Let’s face it, we are all trying to do more in less time. Whether you run your own business, you are employed or perhaps you have a couple of part-time roles to juggle, learning how to get more done each week would be helpful!
Here are 7 steps that will help you increase your productivity. Follow these and you will start to get the important stuff done. You may be busy, but are you productive?
It could be that you are already implementing some of these steps, if you are, well done and carry on. For the steps you are not, try doing one at a time and see the difference it makes.
- Know that you can’t do everything. No matter how hard you work, and how efficient you are, it is a fact that you will never be able to do everything you would like. So, the trick is to be very clear about your current priorities, and leave everything that does not fit with these for now. You can always come back to a project in a couple of month’s time.
- Long term plan. You need a plan of what you want in the next 3, 6 or 12 months (choose whatever time-frame suits you), both in your work-life and home-life. What are your top three priorities, and remember that you can’t do everything. Give yourself some quiet time to think about what is most important for you to do.
- Weekly review. This step is an absolute must. Each week you must make time to review where you are, what is coming up and set-up your priorities for the coming seven days. This way you can make sure you are working on the important things, and not wasting time and energy on the other stuff. Remember, are you being busy or productive?
- Dealing with distractions. You will have any number of distractions to deal with every day – people, social media (see point 5 below), meetings, phone calls, clutter, the list is endless. Being able to protect yourself from these distractions is vital. Learn to put boundaries around your time, for instance have one hour everyday when you are not to be disturbed. You can have a whole hour of total focus on your priority task.
- Communication technology. This is a real challenge for everyone in the modern workplace. Every day we are bombarded with e-mails, Tweets, Facebook posts, voice-mails, conference calls. It is impossible to get anything done when we are being distracted by the “noise” of technology. As in point 4, it is imperative to have “quiet” times during your day when you turn everything off, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.
- Breaks. It is really important to take regular breaks. So often people skip lunch, as they “don’t have time to take a break”. Nonsense! It is scientifically proved that you will be more productive in the afternoon if you have taken even a 20 minute break, away from your workstation. Also make sure that you take your holiday entitlement. This can be particularly challenging for the self-employed amongst you. Time away from your business is invaluable, you will have more ideas, more energy and more focus following time away.
- Doing and thinking. During your week there will be times when you need to think ie when you are planning or being creative. There will also be times when you need to simply “do” ie write the report, make the call, arrange the meeting, review the monthly accounts. It is really important to recognise the difference between the two activities. Schedule the thinking tasks when your mind is at it’s most alert. You can do the “doing” tasks at other times when you need a different kind of brain power.
I’m sure that you are all busy people. If you follow these tips, you will not only be busy but productive too!
Charlie Damonsing is a stress management specialist, and runs her own business CLAssociates. Charlie provides 1-2-1 and group training to help employed and self-employed individuals to Get More Done in Less Time. Please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487 to have a “no obligation “chat about your productivity challenges!