When you start working, you’ll want to be as productive as possible. You’ll get more work done without spending more time at your desk, feel better about your work and soon impress your boss. All of us work differently and have different strengths. There is a lot of advice available on how to make the most of your time and be as productive as possible. Whether you’re working at scrapyards across Cape Town or an office in Johannesburg, productivity tips are essential to get you through the working week. Here are some methods which have proven to be effective: Ivy Lee A much-respected business and productivity consultant, Ivy Lee was contracted by successful businessman Charles Schwab to improve team efficiency. No money changed hands at their initial meeting but it was agreed Lee would be compensated if Schwab was pleased with the results. Lee had a meeting with each executive of Schwab’s Bethlehem Steel Corporation and asked them to spend time at the end of each day making a list of their six most important tasks for the next day. They were asked to list their tasks in order of importance and then complete those tasks, in that order, the next day. The executives were instructed to complete one task before moving onto the next. If a task wasn’t completed that day, that would move to the beginning of the next day’s list. This process might seem simple but was extremely successful for Schwab’s executives. He was pleased, Schwab gave Lee a cheque for $25,000 – worth about $400,000 today. This method is effective for a number of reasons. Importantly, it forces you to make decisions about what’s most important, takes away the trouble of deciding where to start and requires you to focus on a single task. Seven Daily Habits Stephen R Covey’s bestseller Seven daily habits for highly effective people, written in 1989, gives advice on how business people can be more effective in achieving goals. One of the books’ more important tips is to plan before taking action by prioritising tasks according to their importance and urgency. He urges workers to spend time at the beginning of each week listing the tasks they’d like to achieve and categorise them according to their importance and urgency. It’s important that you you can spend the majority of your time on important and urgent tasks. You’ve put in place the processes and plans which mean unimportant and non-urgent tasks don’t come up often. This allows you the time to focus on tasks which are important and will lead to positive results for you and your employer. The take-away of both these methods? Start each day and week with your most important tasks. It’s the only productivity and time management hack you’ll ever need. Image: Pexels