Higher Quality Productivity

Graph of Quality Results

People who strive for productivity sometimes run into the problem of producing a whole lot of sub-par results very, very quickly. It’s a symptom of a very fine virtue becoming an ugly vice. However, because productivity is a good thing, it can be hard to determine when you’re pushing to get too much done in too little time; it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed the line. Here are three examples of symptoms of over-productivity and low-quality results:

  • Family, friends, clients, or colleagues have started commenting on an undesirable change.
  • All your project time estimates are based on everything going perfectly.
  • You’re too busy to double check your work.

If you suffer from one or all of these symptoms, look to the advice below to recovery your high-quality results and put your productivity skills to use toward better end goals.

Eradicate Undesirable Changes

Your family, friends, and close colleagues are going to best be able to pinpoint when something in the way you work has changed for the worse. Family will know if you’ve sacrificed quality time with them for quality results at work; friends will point out if you’re harried and hounded; colleagues and clients will notice if your work is coming in with less polish than usual.

When one of these people mentions something, listen. If more than one of them mentions something, listen even harder. Take it as a signal that you need to look at your life and evaluate how you spend your time. Are you achieving your goals? Are you fulfilling your ambitions? Do you feel satisfied with the results you’re putting out in all areas of your life?

If not, take the time to trim and prune your commitments and expectations. What you need to cut out will vary depending on what has gone wrong.

Avoid Best-case Estimates

If you plan your time based on best-case scenarios, you’re bound to end up cutting corners somewhere. If you’ve accepted projects so your workweek is completely full, without any wiggle room, you’re setting yourself up for sub-par results. Unexpected things crop up in many projects, if not all, and if you aren’t leaving room for that you’ll be in trouble. You’ll either ignore the unexpected issues, cut time away from other projects, lose personal time, or lose sleep (which will, in turn, lead to lesser results later on).

If you notice that your plans require everything to run smoothly, make a change now. You don’t necessarily need to plan your life based on worst-case scenarios, but you should leave yourself some room to adapt. Give yourself some buffer time.

Plan for Quality Control

That buffer time should not be planned for use in double-checking your work or doing basic quality control; that should always be planned in to what you’re doing. If you’re a writer and you don’t plan time to read back through a piece of writing at least once after you think you’re done, you’re a fool. The same goes for most other types of work. You should always plan some basic quality control time into your schedule.

One way you can help your quality control process is to have a checklist of common errors you may make. When you think you’re done, quickly run through that checklist to ensure you meet a bare minimum of quality. It’s better if you can also plan time to completely double check your work, and will produce better results, but giving yourself an explicit baseline to aim for is a good place to start.

When you plan quality control into your work and keep an eye out for warning signs of lower quality, it’s much more likely that your productivity efforts will be aimed at high quality results.

Image by winnond via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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