Do you have too much to do and never enough time to do it? This could be a problem of your own making. Try these seven steps to improve productivity.
1. Decide when you work most and least effectively
I am on fire between 7 and 11am. I am at medium effectiveness up to 3pm and after that, my effectiveness and willingness to work drop off progressively. If you’re not familiar with your own rhythm, make an effort to figure it out.
2. Rate activities as Low, Medium or High on the “Brainpower” scale
Things that are low on brainpower you’ve done many times before, you don’t need to think that hard about and you just need to get done. Things that are high on brainpower require you to consider your approach and solution because they are more complex, or even new. Obviously it makes sense for me to work on high brainpower activities early in my day. Which leads me to the following:
3. Schedule your day/week/month around these two
To improve productivity, only do high brainpower activities when you are at your most effective. Never, ever waste this valuable time with low brainpower stuff.
4. Take action that improves your business
Decide what three things will have the most positive impact on your business this week, and schedule those things first up. Usually, they’ll go in the timeslots where you work most effectively.
5. Stop doing something
“Busy work” is one of the biggest productivity killers. Without question there are things we spend time on that simply aren’t necessary. How about:
- Spending time making lists about how to spend your time
- Spending too much time on social networking (“too much” will be different for everyone)
- Reading and rereading your emails – deal with them only once
- Stop interrupting yourself to check your text/email/phone messages – twice a day is okay.
6. Assign boundaries around time
Decide what time is for business, and what time is for non-business activities. Be disciplined about staying true to your time boundaries – don’t allow one to bleed into the other too often.
7. Accept low-energy days
We all have them. Gracefully accept that this might be a day of low-brainpower or non-business activity. If you must, give yourself one hour to finish anything urgent. Or even better, decide that this is a leisure day and go and take the time you need. Come back the next day renewed and refreshed.
Megan Tough supports & inspires Australia’s solo business community at www.flyingsolo.com.au.