• Tara Humphrey

A Guide to Increasing Productivity

The 19 June marks #WorldProductivityDay and being productive is something I talk a lot about if you listen to the Business of Healthcare Podcast or follow me on Twitter.


I've tried lots of different approaches to optimising my time in order to maximise my and my team's output, while feeling good about our work and avoiding burnout. It's something I'm continually evaluating and improving.


Productivity takes hard work and self-discipline. There is also no one size fits all but there are fundamentals that anyone can apply to yield positive result.



My fundamentals for an organised and productive week


Time Management

  • Plan as many of your regular meetings in advance

  • Always prepare (or request) an agenda ahead of every meeting to stay laser focused

  • Block out time in your calendar for repetitive tasks or activities

  • Declutter your inbox - the average professional receives 121 emails a day (this stat varries massively!). Set up a smart folder system and filters to keep priority actions in your inbox, reducing distraction

  • Turn off notifications when working on a focused task. Apps such as FocusMe or Offtime can help to block screen time and eliminate distractions

Reflection


It's just as important to take time to reflect. Reflection can be just as productive as active productivity. Use these questions to support your reflection:

  • What has been working?

  • What would be better if....?

  • What hasn't worked in the way we expected?

  • What are the priorities over the next 90 days?

  • What do you need to do more of/less of in order to keep to these priorities?

Similarly, taking care of yourself is so important. This is an idea that has gathered pace in the last few years. Whether you reset in the gym or on a run, a family walk or dog walk, reading a book or finding a quiet space and using an app like Headspace to relax. It's just as important to block time for this in your default calendar as it is active work time.


Review, Reflect and Get Planning: A Simple Framework is a useful reflection aid.


Goal Setting


Articulating your vision and working this back into a 90 day plan, and then into granular monthly and weekly detail will keep you and your team on track.


In my own business we have our 90 day goals which are shared with my team who also provide their input. We work back the 90 day goals to each team's area, providing them with personal goals and development. This keeps us working towards the bigger picture as a collective. We also celebrate the wins together!


If you haven't got a plan or considering how to approach your plan, you will find these resources useful:


Does Your PCN Have a Plan? | How to create a plan that works.


How to Create a Simple Business Plan | Step by step walk through of a simple business plan and sharable dashboard to help keep your team on track.


If you've found this useful, you might also like these Business of Healthcare Podcasts. Download them for your next walk, run, drive/commute or moment of downtime! Staying productive here.


Episode 121 | Productivity Tips

Episode 129 | What it takes to confidently work across multiple organisations

Episode 124 | How to prepare for busy periods at work

Episode 94 | What leader do you want to be now?



I have an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management, I'm published in the London Journal of Primary Care and I host The Business of Healthcare Podcast.


I've written blogs for the NHS Confederation, appeared on the General Practice Podcast and the You are Not a Frog Podcast with Dr Rachel Morris.


I have 3 children - my youngest has Type 1 Diabetes and my middle child has the kidney condition Nephrotic Syndrome. Working with healthcare professionals is not just a job for me, it's part of everyday life. And as a result, I've developed a huge passion for helping others to deliver excellent care.


Find out more about THC Primary Care and follow me on Twitter.