Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
People often fail to meet the goals they set for themselves because they take on too many. Often those goals are things they feel they should do, but which they’re not actually particularly motivated by. If you want to succeed at meeting your goals, writes Elizabeth Grace Saunders in the Harvard Business Review, you should choose just one or two key areas that align with what really matters to you – things that will feel like a “must” rather than a “should.” She suggests asking yourself three questions: If I could accomplish just one major professional development goal in 2017, what would it be? When I think about working on this goal, do I get excited about the process as well as the outcome? Is my motivation to pursue this goal intrinsic, something coming from within because it is personally interesting and important, or is it extrinsic, something that I feel would please other people?
Once you’ve settled on goals that matter to you, make sure that the way you spend your time is aligned with your priorities, by blocking out significant chunks of time on your calendar and even putting up out-of-office messages or otherwise letting colleagues know you’re unavailable during those times so that you’re really able to focus. (And she has additional good advice in the article about how to get that to stick.)
When software company Atlassian was studying its lowest performing employees, it noticed that the majority of them were formerly high performers whose results started to suffer only after they moved to struggling teams. That discovery led them to develop a data-based, formalized method of assessing and improving team health. At the center of their method, which they’ve now open-sourced, is the idea that healthy teams share eight key traits. Read about them here, along with Atlassian’s recommendations for how to set up your own team health check-ups.
In a lengthy but fascinating piece in the Guardian, Oliver Burkeman takes on the time management industrial complex, noting that “the allure of the doctrine of time management is that, one day, everything might finally be under control,” and yet for many people, the better they get at managing their time, the less of it they feel they have and the more their anxieties about productivity are exacerbated. Burkeman – who observes that email in particular has come to function as “kind of infinite to-do list, to which anyone on the planet could add anything at will” – touches on everything from the late nineteen-century efficiency efforts of Bethlehem Steel to the current-day doubts of the inventor of Inbox Zero, and will make you question how you think about the way you manage your time.
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