Everyone wants to achieve more in less time. More projects, more success, more fun, more wealth… it’s a race against time. The world is cluttered with products and services. However, productivity cannot be forced; the more you try to force it, the more it evades you.

I enjoy the challenge of sharing a new perspective and that freshness was eluding me while writing this article. Sitting back to reflect, I realised that a very busy week had influenced my state of mind and hence, impacted my productivity. 

When we are cluttered and unable to focus, our efficiency gets hampered. I was speaking to the CEO of an infrastructure organisation, who mentioned that five per cent of their business is strategy and 95 per cent is execution. To ensure higher productivity, they have reviewed and streamlined processes and are focusing on developing leaders who can take charge.

Decluttering our space and thoughts become essential to manage the chaos and be productive.  So what enhances productivity?

1. People need to feel a connection

Processes alone don’t serve to make people productive. Passion contributes as significantly, if not more. When we love what we do, we are able to work fearlessly, effortlessly, efficiently and joyously. People feel motivated when they feel a sense of ‘connection’ with their work or a person or a vision. 

A leader can connect with others, when the leader pauses to understands others’ and speaks their language. I was working with a senior leader who leads the technology function of a global organisation. When we started working together, he was used to giving solutions and expect people to execute.

Also, the pressure of change would get passed down because of a feeling of overwhelm. To keep pace with changing technology, the leader realised that he had to be vulnerable to take support and let go of trying to do everything. He started communicating with the team openly, listening to their ideas and giving space to his team to take risks. There was a visible shift in the productivity of the team and the leader. 

2. Bold and clear vision

Leaders are driven to be successful and when there is clarity of vision and purpose, they forge ahead fearlessly. The higher the vision, the higher is the possibility to connect with more people.

For instance, Apple iPhone has revolutionised many industries because the product connects with the emotional need of people to possess a product that looks good, is multifunctional and yet, is simple to use. 

Clarity also helps in making decisions quickly and facilitates leaders to tap into their inner resourcefulness to be productive in the face of change and uncertainty. To stay balanced and move forward, a leader needs to keep their emotions anchored in self-confidence. It takes discipline and practise to achieve inner equilibrium. The leader can use various techniques such as yoga, pranayama, meditation, etc, to build self-awareness and anchor the emotions to keep moving forward. 

3. Keep moving forward

The timing is right the moment we decide to get into action. The title of Richard Branson’s book, Screw it, Let’s do it, says it all. Just get up and act. We learn and grow through trial and error.

Whenever I write, I pour out my thoughts and then gradually focus on finessing the content. A cluttered mind is unable to process and be creative. When we are open to new ways of doing the same thing, we can increase our efficiency. By reviewing our behaviour and being open to change, we can enhance effectiveness.

Also, celebrating milestones elevates the mood and increases performance. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes not. What matters is that we keep walking towards our own north star. 

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  • Ashu Khanna

    Senior Leadership Coach & Author

    Ashu, a pioneer coach for senior leaders in India, has successfully partnered with many CXO's over the last 14 years. She is well regarded as a thought leader on Leadership and Coaching and regularly contributes her views as a speaker and author. Through her insightful and bold style of coaching, she is able to deepen self-awareness and create sustainable behaviour change for her clients to design a life of success and happiness. At the same time, she continues to mentor coaches as well. She is the Founder President of the Mumbai Chapter of International Coach Federation (“ICF”). In a short span of 2 years, the Chapter published a book on the power of coaching and won an award for probono coaching at NGO’s. She also served on ICF’s Global and Regional committees for strategic matters and as a jury member for ICF Global committees. Ashu has shared insights from her journey of inner transformation in her books - ‘I Am Freedom, Live Life with Awareness’; ‘I Am…Life Is…Live Life with Mastery’ and ‘To That…with love and reverence’.