You Have an Impulsivity Problem & More: This Week in Productivity – Mar 11, 2016

Welcome to This Week in Productivity, our weekly round-up where we share the best productivity insights from around the web. This week, we’ve learned some new concepts like “impulsivity” and “strategic inefficiency”. We’ve also discovered new ideas around prioritization, remote team leadership, and proper time management.

You Don’t Have a Procrastination Problem, You Have an Impulsivity Problem
by Eric Ravenscraft (@LordRavenscraft)

Key Takeaway: The problem of procrastination isn’t saying yes to the task at hand; it’s saying no to everything else. It is an impulsive tendency to do what feels easier, rather than doing what you know you should be doing. Manage your “impulsivity” and you will soon be more productive in no time.

Tips and Tricks:
Here are some tips to manage your impulsivity:

  1. Practice being fully aware in the moment. Control your thoughts, rather than letting your thoughts control your actions.
  2. Learn what triggers your distractive impulses and plan to avoid them when you need to focus.
  3. Set aside a time during the day to handle your distractions. It’s okay to indulge and refresh yourself if it is a planned distraction.
  4. If procrastination is a serious problem for you, talk to someone that can help, like a therapist.

Your Business Needs an Extra Person
by Eric J. McNulty (@RicherEarth)

Key Takeaway: On the surface, it seems having an extra person as excess capacity in a team is an inefficient use of money and talent. But when the unexpected occurs, you will be thankful for this “strategic inefficiency”, especially if your focus is delivering an excellent customer experience. The right amount of strategic inefficiency can make your organization more nimble when the unexpected happens.

Tips and Tricks:
For high profile customer-facing projects like conferences and product launches, it is often best to add an extra person to your team. In most cases, the upside of flexibility and responsiveness more than offsets the costs of the additional person.

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The Second Hardest Part: A Founder’s Thoughts on Starting a Startup
by Mitchell Lee (@dontmitch)

Key Takeaway: Setting priorities is one of the most difficult things to do in a startup. With the abundance of ideas and enthusiasm, it’s not always immediately obvious which tasks you should prioritize.

Tips and Tricks:
A few tips to setting priorities:

  1. When establishing a startup, your priority should be getting a functioning product out to customers as soon as possible.
  2. Determine what is most valuable to your startup at this point in time. Prioritize tasks that contribute the most to that value.
  3. Find a way to capture new ideas so that your epiphanies don’t distract from your work.
  4. Finish your current tasks first, then prioritize the new ideas that came to you during the day. The delay tempers your excitement and makes you more objective when prioritizing those ideas.
  5. If all else fails, prioritize growth.

Five Reasons Remote Teams Fail
by Wayne Turmel (@greatwebmeeting)

Key Takeaway: You will face many unexpected challenges when working with a remote team. But the fundamentals of teamwork and leadership are the same – you need to share information, collaborate and assist each other. Overcoming remote team hurdles means applying time-tested leadership principles to new communication and project management technologies.

Tips and Tricks:
Here’s how to lead successful remote teams:

  1. Give the team a compelling vision and purpose.
  2. Be proactive in communicating with everyone in the team to increase their accountability to you and to each other.
  3. Make your team take shared ownership of their tasks.
  4. Have explicit and clear work processes in place so that people don’t get confused and try to second guess how to get work done.
  5. Nurture an individual relationship with each team member, via communication and coaching.

7 Reasons Your Time Management Must Be Flexible
by Craig Jarrow (@TMNinja)

Key Takeaway: People think that proper time management is all about sticking to a rigid schedule and doing things in lockstep. But when life happens, you need to adjust. Having the ability to adapt and change is what good time management is all about.​

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Learn which of your priorities are the most likely to change and have a backup plan, if possible.
  2. Add buffer zones before and after your meetings.
  3. Be open to scrapping or improving your original plan if a better one comes along.
  4. Maintain a positive attitude when something doesn’t go as planned.
  5. If you suddenly have some extra time on your hands, stay productive by adjusting your schedule to do things earlier.
  6. Schedule non-critical events after high-risk ones so that if the latter do go overtime, you don’t need to sacrifice an important meeting or errand.
  7. Don’t let your schedule override being human. Help friends and family when necessary.