Being More Productive Today by Anticipating Tomorrow’s Problems.

Productivity is about more than just motivation and hard work. True productivity occurs when you have all your metaphorical ducks in a row and can bust out a few hours of work without distraction.

This week’s article is written by the wonderful Katie Brenneman. Thank you Katie for writing this for me.

However, to be more productive, you must get in the habit of planning for future problems. This will help you avoid the minor issues that get in the way of your day-to-day tasks and ensure that you aren’t left chasing the day.

Fortunately, avoiding these kinds of distractions and interruptions is easy. You just have to anticipate tomorrow’s problems and create action plans to take care of potential productivity pits.

Automation of Small Tasks

The future of work will be driven by artificial intelligence (AI). AI software is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as deep learning programs now can learn and adapt within reasonable confines. As a professional striving for greater productivity, you should take advantage of these leaps in tech by automating some of your smaller tasks.

It’s understandable to be skeptical about the power of AI at first. But 80% of business leaders say that AI is already being used in their company. For example, many warehouse managers use AI to help model future issues, improve safety for employees who may be at risk, and achieve greater accuracy when it comes to stock checks and task delegation.

Even if you don’t work in a logistically demanding field like warehouse management, you can still reap the benefits of automating small tasks. AI is particularly useful if you work in IT-heavy fields like finance, healthcare, or a governmental agency that uses data centres. Most data center operations benefit from network automation and gain deeper insights through analytical tools that are supported by AI programs.

Automation is here to stay. As a busy professional, you should look to automate the day-to-day tasks and use AI to spot issues and emergencies before they occur.

Planning for Modern Emergencies

We’ve all experienced our fair share of modern emergencies in the past few years. The pandemic outweighs them all, of course, but that doesn’t mean you should discount other modern threats to your productivity like supply chain shortages, rapidly shifting prices, or the collapse of markets adjacent to your own.

Anticipating future supply chain disruptions should be at the top of your list of emergency-planning priorities. Regardless of whether you sell trinkets on Etsy or work in HR for a major corporation, supply chain issues have undoubtedly impacted the way you work in the last few years. Fortunately, you can plan for tomorrow’s supply chain issues by:

  • Leveraging new technology to optimise workflows
  • Prioritising quality suppliers over cheap suppliers
  • Following the 80/20 rule for inventory categorisation
  • Leveraging key data analytics for a quicker response to shifting market pressures

Of course, not all emergencies immediately involve supply chain issues. You should also begin to plan for other modern emergencies like ransomware attacks by creating a digital disaster recovery plan (DRS) that helps you and your business respond to malware attacks. An adequate DRS can also help you avoid things like data loss while you complete an inventory check for your digital assets.

You can’t plan for every potential emergency. But you can establish common-sense responses to emergencies like proactively protecting your supply chain and digital assets. This will ensure that you can respond to fluctuating markets and will help you focus on the here and now.

Protecting Your Schedule

Productivity isn’t measured by the raw amount of work you get done in a day. True productivity is measured by the amount of relevant work you achieve in a 24-hour window. However, many of us are feeling overwhelmed and overworked and are suffering from a major dip in productivity.

Speaking to your manager or boss is the first step towards recovering your productivity. A good employer will see that you are working hard but are being stretched thin due to competing deadlines and too much responsibility. Simply communicating this fact puts the ball in their court, and can lead to a restructuring of your responsibilities to help you refocus on your most important tasks.

If you’re self-employed or set your own schedule, then other factors like family life and hobbies may get in the way of your day-to-day productivity. While we all have to make reasonable accommodations for loved ones, it’s not unfair to set a strict schedule and make yourself unavailable during the workday.

In general, you should plan to set aside at least 3 to 5 hours each day for what psychologists call “deep work.” Deep work occurs when your brain is primed to tackle complex or creative tasks and can help you get a leg up on the day’s work. These hours can occur in the morning, afternoon, or evening, and you should proactively remove distractions like social media or emails to get the most from these bursts of productivity.

Conclusion

Productivity is a blend of organisation, emergency anticipation, and daily scheduling. Fortunately, innovations like AI software can help you with every step of your planning, from supply chain analysis to the automation of simple tasks like stock checks. You can also take advantage of psychological insights like deep work to improve the quality and quantity of the work you complete each day.

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specialising in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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