Sometimes famous just happens (Grumpy Cat), sometimes it’s about who you know (any heiress ever), and sometimes it’s actually the byproduct of hard work, determination, and in general, just being very, very good at what you do. We’ll take our advice from the latter — here are 7 productivity tips for teams from people who became famous by mastering the art of efficiency.
1. Treat your employees like people…
…not assets, complete with consideration, compassion, and an understanding of their separate goals and needs. Having a greater concept of the individual will inevitably make the whole a little easier to figure out.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer, theologian, musician, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary.
2. One great idea or profitable project does not an untouchable titan make.
Even geniuses can have an off day. Recognize that even the most in-sync teams might not always gel, and don’t let a bump in the road turn into a full-on disaster.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO and all-around business magnate.
3. Redefine what it means to fail.
When something doesn’t quite work the way you meant for it to, changing course is not failing. Giving up is.
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
4. Use idle time to get a jump start on future projects.
This is also known as the Spielberg Method — the infamous director swears by the typically counter-intuitive approach of working on several projects at once, claiming that as he spends a short period of time working on one, then the next, and so on, it gives his brain time to refresh and approach each subsequent project with renewed perspective. If your team hits a brick wall, move on.
“I’m more lucid about my own work if I have got something to distract me.” – Steven Spielberg, film director, screenwriter, and producer.
5. Whatever project your team considers priority one, work on it every day.
It’s tempting to say you’ll get to something tomorrow, or the next day, or to carve out a chunk of time three days from now when you anticipate having it, but what happens when it’s upon you and you feel comfortable pushing it off again? A little bit of dedicated time each day can add up to way more than a loosely promised block of it later.
“In order to accomplish something you have to work at it every day…If you do it everyday then you will have a chain. The next step is not breaking the chain.” – Jerry Seinfeld, comedian and actor.
6. Map out a routine and stick to it.
All too often our carefully prepared, perfectly aligned schedules get waylaid by a rogue meeting invite, a hallway conversation-turned-coffee run, or a decision from outside the team that’s poorly communicated and highly disruptive. Everybody knows that plans get blown apart, but as much as possible, uphold the routines you’ve chosen and use them to strategically chase after your goals.
”I have always been structured. What has changed is the proportions…It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.” – Gerhard Richter, visual artist and painter.
7. Don’t revisit the same thing more than once.
To play devil’s advocate with the aforementioned Spielberg Method — which frankly may not work well for people who are easily distracted by fractured work periods — try the alternative approach: deal with certain only once, finish it, and move on. This is particularly effective with smaller tasks, like emails or determining when a certain meeting can take place. In a team, it’s easy to get tripped up by small stuff; committing to a single-attack attitude for particular problems could come in very handy.
“Deal with something once. Do it now. Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter.” – Susan O’Connell, Zen master.
Dig this post? Check out these 10 App-Free Ways to Increase Productivity at Work.