April 14, 2014 In Luncheon Summary
Busyness Does Not Equal Productivity with Stacey Randall of Randall Research
Who you missed: Stacey Randall is the founder and chief consultant of Randall Research, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stacey’s mission is to use research to uncover client’s needs around productivity and engagement. Her goal is to create productive people and engaged organizations so going to work on Monday isn’t so bad. Stacey holds a Masters in Organizational and Strategic Communication. She is a Certified Productivity and Time Efficiency Coach and Consultant, a trainer for the UNC-Charlotte Continuing Education Division, a published writer, and a national presenter on employee engagement, generational diversity, work/life integration, and management training. Stacey is married with two children.
What you missed: It’s Time to Take Control: Stacey offered important insights into how we can take control of our days to optimize our efficiency. Being busy isn’t always the same thing as being productive. She described the four styles of productivity and encouraged us to each identify our own type in order to understand how to get the most out of our day.
The first two styles are considered “left brained” approaches. There is the Prioritizer who is logical and focused on outcomes, while the Planner is very organized, sequential and loves to create “to do” lists. The two “right brained” styles include the Arranger, who is supportive, expressive and likes to work as a team in a collaborative style, and the Visualizer who is able to see the big picture and has the intuition to determine how to get things done.
One of the key problem areas that Stacey identified for the average worker today is e-mail. She pointed out that while it is not in anyone’s job description, it has become our main mode of communication and many of us spend a great deal of time in our e-mail inbox. A cluttered inbox represents a multitude of postponed decisions. Stacey shared her key to becoming agile in email by using the Contain Circle, which provides a path to clarity by first READING an e-mail, then DECIDING what needs to be done with it before ACTING on that decision so that the e-mail is then CONTAINED. It doesn’t need to be a continued distraction. She provided a flow chart for the ACT step in the circle.
Do you need to ACT on the e-mail: Yes or No
If no, either file or delete the e-mail.
If yes, then do one of the following:
(1) Take the action necessary – Do it!
(2) Delegate the action to someone else
(3) Convert it to a task – put it on your “to do” list so you don’t forget
Why: There is no “one size fits all” for being your most productive self. It is important to identify your style for productivity so that you can work your best. Don’t be fooled by the common brain myths: Multi-tasking, Memorizing and Unlimited Resource. The truth is that multi-tasking is not efficient, productive or accurate. Focus on one thing at a time. Your brain isn’t meant to store unlimited information, so write things down. And finally, your brain is not an unlimited resource, so use it for what it is intended – ideas!
Stacey shared that the average person spends 41% of the day in their e-mail inbox and receives 110 e-mails per day. Because we don’t manage our e-mails in a productive way, we spend 6 weeks per year looking for information lost within our e-mails. This contributes to the average of 37 hours of unfinished work on our desks at any given time.
Stacey left us with some Best Practices for e-mail use in order to increase our productivity:
- Turn off the e-mail alert
- Pick 3 to 5 newsletters that you never or rarely read and unsubscribe from them
- Don’t check your e-mail until you have finished the high priority project for the day
- Determine a reasonable number of emails that should be in your inbox at the end of the day. The number of emails you have currently will dictate where you set your initial goal, but you can keep working towards a lower number. Stacey has less than five!!
Finally, Stacey shared 5 Productivity Tips:
- Get up earlier.
- Start your day off with water. You need to hydrate.
- Manage your energy and adjust your calendar. Know how your body works so that you don’t plan mentally challenging tasks for a time of day when you are mentally exhausted.
- Use only ONE “to do” list.
- Prepare, prioritize, prepare, prioritize
You can find out about workshops Stacey will be conducting in the Charlotte area on her website.