Productivity With Purpose

Working for Pollen Brands, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many projects whose purpose helps motivate my efforts. Still, being effectively productive can be tricky. Ever have trouble getting the most out of your efforts? Here are some tips.

Figure out a system

Especially if your to-do list is long, organizing it by priority and other variables can really help you keep things under control. A systematizing program, or even a simple list-making application, can really help. At Pollen Brands, we use Basecamp to centralize all of our information from a project; files, images and conversations are all in one place and organized.

Get the ball rolling

Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. Set the day’s pace early on, by directing your energy and focus toward the most important stuff on your list. At Pollen Brands, we have a daily morning meeting; this provides a good opportunity to bring up pressing tasks and important issues, get motivated and kick-start the day.

Spend your attention wisely

Between distractions and an overwhelming to-do list, it can be hard to actually accomplisheverything you’re trying to get done. It’s easy to feel the need to do it all at the same time, but concentration is like a bank account: you only have so much to spend, no matter how good you are at multitasking. When you’ve made too many withdrawals, your work will suffer in quality. Fortunately, concentration can be easier to replenish than a drained bank account! Take a mental break to regroup, then come back and center your attention on one task that you can check off your list. I like to use a notebook to arrange my thoughts and tasks.

Organize your time

Time-tracking is important to gauge how long you spend on a task, especially if you’re working with a team and need to stay profitable. Per Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, our perception of time can vary depending on the situation; for example, time spent on vacation can seem to go by a lot faster than time on jury duty. Using a timer can help you keep a more accurate account of time spent on a task or project. At Pollen Brands, we use a program called Harvest to track time spent on projects. Harvest breaks allotted time down into tasks and people, and can save you lots of time.

The three pillars of organization

Centralize: Keep it all in one place: your lists, your tasks, your notes, and your programs.
Minimalize: The less clutter the better, whether it’s the stuff in the closet or words in a paragraph. If it doesn’t need to be there, get rid of it!
Modernize: Change is good when it’s done right! There’s nothing like upgrading to a faster, smarter, more efficient way of doing things.

Understand your needs

Whenever things get a bit fuzzy, cluttered or stalled, I try to ask, “what needs to be done to move this project forward?” In order to identify your next steps, try to gather all the information you can about the state of a task or project. At Pollen Brands, we hold regular meetings dedicated to making sure everyone is on the same page.

What do you believe in?

It’s difficult to put effort into things you’re not passionate about, so whenever possible, do something you really care about. Working at Pollen Brands gives me the chance to work on projects I support and believe in, and this drives me to be more productive and focused. I can do more, do better, and do good all at once!

Shai Long, Project Manager
and the whole Pollen Brands team