Flexibility AND Productivity…What?!

“For a flexible person, it is impossible not to reach his destination, because by using his ability to be flexible, he can easily define a nearer new destination!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

There’s a lot of emphasis on productivity in recent blogs and Pinterest postings. We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient at home and at work with the end goal of accomplishing more in less time. There are great tips such as getting up 20 minutes earlier, reducing distractions by shutting off alerts on your phone, and creating priority lists daily, weekly etc… These are all effective ways to get more done.
Sometimes to get our priorities accomplished, we can become rigid and very focused on the task at hand. Our world narrows to a list of tasks and checklists. Distractions and deviations from this list causes much anxiety and a feeling of not being productive. Other people’s needs and priorities become an annoyance.

However, consider a few ideas of how being more flexible can actually boost our productivity and increase our effectiveness. Yes – you can actually be more productive by being flexible!

There will always be distractions, emergencies, or unexpected events in our work day. How we welcome and respond to these is key to keeping ourselves truly productive.

  1. When something unplanned or unexpected comes along, we are forced out of our groove. We have to shift our focus. This is a great opportunity to reassess our priorities. What “to do” items are really important, not to ourselves, but to our company as a whole? Taking these “interruptions” as an opportunity to ensure our goals are aligned with that of our business, can lead us closer to being more productive in the big picture.
  2. By being able to shift gears and ebb and flow with the tide, we are given a chance to continually reprioritize. We can ask ourselves “Is this truly productive?” “What does it really mean to be productive?” We can keep busy all day, or we can find ways to ensure we are contributing to the goals of the company at large. That might mean dealing with an employee issue to prevent problems and ensure a motivated workforce. It might mean letting administrative tasks pile up while we focus on a client and their needs. Thinking about long term results is ultimately more productive.
  3. Being flexible can also teach us to be proactive instead of reactive. Knowing that unexpected issues (good or bad) can occur, we can build flexibility into our plan for the day. Having a backup plan on when we will get something done can help us change gears without the anxiety of leaving our process. Knowing which tasks can wait will help us respond to bigger priorities as they come along.
  4. Sometimes the day gets away from us, and all the “productivity” we had planned goes out the window. This can help us reassess our limits and expectations. Perhaps we are trying to get too much done. Maybe we need to delegate more.

Being flexible does not mean being distracted. Being flexible means we continually redefine priorities and goals. Doing this keeps us in line with the more important aspects of our business and ultimately makes us more productive. What we do produce will then have the greatest impact.

Erin Counter, Director of Operations