4 Ways to Reframe Productivity
Updated: Aug 11
By Naomi Arroyo for Tech | Hustle | Culture
As creatives and entrepreneurs, the days are packed with endless agenda items, conversations to follow up on and processes to manage. If you've ever found yourself running around all day, attempting to accomplish things, only to look up and find that you can only cross 2 things off your to-do list, you're not alone!
If you feel like you're working all the time and not really making enough progress on your goals, your productivity techniques may need some fine tuning. Below are 4 strategies for moving from busy mode to productive mode.
With some small adjustments you can get clear and focused on your goals and use all of your personal resources to achieve those goals in an organized manner! Here are 4 tried and true hacks for optimizing your project management and boosting productivity,
Super Charge Your To-Do List With Trello
We use Trello in the Lab to keep our projects organized and on track. Trello is a web based list-making app that has transformed our workflow. We like the simple and intuitive interface and library of templates for everything from marketing campaigns to engineering team workflows. This tool makes managing a project easier because you can break larger tasks down into smaller checklists, assign due dates and owners and track its completion. Trello notifies you when there is an update to the board, so your to-do items never fall out of sight and out of mind. Check out our Productivity Hack Trello board template to jumpstart your productivity.
Break Work Down Into Sprints
Working in sprints is part of the AGILE approach to project management that calls for iterations of work during which an increment of product functionality is implemented. These sprints can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the scope. In the Lab, we like to work in week-long sprints for our more complex projects. This allows us to
chunk work into manageable parts and make changes along the way if anything goes off course or if the needs of the project change in anyway.
Every sprint is followed by a retrospective or retro. A retro is a held at the end of every sprint to review what went well and what needs to improve. You walk away from a retro knowing what you will work on during the next sprint. We usually start off our retros, which we call "Stand-ups," with Glows, Grows, and Lows from the past week and use the time to gather feedback from our team members on the progress of our priority tasks. These retros help to create transparency at all levels of our team. We participate in the decision making process together and this helps everyone to know how choices are made and where they come from.
Focus on the Processes, Not the Tasks
In order to accelerate our growth this year, we had to slow down and focus on what our broader goals were, what processes we already had in place to get there, and what was missing. We made a conscious effort to break down all the processes that allow us to function across all of our departments and ask.
For our marketing department for example, we listed all the major processes that allow our marketing initiatives to be executed.
Then we asked ourselves what we had done across each of these major buckets. Given what we had accomplished for each, and given our specific yearly goals, what should each process look like? What process level changes would move each component further in alignment with our big goals?
We revamped each process with weekly sprints, which meant that our work was
purposeful and iterative. We are less
focused on spinning our wheels on a task level and more focused on insuring that processes for our major business goals are in working order.
In order for creative work to be sustainable, productivity has to be about more than just meeting deadlines and checking things off a to do list. Intentional planning and cycles of feedback help to ensure that you never get to the end of the month, quarter, or year without knowing what you have accomplished and what changes can be leveraged for optimized success.