast moving world. What alternatives do we have ? There are two ways we can use to increase our productivity – either by putting in longer hours at work or by working smarter. I do not know about your thoughts, but I definitely prefer the latter.

Increasing our productivity at work isn’t rocket science, but it does require that we are more purposeful and planned about how we intend to manage our time. In doing so some of the key factors which may account for your greater success and increased productivity are :


Each and every hour of the day is valuable, and in order to be successful you need to manage your time and those of others properly. One very important principle which you may apply here to increase your productivity is the 80/20 rule or Pareto principle.

The 80/20 Rule means that in any situation, be it in your personal life or at work, 20 percent of the inputs or activities you are involved in are responsible for 80 percent of the outcomes or results. Based on that, you can clearly assess requirements  – focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you. This rule applies to both your home life as well as working life.

For your personal activities you will find that one of the most effective tools you can use is a “To Do” list. If you sit down and write one up you will observe that just a few of the items are tied to important issues. Those items are the 20% and if you review the other 80% you will realize that you can remove a large number of them or delegate them to some other member of the household leaving yourself with more time to focus on the few more important items which would produce the most significant results. It will also help you to prioritize and focus on key activities.

On the other hand at work, Managers know that 20 percent of the work consumes 80 percent of the time and resources. At the time of goal setting for the year, you will observe that a few goals seem to be consuming most of your time and efforts. But on closer examination you will also observe that if you focus on these few goals or activities that are most critical to your development or success you will be completing around 80% of your goals.  This is similar to the task list as not all personal activities and goals are created equal.


By placing a value on your time you will realize and start to realize its relative importance and significance. The role of a manager, should appreciate the significance of placing a value on their own time, that of their colleagues, reportees and other employees.

Placing a higher worth on their own time and realizing that their staff’s time is more valuable than that of an assistant or intern can help to manage valuable resources more effectively. Imparting this message down the line ensures that everyone understands and values the dynamics and plans accordingly. It helps them to decide whether a task is worth doing themselves, is better off left to an intern or can be done away with altogether. Thus by having a clear picture of the relative importance of jobs, it makes it easier to assign and complete them in the most productive and effective manner possible.


When one talks of meetings what comes to mind is a big waste of time. However we continue to plan them, attend them and as you might expect, complain about them. Research shows that on the average an office worker spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. So before planning your next meeting, ask yourself.  Is it really necessary? Who needs to attend? Can the matter be resolved person to person, or via email or telephone call? If out of station employees are required would a Web-based meeting be more productive.

If on the other hand you absolutely must have a meeting, you could try out this option – there is evidence that standing meetings attended by only those who are really required, are definitely more efficient. As these can result in increased group interaction, arousal and improved group performance and participation.

REMEMBER – An hour-long meeting, attended by 20 managers where in reality only 10 people are really required translates to more than a full work day’s worth of wasted time and resources.


With the latest social networking softwares available these days and Increased mobility and interaction tools all help to break down the barriers to productivity. Mobile devices with Whatsapp and other softwares enable quick and round the clock access to communication and teamwork tools, as well as work-related documents and sharing of other information. However keep a balance for work and home life to remain in perspective. It is very important, to prevent the overly thinning of the line between personal and professional lives. Work-life balance should be respected.

Further those employees of the baby boomers age or closely thereafter or whom we may call the workplace veterans, the value of time wasted at work is very much at heart. However for many young professionals, it might not be the case, as the value of an hour wasted doesn’t always ring true. These young millenials and centennials are very much into the social media and constantly in touch within their groups. They need to understand the value of time. If we all treated our hours and minutes  more in terms of rupees and our cost to the organization we might spend some less  time updating ourselves on the latest status on Facebook, Twitter etc. and more time and effort focused on our business objectives and on moving our organizations forward.

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
― Charles Darwin


1 thought on “Maximize your productivity

  1. Great article! I think the frivolity we call meeting should be cut out all together. It should be reserved for the top tier to inform their employees their vision for next year or their ideas. It certainly should not be a check-in opportunity. Also, for outside Pakistan Skype is a great tool for having meetings with people around the world.


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