Firms struggling to achieve maximum productivity, says performance specialist

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 5 February 2015 in News
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FranklinCovey’s findings are based on responses over a six-year period from more than 351,000 employees worldwide and have led to a new book - The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity

Forty per cent of time in the workplace is spent carrying out unimportant tasks, according to latest research from performance improvement specialist FranklinCovey.

While certain activities may appear urgent, many add no value, leaving both employers and employees with a feeling that nothing has been accomplished.

FranklinCovey’s findings are based on responses over a six-year period from more than 351,000 employees worldwide and have led to a new book - The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity.

The lack of productivity is attributed to two primary causes – the draining effects of constant demands for employees’ attention and a failure to consciously and proactively choose what is most important.

Kory Kogan, FranklinCovey’s global practice leader for productivity and one of the book’s authors, said: “The combination of these factors has a significant impact on how accomplished or how buried alive we feel on any day.

“Our brain can become wired to react to what feels urgent and it actually gives us a dopamine high when we respond to and immediately act on that which seems important, because it is urgent. We feel busy and productive in the moment, but then realise at the end of the day that we made decisions to spend time on activities that were not of high value.”

Kogan explained that technology has made it both easier and harder than ever to achieve greater productivity.

“It is easier, because technology enables learning, accessibility and connections in ways never before possible; and it is harder because it enables an unstoppable flow of information and demands that are irresistible to our brain,” she added.

“We will remain captive by this productivity paradox unless we take a fundamentally different approach to addressing the overwhelming flow of decisions and information.”

In their new book, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity, Kogan and her colleagues Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne explain how individuals can make five choices to rewire their brains to make intentional, high-value decisions whilst retaining the sustainable energy to make it all happen. The choices are:

Choice 1 - Act on the important, don’t react to the urgent

Choice 2 - Go for extraordinary, don’t settle for ordinary

Choice 3 - Schedule the big rocks, don’t sort gravel

Choice 4 - Rule your technology, don’t let it rule you

Choice 5 - Fuel your fire, don’t burn out

Drawing on the latest brain science, technology and performance psychology research, the authors set out an underlying ‘Pause-Clarify-Decide’ strategy, which enables individuals to pause their ‘reactive brain’ long enough to use their ‘thinking brain’ to clarify everything that is coming at them.

Adam Meerrill, FranklinCovey’s vice president of innovation, said: “The aim of the book is to help individuals make a conscious and intentional decision as to what is of high value and thus, worth our time and energy. The more we hone this skill, the more we will be able to accomplish the right things and get a better ‘ROM’— return on every moment - in our day.”

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