In today’s manufacturing environment, most employees and especially managers are expected to do more with less and faster; not always easy when we have distractions at every corner imaginable.
Just last week I was talking to a prospective candidate for a new manufacturing vacancy we had, and the subject of productivity came up. She told me that she was regularly working on four to five projects at once while managing another half a dozen team members; not an uncommon story. Having spoken to many successful candidates in my time here are the key productivity ideas they all seem to agree on.
1. Have Goals and Know What Is Expected of You
As a manufacturing professional, you will know what your role/job description entails and therefore what deliverables you are responsible for and by when. Old fashioned maybe, and this is the logical place to start. I appreciate that sometimes we are all asked to do more than we originally anticipated yet you must keep the main goal the main goal when it comes to it.
2. Have a plan
Planning fuels the wheels of industry. Apparently, Sir Richard Branson has a planning meeting every morning and to this day still, carries around his ‘to-do’ list.
Better to at least start the week with a plan that you can focus on rather than bouncing from one thing to the next. One project manager I know has a Friday end of the week meeting with himself. He reviews what he has achieved, what he has learnt and what are the big things he needs to achieve the next week. This gives him structure and a real focus on what needs to happen next. It is also a great way to end the week knowing that at least he has a plan.
3. Fill Your Diary
Though some people may not agree with this one, it works. If you know that certain tasks need to be completed put it in the diary. As an owner of a busy company myself here at Sigma Recruitment I put my tasks in a diary. That way I am focused on what needs to happen and when. Before I jump into bed at night, a quick look at my diary for the next day helps me as my mind starts working on it while I sleep. Since I started doing this a few years ago, I have been surprised how it has helped my focus and productivity.
4. Email management
A few years ago, there was a trend that suggested only looking at your emails once a day. Great idea though not particularly practical. First, you need to get them organised. Forget what anyone says, folders work no matter what email service you are using. You may or may not have the luxury of having some admin support that can do this for you. If you do, great. If not bite the bullet and just do it. You will be surprised how fast you can get things organised. There is a great book called; how to be a productivity ninja that has great tips on how to do this.
5. Energy and Exercise
If you have a busy role (and who doesn’t?), you need to be mentally and physically fit enough to get it all done. Going back to Sir Richard who is now in his late sixties. He exercises every day. If you read his website, he mentions that he used to swim around Necker Island until recently.
He now has his own special hydro swim pool that he jumps in every day. Now we might not have that luxury, however, we are blessed to live in Wales, and we have some of the best countryside you could imagine; I know I am biased.
Even if it’s an early morning walk or rugby training at night, all of this will both exercise the body whilst giving our mind a much need break.
Don’t underestimate the power of giving your body what it needs. Firstly decent food at regular intervals and plenty of water. Your body responds to fresh air and exercise. Take regular breaks look after yourself, and you will be surprised at the impact it will have.