In-School Productivity Campaign | Increasing productivity with information communications technology
One of the biggest problems in society today is that we confuse being busy with being productive. Being busy is simply being active. Being productive involves getting things done in a meaningful and timely fashion. To be productive, we must take control of our resources and put them to their best use in achieving our goals.
We are all ultimately working with four resources - time, energy, money, and creativity. Despite that, time and time again, we see that most of our successes with productivity is as a result of mastery and focus on two of these: our energy and our time.
It can be difficult to keep track of all our work responsibilities plus managing our personal lives. How many of us actually account for the time we spend on everyday activities? Between the things like commuting to and from work, catching up on emails and returning calls, we can spend anywhere from a few minutes to several hours every single day on these routine activities that don't necessarily improve our productivity.
THE EIGHT WASTES OF PRODUCTIVITY
According to GoLeanSixSigma.com, waste refers to non-value-adding activities which are not required to complete a process. There are eight main sources of productivity waste in society, and they can be remembered with the acronym DOWNTIME.
The eight wastes can be broken down into:
- Defects - Products or services that are out of specification that require resources to correct.
- Overproduction - Producing too much of a product before it is ready to be sold.
- Waiting - Waiting for the previous step in the process to be completed.
- Non-Utilised talent - Employees that are not effectively engaged in the process.
- Transportation - Transporting items or information from one location to another that is not required to perform the process.
- Inventory - Inventory or information that is sitting idle (not being processed).
- Motion - People, information or equipment making unnecessary motion due to workspace layout, ergonomic issues or searching for misplaced items.
- Extra processing - Performing any activity that is not necessary to produce a functioning product or service.
If we drill down into the core resources needed to overcome these eight points, it once again lies in the use of time and energy.
TAKING CONTROL WITH INFORMATION COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
The Digital Age has provided us with numerous platforms to increase our efficiency through automation. In fact, many of these platforms are multifunctional and can help us to leverage both our time and energy to solve multiple inefficiencies.
By combining a tracking and analysis tool with a reminder tool, energy and time usage can be monitored and optimised. Two such tools which every business can integrate to their advantage are Google Calendar and Asana.
Most of us are familiar with Google Calendar, but how many of us are actually using it to our advantage? Within a company, it can serve as a shared time management resource to take care of a number of tasks, such as day-to-day scheduling, tracking deadlines, setting meetings and reminders.
The crucial benefit of Google Calendar lies in its collaborative capabilities, which are a core feature of all Google products. For example, rather than simply slotting a meeting in your daily planner, you can create it in Google Calendar, add team members, and even check their individual calendars, therefore ensuring that everyone is working on the same page. On top of that are its automation features, such as being able to set up recurring events, which is especially helpful in long-term planning.
Asana, on the other hand, is a powerful, yet easy-to-use project-management tool. Once again, it has collaborative features, including the ability to add your entire team to the workspace. Projects can be broken down into individual tasks, each with their own due dates, and assigned to specific team members. Through Asana, bottlenecks can be easily identified.
Furthermore, projects which involve cross-departmental collaboration can especially benefit from the transparency of seeing the current status of a project, and create schedules and longer-term plans by seeing what's currently in the pipeline. The internal-discussion feature also allows for tracking of concerns around tasks and act as a central point of correspondence by reducing the load on our evermore stuffed inboxes.
An added bonus is the fact that Asana and Google Calendar integrate with each other, and deadlines and reminders from Asana can be automatically added to your selected calendar.
The most resilient method of increasing productivity is a continuous process of improvement. By mastering time and energy through information communications technology, you will be well on your way to operating more efficiently and reducing 'DOWNTIME' as you seek to improve your processes each day.
The Jamaica Productivity Centre's mission is to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Jamaican economy and lead the process of transformation to a productivity-conscious culture. As part of that mission, they will be hosting the 'Cracking the Productivity Code' workshop on February 7, where I will be diving deeper into the topic of 'Increasing Productivity with Information Communications Technology'.
At the end of the day, increasing productivity and reducing DOWNTIME is all about managing your time and energy!
- Conrad Mathison is the chief executive officer of It's Pixel Perfect.