Productive Day Proverbs:
Little Pearls of Wisdom to Keep You
Out of Productivity Peril
Proverbs and sayings are great. They say so much in such short little bursts of wisdom. Within the definition of “proverb” it says that it’s usually “of unknown and ancient origin” and it “expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought.”
I’ve put together a short list of 6 proverbs that effectively express commonplace truths about your office and your work day productivity. There are actually 5 more proverbs to come later this year. But we’ll start with these 6. If you follow the advice in both the proverb and my connection to your productivity, then I know you can stay on top of your game, be in total control and put your work day on cruise control at peak productivity.
Let’s see if we can’t have a little fun with this…
1. Failing to plan is planning to fail
I know. This is an oldie, but goody. If you haven’t taken the time to identify your values, goals and objectives, then you aren’t able to easily identify your projects, priorities and tasks. They are connected. Take the time to write down or type up a list of what matters most to you, your goals, and the projects you’d like to achieve. If you don’t do this, then how will you be able to achieve your definition of success? It’s like going to a restaurant, sitting down, but not placing your order. The waitress won’t guess for you and she’ll end up bringing you… well, nothing.
2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
It’s worth your investment of time to organize your paper, files, e-documents, e-mail and tasks into solid systems. Even if you build these systems an ounce at a time, it will surely add up to pounds of productivity. When these systems are all running smoothly, you’ll avoid confusion, lost time and lost opportunities in the future.
3. Many hands make light work
If you have staff or a team supporting you, then you have many hands around you. Identify those things which are best taken off your plate and don’t hesitate to delegate. Then you’ll be able to build your business and your success faster as you focus on the things that are the best use of your time.
4. Too many cooks spoil the brew
Watch out for excessive use of “Reply All” on your e-mails or copying individuals who really don’t need to be involved in your e-mail string. This is something that gets continually abused and misused, causing lots of wasted time for those who have to give an e-mail their attention when they really didn’t need to get it at all. And sometimes, too many people involved in an e-mail string can just confuse the project or situation, especially if the wrong people offer their two cents inappropriately. But this works both ways. If this happens to you, consider telling certain people that you don’t need to be copied on their e-mails. Perhaps you only need a summary e-mail at the end of a project and not throughout the project, as an example.
5. Out of sight, out of mind
I love this one, of course. Simplify your surroundings. Too much stuff – papers, files, business cards, post-it notes, etc. – can build up around you and be very frustrating. These piles can prevent you from feeling like you’re getting things done and making progress and can begin to overwhelm if not addressed. Keeping your work space and systems organized will allow you to put things away. The more that’s out of your sight, the more relaxed you’ll be. Fewer distractions will allow room for priorities and creative thinking.
6. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Many of us know from experience that when we don’t get enough exercise, sleep, breaks, time off, etc… we can start to break down, which is much worse than becoming just “dull.” When all of these are not in play, then we’re not playing enough, and we can become rather grumpy. Don’t let that happen to you. Please be sure to take breaks, exercise your brain by alternating your types of thinking all day long, and schedule time to think quietly or plan. Then add a balanced diet, water, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.