Productivity is a key element of success for any organization. The productivity plan refers to a specific plan for improving productivity. An effective productivity plan considers all potential factors that can affect the overall productivity of an organization or individual. A productivity plan typically consists of three main elements, including operational, tactical, and strategic planning. Managers and supervisors can also create productivity plans for individual departments or employees.
- Operational Planning
- Tactical Planning
- Strategic Planning
1. Operational Planning
According to the Productivity Plan, operational planning determines “who, what, and when things are to be done.” The process could be as simple as outlining who does what and when, and evaluating how each role interacts. As part of a productivity plan, operational planning should include coordination of suppliers, vendors, materials, and day-to-day work activities so that workers can effectively perform their duties. Identifying how each of these elements affects productivity is essential to boost productivity by improving efficiency.
2. Tactical Planning
A tactical plan involves organizing and planning short-term business activities that are consistent with overall strategic objectives. This element of the productivity plan should outline who is responsible for achieving each of the three areas of productivity planning. The tactical plan outlines how these leaders will carry out the plan.
3. Strategic Planning
A productivity plan must also include a strategic planning process. The process consists of developing and implementing policies and procedures that align with day-to-day work activities with the organization’s mission. Leaders of organizations set objectives, such as improving productivity, which will aid the business in carrying out its mission. Afterward, the manager executes a SWOT analysis to identify the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The leaders then develop and implement strategies to capitalize on the strengths and opportunities of the company while addressing its weaknesses and threats.
Productivity plans are typically used for organizational planning, but they can also be used to increase individual productivity. Managers and supervisors may set productivity goals for individual workers and provide training to improve communication, eliminate time wasters, and help them manage their time effectively. Alternatively, workers may choose to develop their own productivity plans to proactively improve their personal productivity levels to better support the mission of the organization.
How to develop a productive mindset
The first step is to realize that being productive does not mean being busy. At the end of the day, you may realize that you haven’t accomplished anything very impressive despite working for hours.
You are productive if you utilize your time and energy to the fullest extent possible. This kind of work focuses more on quality (achieving results) than quantity (working a lot).
There are a few different aspects to the productivity mindset:
- Motivation From Within (Intrinsic)
- Strategic and Critical Thinking
- Learning Attitude and an Open Mind
- Self-Confidence and a Positive Attitude
When you know exactly what you want, you can set appropriate goals and develop a good strategy.
How often do you feel truly motivated to work?
Discipline allows you to stay focused on your goals, persevere through difficult tasks, and overcome obstacles as you push yourself to new heights.
3. Motivation From Within (Intrinsic)
If you want to be disciplined for longer than a few days, you need to know your why. What is the true purpose of what you do? Inspirational quotes won’t carry us very far, but intrinsic motivation will.
Also, it will help you remain persistent even in the face of challenges.
4. Strategic and Critical Thinking
You should approach situations objectively, rationally, and from different perspectives.
5. Learning Attitude and an Open Mind
Open-mindedness means being willing to consider, entertain, and implement new and diverse ideas. These qualities will improve your work, as well as yourself. The more you practice, the more effective you become, and as a result, the more productive you become.
6. Self-Confidence and a Positive Attitude
Staying positive helps you stay open to new ideas. A higher level of creativity can help you work more efficiently and effectively. It not only improves your productivity but also your quality of work.
Once we set the right foundation, it’s time to take action.
5 Steps to Create an Productivity Plan
1. Make a list of all the things you need to do.
Think about everything that comes to mind, whether it’s a big project or an everyday task like taking out the trash. Put your focus on your next step rather than prioritizing right now.
2. Arrange them by importance.
Which of these tasks will take you the furthest toward your goals? Among the many tasks that need to be completed, which will trigger the most serious consequences? What are the most urgent tasks?
Rank them in order of priority.
3. Keep a note of your time.
Consider the amount of time you need for each task and for the overall task (an afternoon, a week, or a month). Tracking your time can be useful if you have no idea how long each task takes (most of us don’t because it’s hard to estimate what time we spend on certain tasks when we’re busy).
By doing this, you’ll have a clear picture of how much time you spend on each task. It’s crucial to have that data when making a (new and improved) schedule.
4. Create an optimal schedule.
The fourth step of productivity planning is creating an optimal schedule. Make an optimal schedule based on the information you gathered in the last step. In order to speed up your productivity, consider your natural rhythm (are you a morning or night person) and schedule the most important task(s) when your focus is at its peak.
5. Start working.
After that, you can start working.
Decide which productivity strategy is right for you
There is a plethora of tried and true productivity strategies and methodologies. It isn’t that there are good and bad strategies, just that they may be good or bad for you.
Try some of them out for yourself and see if they fit your lifestyle and will help with productivity planning.
Don’t be afraid to experiment or come up with your own productivity strategies.
Listed below are a few interesting ones.
The Ivy Lee method
This may be a good choice if you’re new to productivity planning. It is a simple method – so simple that it raises questions about its efficiency. Maybe its simplicity is what makes it so effective?
- After each workday, write down 6 tasks you have to accomplish the next day.
- Sort them according to their true importance.
- As soon as you arrive at work, focus on the first task. Once the first task is completed, move on to the second.
- Following the same process, proceed to the next item on your list. The unfinished tasks can be moved to tomorrow’s list if you are unable to complete them today.
Pareto principle (The 80/20 Rule)
The Pareto principle is not a law but rather a general observation that most things in life are not distributed equally. It was based on the observation that 80% of the wealth in Italy belonged to 20% of the population.
20% of our activities make 80% of the result.
20% of customers make 80% of the revenue.
20% of causes make 80% of the circumstances.
Additional example: Do you remember your school projects in which one person would always do the majority of the work? This is what the Pareto principle means.
What does that mean for us and how can we apply it?
Determine what are the 20% of activities that are most important to you and put your energy into those. The resources of time and energy we have are limited and should be devoted wisely.
Anthony Trollope’s strategy for working on big projects
We know that the most important task must be completed first. What if that first task is really complex, takes too long, and frustrates you?
Anthony Trollope is regarded as one of England’s most prolific novelists. To write a novel can take a long time and be discouraging.
Trollope had a solution to this problem: instead of measuring his progress by chapter completions, he measured it by 15-minute intervals. As a result, he felt an immediate sense of accomplishment and got an immediate reward.
“It had at this time become my custom—and is still my custom, though of late I have become a little lenient of myself—to write with my watch before me and to require of myself 250 words every quarter of an hour.
This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year”, Trollope described his working habits.
The ideal productivity plan is made by listing all the tasks you have to do, prioritizing them, and using your time-tracking data to make a schedule. Likewise, you can adapt productivity strategies made by someone else if they fit your lifestyle – after all, you might learn some tricks that you can use on your own.
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