The “Work Less, More Success” Guide to Time Management – Step Five

Continuing with our series on the Productivity Workflow Formula™ (PWF)

Close The Loop

Step 5: Close the Loop: REDUCE INEFFIENCIES

Next, reduce your inefficiencies by determining what does and doesn’t work for you. Constantly refine your workflow processes, reworking or replacing components if they break down or just don’t seem as efficient as they might be.

Other people may present your most difficult barriers to closing the loop. Since you can’t control the actions of your co-workers, try to make your interactions with them easier. Start with precision communication that cuts down on unproductive “noise” like hedging and passive language. Get right to the point and ask for acknowledgement on everything. If you don’t completely understand what someone asks of you, keep asking questions until you do. Don’t give up if they get impatient—it’s better than doing the wrong thing or over-delivering—both a waste of time and energy.

Micromanagers represent a special case. No amount of productivity training and time management finesse can save you from a micromanager’s ego trip if you don’t take the bully by the horns ASAP. If they hinder your workflow, confront them about it; they may back off. Otherwise, find ways to work around them—or find a job elsewhere.

Whether a blockage is human, process-oriented, or mechanical, never hesitate to step in and try to fix it. If you can’t find a way to do so, then go around it and move on to things you can fix. Teamwork is crucial here. Do your best to ease the way for everyone involved. In addition to helping the team develop work plans, set and achieve milestones, and reach deadlines, ensure stability by establishing contingency plans to handle crises and other emergencies, such as unexpected absences.

Step 6: Coming Soon!

You can get the full details on all six steps in What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do, my brand new handbook for maximizing workplace productivity without running yourself into the ground. Buy your copy at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or 800CEORead and email your receipt to [email protected] for special bonuses by author friends of Laura Stack. Visit for complete details.