The 5 Most Useful Skills For Productivity
Do you have big dreams but little time?
I know how you feel. I always have way more things I'd like to do than time to do them in.
I'm still planning to spend 3 months in Buenos Aires perfecting my Spanish and wearing beautiful shoes. One day.
But seriously, when you are blending work and family there are always a million competing priorities for every minute of your time.
And most of the time there is no one to delegate them to.
With so many things to get done for work and family, you don't want any of them to take a minute more than they have to.
So I thought today, I would share with you the 5 skills I've learnt that have had the biggest effect on my productivity.
By coincidence, I learnt all 5 skills by attending training courses in 2004.
1. Writing For Business
This two-day course taught me how to write and write fast. Over 2 days, we outlined, drafted, edited and critiqued different documents against the clock. Before I went on this course, I was underconfident in my writing skills and it gave me the structure I needed to get writing.
Being able to write quickly and without too much agonising, has been invaluable for communicating ideas to different audiences
2. Presentation Skills.
This one was excruciating. It involved being filmed making a presentation at the beginning and end of the course. On VHS tape! I was so horrified, I never watched the tape. I might even still have it somewhere.
The horror of being filmed aside, it taught me how to present and be less scared of presenting. Making presentations and public speaking is an unbelievably useful skill. It immediately allows you to communicate an idea of set of ideas to a huge number of people instead of just a few.
Now if I have a topic I love and an audience, I'm ready to go.
3. Negotiation Skills
This course was brilliant because it taught me how to find a mutually beneficial solution in different situations. This has been very useful in my professional life and with toddlers.
4. Project Management
Although many of the techniques have been replaced by scrum and agile ways of working, the project management structure is one I still find useful. I like the clarity that comes with creating a project, setting an objective, a timescale, budget and monitoring plans. I often like to structure my work as different projects to help keep things manageable.
5. Speed Reading
I've left the best till last.
The best skill I have even learnt, hands down, is speed reading. In this 2 day course, I learnt how to increase my reading speed to 800 words per minute with 90% recall rate and over 1,000 words per minute with some material. Being able to speed read has allowed me to find information quickly whilst researching, read books in a couple of days and find out about new developments and ideas quickly.
I think this skill alone has saved be thousands of hours over the last decade.
I'd love to know what skills you have which improve your productivity. Are there any you'd like to learn?