4 Productivity Lessons We Learned in 2014

We’re productivity junkies here at Contactzilla, always looking for new ways we can simplify our workflows and get more done.

Over the last year, we’ve tried an abundance of different productivity methods, and boy, have we learned a lot.

Here’s 4 of the most important productivity lessons we learned in 2014…

1. A single to-do list won’t do

I’d love to say that we’d discovered a productivity method that means we don’t need to keep to-do lists anymore, but if I did, I’d be lying.

In fact, what we’ve learned is kind of the opposite… There are plenty of variations on the to-do list that can be just as helpful. Here’s a couple of our favourites…

The Waiting-For List

We got this idea from Chris Bailey, author of A Year of Productivity. The waiting-for list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of everything you’re waiting for other people to do.

Whether you’re waiting for someone to call you back, reply to an email, or do something you’ve delegated, making a note on your waiting-for list will help you stay on top of your work and remind you to follow it up if needs be.

The Done List

Research suggests that people who are acknowledged for their work go on to outperform others, even if the work they were acknowledged for wasn’t particularly meaningful.

In this guest post, Janet Choi of IDoneThis introduced us to the concept of a done list. Janet recommends sitting down at the end of each day to reflect on what you achieved that day, or simply noting down what you’ve done as you do it.

By reflecting on what you’ve achieved, you can gain a fuller understanding of how productive you are on a daily basis, and make time to celebrate those all important small wins.

2.We all need a friend at work

It’s always been fun to have friends at work but this year we’ve really noticed how having friends at work actually makes us more productive.

This year we learned that, people who initiate workplace friendships, and join in with work related social activities, are 40% more likely to receive promotions than those who don’t and, according to Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, people with a ‘best friend’ at work are up to 7 times more engaged than those who aren’t.

One study from early this year also found that employees who felt that their working culture was loving and caring reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork and called in sick less.

3. Productivity doesn’t equal happiness

While we’re always on the lookout for new tips and tricks to help us become more productive, we’ve learned that productivity doesn’t necessarily equal happiness. In fact, we’ve learned that it’s more the other way around…

Alexander Kjerulf, founder of Woohoo sums it up nicely in this article on his blog

“I’m not knocking all the traditional productivity advice out there – it’s not that it’s bad or deficient. It’s just that when you apply it in a job that basically doesn’t make you happy, you’re trying to fix something at a surface level when the problem goes much deeper.”

If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you’re going to struggle to be productive. If you love what you do, and it makes you happy, productivity will follow.

4. Being more mindful means we get more done

‘Mindfulness’ has been a bit of a buzzword for 2014, but if you’ve managed to miss it, mindfulness can be described as the mental state of being completely aware of your surroundings and living in the present moment.

In this article for Lifehacker, Productivity Coach Ciara Conlon, explains how mindfulness can help us get more one by improving focus, allowing us to plan more effectively, and reducing stress…

“The practice of mindfulness teaches us to become aware of our thoughts and the present moment. It is a habit we need to nurture because our natural tendency is to stray from the here and how to tomorrow, next week or next month. When we practice mindfulness we keep calling back our wandering mind to rest on the current moment.”

What did you learn about productivity this year? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: dcJohn via Compfight cc