By Jim Wong, CPA | July 27, 2016

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer

We’ve all heard of various tips and tricks out there to be more productive at work—whether you’ve learned through leadership, various articles, or your own trial and error. For many of us, it seems logical that putting forth more effort is be the best solution for maximum productivity. However, is it possible that we’re approaching all of this the wrong way—and in the wrong order? Possibly so.

In reality, there are times when working longer hours has a negative impact of your level of productivity. For instance, if a Staff Accountant is working all day and night to close the books, only to realize they’ve made an error at some point, the following day can be counter-productive. They may have to take twice as long to fix that error, preventing them from accomplishing whatever project was scheduled that next day—all the while being mentally exhausted from the previous day’s long hours.

I’ve recently came across an interesting article on that covers this topic. It talks about what’s most important in terms of being productive for any profession. Below are The 3 Real Ways to Be More Productive.

Start with courage.

Before working harder and longer comes into play, have courage to take a risk. That means knowing what to focus your efforts on instead of trying to do too many things at once. Most successful professionals have the differentiator of showing courage. They do not commit to too many things because that would often mean committing to failure.

Then use your wisdom.

Next use what you’ve learned from your experience and from teachers, leaders and mentors to assess what’s best to tackle next. Accounting, finance and IT professionals often cut right to the technical aspects of their roles when they can be most productive if they take a step back and think about the big picture and the exact way to approach their projects by using their past experiences.

Finish by working smarter.

After you’ve shown courage and used your wisdom, then approach a high-level of productivity by working smarter. This is where any hacks, tips or shortcuts can come into play. By only looking at these resources to be productive, however, will not yield your full capabilities. So, be sure to take into account all of your knowledge and skill.

It may be counterintuitive to put your actual effort last when thinking about having maximum productivity, however, starting with courage, then using your wisdom all will lead to you working smarter and most effectively in the long run.

What are your thoughts on being more productive in the workplace? Comment below and let us know!

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