Productivity Hacks For Today’s Modern Manager

No matter what anyone says about work life balance, todays modern employee is expected to do more and…. faster.

Last week I was having a conversation with a HR manager and the subject of productivity came up. The individual in question was working across three different geographical sites, had 4 projects on the go and was part of a European company working party; in addition to the day job.

That takes work and the skills of a real productivity ninja!

Productivity and multitasking?

Is a route to productivity multi-tasking? No.

The truth is multitasking doesn’t work. A recent article on gave 12 proven reasons to stop multitasking now.

All well and good, though exactly how do you become more productive in your role so that key outcomes are achieved, in a timely manner, whilst at the same time keeping your sanity.

Well there are numerous tested strategies I want to share in today’s article.

1.Have a thought through documented plan

I know this sounds blindingly obvious and yet many people plan back to front.

What do I mean by this? Productivity is about getting the right things ‘done’, not hundreds of tasks on a to do list powered through, even though that might make us feel quite smug.

True productivity requires making time for reflection and review to prioritise what is truly important. Much better to have several key priorities highlighted to achieve that week that is your focus, in other words the ‘must’ do tasks, rather than a string of activities that in truth are not business critical.

One HR manager I know has a weekly meeting with himself where he reviews the week based on his plan from Monday morning. Did he achieve his top 3 priorities? What does he need to do differently? What is now going to be the next priority.

If you aren’t a student of the 80/20 rule it would be a good time to start. Pareto’s principle states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our activities. It plays out in many areas of both our business and personal lives too. For example, we wear 20% of what is in our wardrobe. 20% of our sales people produce most our results.

What might be your 20% of activities that will produce ‘more’ results?

2.Batch and batch and time

Every role has at least some repetitive tasks; don’t they? Those tasks that once you are in the zone you can achieve more of, and at speed.

Time plays an important role here too. It’s a fact that as human beings we can only concentrate for so long and then our productivity will wax and wane.

One technique I personally use is the Pomodoro technique. This involves working in 25 minute blocks then taking a short break to recharge. It might be worth checking this out and giving it a try.

Any reptititive task can be batched and this strategy alone will make you so much more productive.


3.The Banjo method

This is a blast from the past and yet is working for me as well today as when I first came across it. It stands for, Bang Off A Nasty Job First. I know! Old school time management.

One thing that often adds to our tendency to not being as productive as we want, is a touch of procrastination. Especially around our least favourite tasks.

What I still find fascinating is that if I tackle the task I ‘don’t want to do first’ it always gives me an energy boost and creates momentum for the rest of the day.

  1. Look after yourself

Eat well, exercise, drink water and get an early night. Nothing new here I know, and yet even the best of us can forget the effect that poor diet and lack of fresh air can have on us.

You only need to look online at the habits of successful business owners and virtually everyone talks about the power of fresh air and exercise.

Recently Sir Richard Branson revealed that as he is getting older he has built even more time into his day for exercise so that he can…… achieve more from each day.

  1. Projects versus tasks

When it comes to being more productive what can often throw a spanner in the works is our perception of a project versus a task.  Many a to-do list can get thrown out when a project is added rather than a task.

A project might be developing a recruitment campaign for the launch of a new department. Logically there would be many moving parts involved in delivering this project. The moving parts are therefore tasks, that once completed then build to deliver the project.

One involved task for HR managers is recruitment. If you would like help with your next recruiting task, from an experienced search team then please get in touch here.

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