Pumping Up Your Productivity
Better. Stronger. Faster. Longer… Well, actually shorter. We want to reduce those working hours. But rather than just clocking off early and leaving your work undone, you clock off early because you have finished everything you needed to.
There is a big difference between working long hours and getting things done and working long hours. Productivity matters, and it matters more when it is you at the helm.
What you do and the time you spend amounts to dollars and cents. And while millions of people say ‘time is money,’ not enough really understand that. The more you can do, the more you can bill for. This is including an hourly paid contract. People are under the false notion that they should extend those hours out to maximize profit.
And, while that makes sense – those hours could’ve been spent generating new business, creating new products, networking. That time can be spent ON your business. It is easy to become stagnant.
So considering your output matters. Are the hours you work now honestly as productive as you need them to be? Are you continually pushing things from one day to the next and never getting it finished?
Well, there is no better time than now to change those bad habits and introduce some new ones.
Don’t roll your eyes. If you aren’t hydrated, you’re going to be sluggish and slow. Most people are hydrated to some degree, and the chances are you one of them. So get yourself a reusable water bottle and start setting a timer on your phone for once an hour to drink the water and then refill it. Sip all day long. In a matter of days, you’ll feel brighter, and your brain will be ticking over much better too.
Stand & Walk
Not moving for hours on end doesn’t work well for anyone. If you have an office as well as your typical sit-down desk, you can create a standing workstation too.
Standing up and walking every half an hour will keep your blood circulating nicely and mean you are less likely to end with painful backache and hitting major slumps – caused by not moving around.
Write It Down
There is nothing worse than carrying around a mental to-do list. Your mind will be continually breaking your concentration in favour of checking how many things you have accomplished yet. And, each time that happens, it will take you around 15 minutes to get your focus back. Which by the time the day is done, is a considerable chunk of your time.
Consider that time just wasted. Each morning, while your coffee machine is working, or the kettle is boiling – write your list. In the top three slots write the things you 100% need to get done finished. Anything after that should be less critical but still needs to be completed. Your list ideally needs to feel comfortable. Achievable.
Have a ‘Clean Up’ list
This isn’t about housework. Each day that you have some extra to-dos that aren’t essential, we usually push them to the next day. The classic case of tomorrow never comes. Put any of these items on your clean-up list. This list will be made on your next free morning. Free mornings tend to be weekends, and because of that, you’re much more likely to attempt to fit them in typical working hours.
Two Of You
You can’t do two things at a time, or maybe you can, but you shouldn’t. It might be time to hire a virtual assistant to give you extra manpower.
If there are some things that you do every day, or every week that take up time that would be better spent elsewhere, then take to the internet and find yourself a new pair of hands. Not only can do all of your research, but they can create a whole schedule for you, book calls, reply to emails and even get your social media setup for months at a time.
Before you jump into this one thing about what it is, you really need to have done. If there are a lot of jobs on there that could be done by anyone, then ship them off to someone else.
No deadlines, then no rush. Deadlines, even ones we set ourselves make us so much more likely to meet a finish line. Parkinson’s Law means that unless you have deadlines, a task will take forever to get finished. You set deadlines, you meet them – you move on to the next job.
The best way to implement this is with a Pomodoro timer. Usually, slots will start at 15 minutes with a 5-minute break in between each (where you can make the use of drinking water and standing/walking for a few minutes).
After 4 segments you will get a slightly longer break and then back to it. The timer encourages you to really focus on those 15 minutes, and you are likely to make big dents in the jobs that you need to do.
Project On The Go
If you like to do a lot of your work on the go, then you should think about something like Evernote. It will work across all of your technology and has some great features. You can add notes, add photos, and the ability to share a lot too. Trello is a great way to manage your to-do list and team projects with the help of technology rather than paper and pen.
When you have extra hands on deck, and implement some automation, and smarter ways to manage your workload, you have more time to work on what makes you money. The best advice, however, would be try not to change everything at once. Habits, good and bad, take time to form and if you want to really see a difference in your workload and income, then it pays (literally) to make changes slowly over the space of a few months.