I am a typical Gen X employee and started my career as a university teacher in the early days of the Internet. I was restricted to working in an office and wasted a great deal of my time commuting. Once I arrived into my office, I tried to be as productive as possible which wasn’t always easy after commuting – especially if I’d encountered delays on my journey. Same challenge on the way back. This was my life for many years. Sound familiar to you?
However, as time passed my career progressed and for the last 15 years I have been working for global American IT companies (MSFT, CSCO). My working days are very different now. I no longer commute to an ‘office’ and instead my days are flexible and provide me with a very different work/life balance – all of which has increased my productivity.
What factors have transformed my working life so dramatically I hear you ask? Let me share with you the top five things that have changed my professional and personal life and as a result have increased my productivity and the everyday impact I have.
And at the end “there is one more thing” …
1. The evolution and use of technology.
Do you remember your first mobile telephone? I do! It was HUGE and bulky. I look back today and smile at how ridiculous it probably looked. But technology evolves rapidly and that bulky device is now a smart device that most people are incapable of living without.
My smartphone, tablet, a laptop (who uses a desktop anymore) and an Internet connection is all I need to enable me to work from anywhere at any time. With the agreement and encouragement of my employer I choose to work from home regularly. I have a home office and no commute which means I am immediately more productive.
With my coffee in hand, I focus on high quality work in the morning – this quiet time enables me to focus. Have you tried to work out a strategy in a noisy open office environment? It is near impossible! I can do so much more effectively out of my home office.
Video technology provides me with ability to connect with my team members across Europe and has the positive side effect that with cameras turned on, people don´t do emails in the background. They are focused on the meeting and discussion! And I need to travel less.
Technology has revolutionized employee experiences and I have seen the workplace transformation happening firsthand. My employer Cisco and former employer Microsoft have played big roles in allowing and promoting this type of mobile working style. At the same time, I must admit that technology has blurred the lines between personal and work time. We are reachable 24/7 and work is in the palm of our hand. Some discipline is needed.
Thank you, Cisco for enriching my life and enabling me to combine an international career with a family life.
2. Through learning and development
Don´t underestimate the power of training and education. They are important for our professional and personal growth. The key is to apply the learning and not just follow the training and not allow your books to become dusty in your office. How many brilliant training and development books do you have gaining dust? I bet there are many!
I’ve found that by attending and applying the learnings from courses (in my case conscious leadership, time management, project management, coaching, mentoring etc.) I have increased my productivity and added impact not just in my work life but also my personal life. Leadership, coaching and mentoring can be applied to your family life too. I have two daughters and I love applying the trainings I’ve learnt to aid their development. Education for me is guiding your children and providing opportunities.
3. By motivation and passion
If your work is your passion, there is a direct correlation with your motivation and productivity. Think about an athlete. It is their motivation, passion and dedication that sees them accomplish great success. The same applies for employees.
We life in a digital era where information overload is a fact. We need to make choices and prioritize. By focusing on your priorities you become more productive by default. Don´t waste your time on sorting out all your emails and follow up on everything coming in. It could well be you are wasting your precious time.
5. Focus and Mindfulness
Take five minutes at the start of every day to think about where you can make a difference. What can you do that will have the most impact on your day? How will you go about achieving this? How will it make you feel? At the end of the day think about what you have achieved. What WAS the impact and has it made a difference? By focusing your mind and practicing mindfulness techniques you will be surprised at the amount of impact you can have on the world around you.
ONE MORE THING … APPLE AND CISCO
My productivity will be further increased through innovative technology via the recently announced strategic partnership between Apple and Cisco. Together we will change the way we (will) work. Read more about the how and in the latest blog from our CEO. I am very much looking forward to it.
What techniques do you practice to increase your productivity and the world around you? What impact has it made on your life? I’d love you to share your techniques with me.