Being able to organise your diary and create space for your work allows you to increase your productivity.
Productivity is often linked with time management and rightly so. Being able to organise your diary and create space for your work allows you to increase your productivity.
A very popular quote floating around the web is
“You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce.”
Ok we can’t all be Beyonce but we do all hold the keys to our own success. We simply need to master our time and work smarter and having some solid helpful practices in place make this easier to do.
Here are just 12 things you can do (you’re probably already doing some of these!) to master your time and improve your productivity.
As simple as it sounds one of the simplest things you can do is stick to a routine. I have a morning routine and a clear working pattern. The most effective thing in my routine is my 7am morning workout. I exercise regularly at 7am on weekdays and I couldn’t live without it. Exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach does wonders for your energy and concentration. It clears the mind, reduces tension and anxiety and you get it done before your working day starts.
Create task/intention lists daily
I love lists! Some people recommend throwing away your to-do lists but I find they help me to stay organised and I quite enjoy crossing off a completed task. Writing a fresh list at the beginning of each day with what you know you can achieve that day helps to you to finish everything on it. On Mondays I tend to start my day with meetings and sometimes they can overrun so I write an intention list every Friday for the following week so I’m ready to go on Monday morning.
When your workload is particularly heavy for a short period of time avoid daily lists. Instead write one massive list separated into three sections (A, B, C). In section A include your high priority tasks, in B section the medium importance tasks and in section C the least important tasks.
If you’re not a fan of lists you can also use a project management software that allows you to slot in your tasks with time limitation, tracking and task allocation options.
Sometimes you’ll find that there are certain things on your list that could just as easily be executed by someone else or are actually more in line with another person’s responsibilities. Items on your C list (see above) are great examples. Don’t waste time doing tasks that are outside your talent pool and delegate where you can. There are always going to be certain things that only you can do but get rid of the things that don’t fall into that category. I still struggle with delegating sometimes but it’s more effective to delegate than to let your wellbeing suffer. Remember good enough, is well, good enough!
Eat a frog first
We all have things we don’t want to do or procrastinate about. And they’re often some of the most important, urgent or complicated tasks. These items are also fondly known as ‘frogs’ thanks to Mark Twain. Starting your day tackling a frog sets the tone for the rest of the day. Once it’s done, it’s done you can breathe a sigh of relief and then spend the rest of your time doing more of the things you enjoy.
Schedule your priorities
Stephen Covey, author of the 7 habits of highly effective people, said
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
This rings so true. Save yourself some time and schedule your important tasks into your diary as far in advance as you can. I block out that time and seeing it in my diary daily helps me to remain focused and stick to that time when the day arrives.
You can even skip lists altogether and simply diarise everything. Many highly productive people schedule their entire days into their calendar and work off that alone.
Buy a notebook
Richard Branson says that one of his favourite pastimes is note taking and he’s never without his notebook. Get a notebook and write everything down, you’ll thank yourself for it later. Not every notebook is going to help you organise your workload so go out and choose a notebook that works for you based on how you like to see your . You can use it for your to-do lists, ideas, brainstorming or for taking notes in meetings.
This is an interesting one. Many people say you should only focus on one project at a time. In theory this makes complete sense, however I am a multitasker and I quite enjoy being able to regularly switch hats and work on many different projects. It gives me a challenge and my role is highly multifunctional so it’s near to impossible to focus on one project from start to finish. So go with what works for you. If you know you work better working on single projects/tasks and you have the space to do it, then do it.
If you’re struggling with a particular project, hit a roadblock or you’re simply not sure if you’re doing something in the best way then don’t struggle alone, ask for help.
If you’re stuck ask someone with experience in that field, do some online research or pose a question on an online hub. One of the sites I’ve used to get some answers or suggestions is MosaicHub. It’s really good for finding out how other people do things and get answers to specific questions.
Be allergic to your phone
As we know in today’s world technology and social media are addictive. Phones and tablets can be a real distraction so only check your phone once or twice a day when you’re taking a break and only respond to anything urgent.
Make conscious choices about what you eat
The type of food you eat has an impact on your energy and productivity. There’s lots of research proving the link between food and productivity. We know our own bodies and there’s a noticeable difference in how you feel and work if you have a large heavy meal for lunch or a light, nutritious meal. Eat smaller portions for lunch, prepare you meal the night before and graze on fruit and nuts throughout the day to keep you going.
Have a clean working space
At work I’m known to be particular about cleanliness. Often one of the first things I’ll do is clear and wipe down my desk. I simply feel out of sorts when my desk (or my house) is messy. Something about a clear working space makes me feel rearing to go.
Take time away from the office
When you have particularly demanding projects don’t be afraid to take a day away from the office and work at home or from your favourite coffee house. It’s actually very productive and it takes away the noise.
In fact, at inspire me we encourage flexible working so when our team have big projects or demanding tasks we encourage them to work from home. I however love working from the office because I love interacting with the team and being part of the hub. We’ve got some pretty vibrant and loud characters on the team and over the years I’ve learned to blur out the noise and can carry on with work amid singing, loud meetings and dancing. If anything I only work from home when I need to be ‘invisible’ in the office and avoid all distractions.
What helps you master your time and boost your productivity? Share your tips below and thanks for reading!