If you are seeking inspiration on how to get more effective, to get more out of your typical work day then you could definitely do worse than look at a much feted 30 year veteran of the Indian technology industry running a 2000 person multi-location operation. Nitin Deshpande – President of Allscripts India shared with us his secrets to being more Mindful.
He sets out his personal definition of “Productivity” and goes on to share an insight into who has to happen for him to think a specific work day has been productive. He then shares some great “Tips & Tricks” that have worked for him while trying to get work done – planning the day in advance, shutting out distractions and so on. In the most personal insights of the conversation he also shares his opinion of the role of technology in enabling his personal productivity and also the role of regular physical exercise in the routine. Nitin is clearly an accomplished Work Yogi – read on if you want to learn from the best!
1. How would you define ‘productivity’?
To me productivity is getting more out of the time that I spend in any activity – more not just quantitatively but also in terms of the quality.
2. What is the importance of productivity in your work life?
As someone who has to put in long hours at work, 50 to 60 hours per week being the norm, being at peak productivity helps reduce the time it takes to accomplish all that I have to do.
3. What has to be achieved by you for you to classify a day as a productive day?
A productive day would be one at the end of which I feel a sense of accomplishment at what I could get out of the time spent. At times it could be just one thing achieved but with great impact, at other times it could be several small tasks completed.
1. What tricks do you use to improve your productivity?
Nothing very dramatic. I try to identify the important tasks and carve out time on my calendar in advance. This ensures that the time is reserved and not gobbled up by someone else asking for a meeting. When conflicts do arise (as they will inevitably), I try and prioritize the important activities and skip/postpone those that are not that urgent/important.
I have to highlight the role of Sapience here – ever since I have started using Sapience, I find it useful to review my work pattern on a weekly basis to figure out how much time has been spent on the routine activities and meetings and try to reduce them. I am looking forward to using v3.0 as it will make this part easier with the personal productivity help that it provides.
2. How do you stay focused while working? How do you avoid or tune out distractions?
As mentioned earlier, I try to reserve time for important activities first. After that, if I want to focus on something that needs focus, I put my IM (Lync) on DND mode, put the cell phone in vibrate mode and avoid taking calls or responding to emails. All this only reduces the distractions, but does not eliminate them as we have an open office culture and people can pop in any time. If that happens, I try to quickly assess how important/urgent the need is and set up a time if it is not critical.
1. Does the workspace and environment affect your productivity? If yes, how and what have you done to improve it?
Workspace and environment does affect productivity for me. I cannot do good work if I am not in a formal workspace. I rarely do serious work from home except for attending late calls or looking at important emails on the phone. I tend to come in early to the office before all the distractions begin, if I want to accomplish something important.
2. Is technology an enabler or deterrent, give an example of how?
Definitely an enabler for me. I can clear a lot of routine emails on the phone from home or even as I am waiting at traffic signals. I manage to do a lot of calls as I am driving back from work, unless they are calls that need my active participation or need me to look at my computer. Nice features in the Office tools also allow me to set up reminders and do things when they really need to be done. I use features such as templates, quick responses, shortcuts extensively, thus bringing down the time to complete the routine tasks significantly.
3. Any advice that you have found useful in enhancing your own productivity and that you think others could also benefit from?
A few that I can think of are:
- Learn the tips and techniques on your smart phone
- Use keyboard shortcuts extensively
- Multi-task where appropriate (not in meetings!). e.g. if I am going through a training that is just audio on the computer, I can deal with emails at the same time, depending on the course content
- Set reminders and follow-up flags ·
- I do not know if there has been any research on this but I find that regular physical exercise early in the morning makes me more energetic during the day and therefore more productive. On the rare occasions that I miss the exercise for some reason, I feel I am less productive at work. Most busy people say they do not exercise because they do not have the time for it. I believe they should try this out.