My New Year Resolutions!

When we think of productivity, we most often think about improving productivity by enhancing our own organisation, prioritisation and efficiency skills. However, as I have come to realise over the years, the single most important factor influencing our productivity is something that is completely out of our control - the people around us!

Think about it! Let’s say you have blocked a time on your calendar to go through some creative thinking exercise on how to further enhance the value of your offerings, but you are frequently disturbed by unnecessary CCs, unproductive meetings, last-minute approvals, firefighting calls etc. In such an environment, it becomes almost impossible to focus and you are left just reacting to events of the day.

As such, here are my 5 New Year Resolutions:

  1. I will not CC without reason : Each CC takes on average ~3 minutes to read, and even if someone gets 20 unnecessary emails/day, that’s about 60 minutes or 12.5% of your time wasted ( pro tip: try using official chat groups like Slack or Google Spaces for certain topics rather than starting a new email chain wherever possible)
  2. I will not respond unneccasrily: Each response like “OK”, “Yes”, “Thank you”, “Got it” further eats away another ~30 minutes from your productive hours
  3. I will not schedule meetings: if an issue can be solved over a quick email or company chat, I will not schedule unnecessary meetings and even if I do, I will only invite members that are most essential and circulate the agenda in advance
  4. I will not make someone wait: One of the most unproductive activities is to make someone wait well beyond the agreed meeting time (pro tip: before inviting someone for an in-person meeting, specially an externate stakeholder like a vendor, consultant or interviewee, ask yourself if the issue can be discussed over a phone call, email or VC)
  5. I will ask for help: If I am assigned a task and the deadline is fast approaching, I will not wait until the last-minute to inform the assignor that I couldnt’ complete the task as I hit a wall; rather I will ask for help sooner than later and if possible negotiate a new deadline ( pro tip: I always find it useful to submit a first draft at the ~70% deadline mark to receive feedback and then fine-tune the deliverable in the remaining ~30% time interval)

It’s my firm belief that the right tool in achieving our productivity and growth goals is to approach the issue as a collective rather than as individuals. This will not only catapult you to new heights, but also help our teams, organisations, society and country as a whole to prosper and achieve the ambitious targets that most of us have set for ourselves in 2024 and beyond!

Wishing you a healthy, successful and productive New Year!