How to increase your productivity
With reduced staff, wasting time at work is unconscionable – that’s why we all feel so guilty when we find ourselves doing just that, unwillingly, unintentionally, but definitely doing it, according to Edward Brown in his book The Time Bandit Solution: Recovering Stolen Time You Never Knew You Had. The book outlines a number of actions which can significantly reduce the amount of time lost through interruptions or distractions.
After discussing the causes of time being wasted and the extent of time loss attributable to interruptions, the author proposes a number of solutions, including:
- Quiet time, which involves isolating yourself from distractions and chaos so that you can use adequate reflection and analysis when making key decisions;
- Time locking, which involves creating dedicated blocks of time when you do not accept interruptions, so that you can complete larger tasks; and
- Focal locking, which involves training yourself to focus on a single task and put other thoughts aside, so that you do not keep interrupting yourself with distractions.
A fair amount of the book is taken up in describing ways in which you can convince your colleagues and customers not to interrupt you during your time lock periods.
Interestingly, the book is populated throughout with illustrations and pull-quotes which serve to make the book quite visually inviting, but which also serve as constant distractions to someone who wants to read the book right through. There are plenty of interesting stories from the author’s personal experience, so the book is entertaining to read. I suspect that many readers will be sceptical about whether their too-much-work-not-enough-time problems really can be solved, but the book’s recommendations definitely seem worth trying.