Productivity Recommendations

There are some core behaviors that can help make any team member more reliable at handling their zone of accountability.

Maintain a trusted system of commitments

For most staff working on tasks, they will be assigned to overall tasks, but will have several actions related to each task. For example, the task may be to “Create New Homepage Design”. That task may involve:

  • Research
  • Prototyping
  • Showing a friend
  • Creating a sketch
  • Creating a mockup

The PMs are not going to tell you the steps you need to take to fulfill the work. You can make it for yourself! If you want a checklist to guide you and make sure you are dealing with the interim steps in a timely fashion, make it for yourself!

You can maintain this kind of list in Asana (I use My Tasks to hold all of my personal commitments) or a separate platform. The point is that you need a system, not what the system actually is.

Morning inbox sweep

Each morning, before starting any work, do a full sweep of your “inboxes”. This usually will include:

  • Slack
  • Email
  • Asana Inbox

It will also include other services depending on your job, such as Hubspot. Go through every single new message or notification.

In most cases you won‘t have a next action based on the notification, and you can read the notification, absorb it and move on. If you have a next action and can do it in under 2 minutes, do it. If you have a next action that would take more than 2 minutes, create a task for yourself in your system of choice.

For more on this concept, check out the Inbox Zero methodology:

For tracking time during the inbox sweep, you may either:

  • Keep your timer on the whole time and try to “bunch” client communication so that you spend a concerted stretch of time on each client/topic
  • Keep mental notes of roughly how much time is going towards each client, and then re-construct your timesheet quickly after you have done your sweep.

Evening task sweep

Before you stop work for the night, review your My Tasks. Do you still have anything due today? If so, it should be renegotiated. Why did it fall behind? If you need tomorrow to handle it, what will you do with other things due tomorrow? Never leave the office with an overdue task in My Tasks.