Business Productivity Hacks
How productive and focused are you in your day-to-day activity – at work and at home? Are you a night owl whose energy kicks in after 9 pm or an early bird who rises at the crack of dawn? Regardless of how your internal clock functions, you can always be busy, but not necessarily productive.
Does being busy equate with being productive? If you ask anyone what is the biggest challenge they face in trying to be productive, a likely response will involve something about a “lack of willpower”, or perhaps a difficulty staying focused.
If you think about it there are so many shiny objects that pop up to distract you throughout the day. Social media, email, phone, and personal issues. Any of these distractions can lead to lost productivity.
Build up good work habits for saving time and effort and alleviate some stress. Here are some productivity hacks to help you understand how to work smarter, improve the quality of your work life, and build habits that will save you time, energy, and mental strain in the long-term.
Productivity Begins With Your Goals…Focus On What’s Important To You
Where do you want to be 3 months from now? What about 1 year, or 5 years out? Not just your business but your personal life too. Aligning your work goals with what’s important to you is crucial in creating the motivation required to stay focused. Writing down your goals on a vision board will keep them top of mind.
It’s not by chance that I’m starting with this one. Understanding what’s important to you, not only in terms of your immediate work goals but also looking at the bigger picture. This can help you to focus and set the stage for how you approach wor
Routines Count – Develop Them
Build out a routine, and stick with it. Get into the habit of working at specific times (this is especially true if you work remotely) and you’ll find yourself wasting less energy on figuring out what to do next. Making a To-Do List for the next day allows you to focus on specific tasks and prioritize your time. There are various apps and scheduling tools for you to utilize. Personally – I use Asana, but some of my colleagues like Monday.com.
Monthly routines and processes can be documented and put into these programs. By creating the process, as your business grows or staffing changes, you can easily transition the steps to another individual.
Engineer Fake Pressure
How often have you told someone they will have a report you haven’t yet started by the end of the day? For some people, pressure can help to kick-start them into work mode and perform to a higher level of productivity. If you’re one of those people who finds that the pressure of a deadline or review helps you get more work done, consider engineering some fake pressure into your routine.
Just like notifications, sometimes you can’t just ignore your inbox. This is one I struggle with – especially if I’m waiting for proofs from my graphic design team or feedback from a client. The trick is to set a time every day, where you check-in and clean up to inbox zero. The more consistent you can be with this task, the weaker the urge will become to randomly check your emails, and by sticking to the same time each day, you’re building good habits around self-discipline.
Record Each And Every Task
Following on from the to-do list, you can optimize this kind of task-based productivity approach by making sure you clearly and attentively record each task that is important to you. By keeping an up-to-date list of tasks, you can be sure you’re not overlooking certain factors when deciding on priorities and planning your workload. You could use a good old pen and paper to record your tasks and to-do-lists; many people work like this, and it’s perfectly suitable for personal jotting and keeping track of small-scale projects and priorities. This also allows you to track the amount of time spent on a given task. Having this information helps you price services accordingly.
Deadlines help you to get work done. This allows you and your team to measure and stay abreast of milestones needing to be met in completing a complex project.
Eat Your Frogs
We all have unpleasant tasks to deal with daily. “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain. By completing difficult tasks first thing in the morning, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and other things will feel easy in comparison.
Stop Wasting Time In Meetings
Do you start a meeting with a purpose, goals and an agenda? Often, meetings are scheduled according to some arbitrary value like 30 or 60 minutes, and the structure is an afterthought. Define the purpose and outcomes of the meeting before the meeting. Some managers have a stand-up meeting that doesn’t allow for meaningless time spent. Objectives, assigned tasks, and outcomes are to the point.
Time Blocking – Stop multitasking
Focus on one task at a time and set a block of time to complete the task. This goes back to scheduling, prioritizing your TO DO LIST. Instead of trying to split your brain between multiple tasks, rapidly switching between activities and working on each of them simultaneously, you’re better off committing your focus to a single task at hand. Work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break and get up and stretch and you may find your brain remains better focused.
Consider some of these tips as you form new work habits. You may find yourself being more focused, able to better prioritize and execute your tasks at hand. We’d love to hear your success. Share your most successful habit on our Facebook page.
About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.