Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. What’s your career-limiting habit?
Nearly every manager has at least one career-limiting habit, writes Joseph Grenny in this piece for the Harvard Business Review. He cites a study of 1,000 managers that found that 97% have at least one habit that keeps us from greater success – and that few of us make much progress in overcoming it. Three of the most common? Unreliability (not keeping commitments), procrastination, and selfishness (often stemming from not paying attention to the goals and opinions of others). Grenny’s piece suggests some causes and cures for all of them and is an interesting read – and might spark you to think about your own potentially limiting habits.
2. Is your routine getting in your way?
Conventional wisdom on productivity often suggests building and sticking to a routine – you’ll check email from 9-10 every morning, block off two hours in the afternoon for writing, and so forth. But sticking with the predictable might actually be holding you back, argues Kat Boogaard in this Daily Muse piece. Signs that it might be time to shake things up include being more concerned with your routine than with results (for instance, resisting a coworker’s project suggestions simply because they’re different than anything you’ve done before), getting thrown for a loop whenever anything unexpected happens because your routine is too rigid to comfortably absorb the unanticipated, getting grumpy when things change, and finding it hard to generate fresh ideas.
3. How to stay productive after 3 p.m.
If you regularly feel sluggish and unproductive in the afternoon, you’ll want to read Nathan Ellering’s article in Fast Company about to how to fight back against afternoon slumps. For example, he notes that studies have found you’re more creative when you’re tired, and suggests slotting in creative problem-solving for the afternoon. He also suggests hosting check-ins and other meetings at 3 p.m. “Your team members may also experience afternoon slumps where they're actively looking for distractions themselves, making it a perfect time for collaboration and creative problem-solving,” he notes. “In fact, try to book a conference room at an inconvenient distance from where your team sits; even the break of walking to the meeting may recharge some of your creativity.” Still not convinced? Then maybe just use the time to deal with email since “you aren't the only one looking for distractions in the afternoon and evening, which makes this one of the best times to get your emails read, according to one study tracking email open-rates, which found them spiking toward the end of the workday.”