How busy are you right now? Do you need some help to stay on track and be more productive?
Life is busy for everyone I know! Especially now we are into the summer holidays, trying to stay on top of entertaining the kids as well as going to work.
Every morning I wake up I know I’m not going to have a moment to spare. As well as getting the kids sorted there is the housework, the shopping, the ironing and the domestic list goes on. Then there’s work!! There’s a ‘to do’ list as long as my arm plus a dairy full of appointments.
I know if I don’t stay organised it can be a slippery slope to despair! And grey hair!!
Here a few tips to help you manage your time and stay more productive:
Write it down
Writing down a task that needs completing gives you head space. It stops you worrying about whether you’ll remember to do it. So, create a ‘to do’ list. Whether it’s a personal task or a business task write it down. I’ve always got a note book handy. I also keep a pen and note pad near my bed because there are always those times you wake up at 3 am and remember you’ve not done something or you’ve something to do and then you stay awake for the rest of the night because you don’t want to forget about it!
A good habit to have is before you finish working for the day, take some time to plan what you’ve to do the next day. Do you have any appointments scheduled in that you need to prepare for? Check your master ‘to do’ list and see whether there are any items that aren’t important anymore and you can delete them. Next, choose 3 or 4 tasks you want to get done the next day. I usually write these on a daily ‘to do’ list. You can tell already how I like lists!
Being prepared the evening before allows you to be focused and start your day without wasting time and you’ll end up with a productive next day.
Have some porridge
We all know about looking after our wellbeing, and that eating breakfast is important to staying healthy. It also stops you from having silly snack attacks that you’re going to feel guilty about later too!
Being healthy means we will be more productive and always have a great start to your working day.
Just do it!
We’ve all got tasks sitting on our ‘to do’ list that we really don’t want to do, and we keep putting off and adding back to the bottom of our list. This is probably mentally effecting how productive we are as it’s just sat there niggling away at us.
Stop this bad habit and the guilt that’s hanging over you and distracting you and do this task first!! There is nothing more satisfying and motivating than seeing these tough tasks being ticked off your list! Usually, you’ll find it wasn’t all that bad anyway.
One of my mantras is “Just do it!” you’re going to have to do it anyway so you may as well do it now!
To make sure your day is productive and you work as efficiently and effectively as you can you need to remove any distractions. Distraction comes in all sorts of guises whether it’s your mobile pinging from social media notifications or ringing, to your emails popping up on your laptop, it all takes away your focus.
When you’ve got a really important task to complete, remove all distractions. Turn off your phone and social media accounts and sign out of your email system. Close everything down that’s going to draw your eye away from the task in hand.
Whatever task it is you are doing or even if it’s a meeting, schedule in a specific block of time without technology and give it your whole and nothing but your whole attention.
We are all be busy with that list as long as your arm but beavering away to try and get everything ticked off is never going to work. Often we work away too without even looking at the clock and before you know it it’s past bedtime,again!!
We are limited to how long we can truly stay focused without losing our effectiveness because we are tired either physically or mentally.
It is important to take regular breaks, even if it’s just 10 mins to put the kettle on or just to stretch your legs. Even the smallest of breaks can refresh your mind and get you back on track.
Make sure you have a lunch break too. This is a great excuse to do some exercise. Maybe taking yourself off to the gym for 20 mins or for a walk around the block will clear your mind ready for the afternoon.
So, get into the habit of scheduling in regular downtime throughout the day, even if you know you have a busy day ahead.
Manage your routine tasks
Often, we have many routine tasks that we have to do each day like answering emails, making calls or updating our CRM. Things that we see as necessity and don’t really think about.
A great idea is to do all these similar types of jobs together. For instance, decide on say 3 or 4 time slots throughout the day where you will read and respond to your emails, the same for phone calls. This will ensure that you aren’t interrupting other tasks and save you time in the long run.
Get some help
Often, we think we should do everything ourselves. This often makes us less efficient as we may not really be skilled at the task in hand and it takes us a while as we need to research how to do it first and then carry it out. It could be you don’t like doing the task too.
Ask for help! Delegate these tasks to someone else and free up your own time to get on with the more important stuff or just to do the things you like to do!
Do you have another member of staff you can lean on? If not then a virtual assistant could be the key. Someone who is flexible and you can call on whenever you need help.
Delegation can be key to your productivity.
Just say no
It’s so easy to be caught up in things you really don’t need to be like meetings that won’t actually be of any value to you or help your business, to taking on tasks that you don’t like doing. All these things take time out of our day when we can be concentrating on more important tasks that will lead us to our goals.
Sometimes we just need to take a step back and think about whether it is a priority to us and if it isn’t then politely decline.
Track your time
We often get to the end of our working day and wonder where it went because we haven’t actually got that many things ticked off our ‘to do’ list and been as productive as we should have been.
A great exercise that will highlight where you are spending your valuable time is to use a time tracker. I use Toggl. Keeping a note of what you are doing each day over say a week will soon show you what is draining your time. This will enable you to put a plan in place to remove or refine these tasks.