Please, not another ‘How to be more productive each day’ articles?’


No – this is how to get to be able to be more productive.  I’ve found after reading those that they are great, but I’m never in a stage where I can actually do them because I haven’t done the pre-work. 

To be that “more productive each day” person, I have to have sources to follow, be up to date on some technologies or trends that aren’t directly related to what I need to get done today, and – here’s the big one – networking with people!  Yikes!

Usually being more productive requires you…

…read something relevant to my industry, my professional development, my organization

…identify a network and keeping one ‘active’

…clean out or responding to messages

…manage my people or being managed by someone

…somehow doing a to-do list and checking things off

As we’re trying to help be more productive, I’ll assign a number of “pre-work” things you need to do to be that more ‘productive’ person.  I’ll assign the number 5.  

1)  Understand “enough”…to be technically competent.  Unless that’s your field, you don’t have to be the most knowledgeable, but you have to know how to use technology. Or at least know what it’s called.  I don’t use Snapchat but I know what it is. Some basic things to understand enough about:

  • PowerPoint — to update slides quickly
  • Word Document — to be able to write a two page document and edit it
  • Excel – to put basic budgets together
  • Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn – to find them, look at them, to add, to follow, to delete (that’s a big one sometimes)
  • Your Own Computer – to turn it on, to view documents correctly, to open more than one browser, to open several tabs on the same browser, to bookmark things, to play videos, to install or know which security application you have, to know what kind of computer you have period!
  • Google and all the opportunities with Google and promise yourself you’ll learn them

Believe me when I say that I have helped senior people in organizations edit a word document, “enlarge” a “minimized” screen, push the ‘on’ button for the computer, turned a document the correct way to scan, and others.  I’m not against helping, but it’s frustrating and time-consuming for the person who doesn’t know enough to get past the relatively simple things.

2)  Read, scan, subscribe… or even scan the newsletters you receive from different organizations.  Once in a while you get one that offers value – subscribe to those that are relevant to your business.  Note that reading one may lead to another valuable one and then you can eliminate the ones that either are repetitive or don’t offer much of interest to you.  I often start with government sites and subscribe to their emails.  Those emails give you choices so don’t overwhelm yourself and try to limit them to once a day/once a week.  Whatever makes sense. On LinkedIn, read the stories and you’ll see that sometimes they offer source information that’s extremely valuable to you. Then subscribe.

Just scan them in the beginning at least.  You’ll see what they cover.  After a while, a lot cover the same topics — the value is often they provide a different perspective.  But it may take a few months before you really see the ones of value.

3)  Catch up with someone you used to work with and see how they’re doing, what they’re up to.  They could be in an interesting business but it’s always good to keep in touch. Even if it’s just to say hello.

Even if it’s just a LinkedIn hello and what are you up to now, what are you working on.  Sometimes you can grab a cup of coffee with them.  People shift positions, jobs, areas more than you realize and often they can shed light on industry as a result of that job shifting.

4)  Catch up with someone you do work with.  And talk about other than the key project you’re working on now.  

Needless to say you understand more about the goals and activities of the company.  Plus, if the person leaves, you now have a new contact at a company that can again, offer insight into industry.

5) Then prepare that to-do list of how to be more productive. Include all those professional and business sites you’ve found relevant to business, make sure you then post/tweet that information out as you can either offer insight or be part of a discussion, leverage your updates/discussions with former and current colleagues to become more business social to help build and maintain a network

It’s not a perfect pre-work list but it will help and get you the relevant information you need to be that more productive person.